There are only nine places left in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 and the slots will be filled in this week’s final round of qualifiers.
At the end of the sixth and final day of the qualifiers this week, all 24 African nations qualified for Africa’s biggest football spectacle will be officially confirmed. CAFOnline takes a look at five key fixtures where the stakes are at an all-time high.
Cameroon – Burundi
Two teams with a contrasting record when it comes to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations. Cameroon are five-time winners of the tournament while Burundi are dreaming of a second appearance at the competition.
Closely tied on 4 points, any loser between this tie will automatically lose out on a trip to Cote d’Ivoire. The Indomitable Lions will count on the goalkeeping presence of André Onana. The Cameroonian shot-stopper, who has come out of international retirement to bolster Rigobert Song’s squad.
Veteran striker, Vincent Aboubakar will also draw confidence from playing in front of his home crowd Garoua. Looking at into the nest of the Swallows, Étienne Ndayiragije will be counting on dangerman, Bon Fils Caleb and Saido Berahino to get the result for the east African side.
DR Congo – Sudan
The Democratic of Congo were languishing at the bottom of Group I with 0 points after their first two games of the qualifiers. This prompted emergency changes for the Leopards which saw Hector Cuper being replaced by Sebastien Desarbre.
The change immediately brought results with the Leopards getting a 3-0 win over Mauritania and 2-0 win over Gabon. Facing Sudan will not be easy for the west Africans but will be hoping that home ground advantage plays to their favour in Kinshasa.
Another crucial fixture is in Group I that will be closely contested by two sides. Equal on points and just separated by goal difference, Mauritania and Gabon will leave everything on the field when they meet in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
The Panthers will be relying on the experience of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but will be without the services of Andre Poko as well as Lloyd Palun.
Ghana – Central African Republic
A tricky assignment awaits the Black Stars. Even though Ghana top Group E with nine points, Chris Hughton’s men face a Central African Republic (CAR) side that is just two points behind them.
CAR will be gunning for a full haul of points to secure their first ever TotalEnergies CAF AFCON appearance while the four-time champions Black Stars need just a draw at home in Kumasi to advance.
Angola – Madagascar
One of the key fixtures of the group decider will be Angola against Madagascar. With the islanders already out of contention, Angola could spoil the party for the Black Stars.
The Palancas Negras are a point behind Ghana and should they win and the Black Stars lose to CAR, it could spell disaster for the west Africans in what would be a huge upset in the group.