2015 AFCON Qualification: Botswana join Egypt in Group G
Botswana beat Guinea-Bissau to seal progression into Group G of qualification for the 2015 AFCON, while the rest of the group stage spots were also decided.
The preliminary, first and second rounds of qualifying for the 2015 African Cup of Nations are over, and the group stage – the final stage of qualification – is set to kick off in just over a month.
First, we’ll kick things off by previewing Egypt’s Group G:
Teams: Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Botswana
Tunisia, Egypt, and Senegal were drawn directly into the group stage, along with the remainder of CAF’s 21 top-ranked teams.
Botswana clinched the fourth and final spot in the group after defeating Guinea-Bissau 2-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away to ease through on aggregate.
The Zebras have it all to do in Group G, however, as three of the toughest teams on the continent lie in wait.
Egypt and Tunisia are the slight favorites for the top two spots – and thus automatic qualification – but Senegal will push them to their limits, and could beat one of them to automatic qualification.
The Senegalese have a potent attack including the likes of Demba Ba, Papiss Cissé, and M’Baye Niang, as well as a young player pool that contains many European-based footballers.
Tunisia need no introduction, and their pedigree is common knowledge; the 2004 champions might have endured a bit of a slump recently, but they remain a force to be reckoned with.
Naturally, given the level of opposition, anything but a last-placed finish would be a huge achievement for Botswana; their chances of competing in Morocco next year are understandably very small.
Nevertheless, Botswana will attempt to replicate last year’s performance against Egypt when they held the seven-time African champions to a 1-1 draw while playing away from home; a few results of that nature could see them sneak into third place.
Egypt are due to travel to Senegal, while Tunisia host Botswana in the first round of group games that will take place during the first weekend of September.
Furthermore, here’s a quick look at the teams that claimed the final spot in each of the remaining groups, as well as the pre-drawn opponents they will face:
Pre-qualified teams: Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan
4th team: Rwanda (beat Congo 4-3 on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw)
Pre-qualified teams: Mali, Algeria, Ethiopia
4th team: Malawi (beat Benin 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 aggregate draw)
Pre-qualified teams: Burkina Faso, Angola, Gabon
4th team: Lesotho (beat Kenya 1-0 on aggregate)
Pre-qualified teams: Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, DR Congo
4th team: Sierra Leone (qualified after Seychelles withdrew amid fears of an Ebola outbreak)
Pre-qualified teams: Ghana, Togo, Guinea
4th team: Uganda (beat Mauritania 3-0 on aggregate)
Pre-qualified teams: Zambia, Cape Verde, Niger
4th team: Mozambique (beat Tanzania 4-3 on aggregate)
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