6, June 2016
Egypt, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco and Cameroon have so far clinched their qualification spots for the final phase of the tournament in Gabon. Six of the sixteen teams to take part in the final phase of the African Cup of Nations to take place early next year in Gabon are already known. They are namely, Egypt, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon and host country Gabon. While Gabon got her qualification from the office by winning the bid to host the 2017 edition of the tournament, the others had to slot it out from the green turf of the pitch after taking an unassailable lead in their respective groups.
Egypt and Morocco were the first countries to qualify and will be making a return to the continental scene after having missed out on the 2015 edition of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea. Egypt simply didn’t qualify after having been stunned by little known Republic of Congo in the last and crucial qualification match. Meanwhile Morocco was banned from taking part in the competition after refusing to host the competition because of Ebola scare.
The sentence was higher but Morocco appealed the decision and the ban was lifted. After winning the legal battle Morocco also won on the pitch of play dominating Group F earning 12 points in four outings. Egypt equally sailed through Group G virtually unperturbed with 10 points in four outing with Nigeria coming distant second in the group with barely two points.
Algeria and Senegal also picked up their qualification tickets before the last day of play of the qualifiers top come up during the weekend running from September second to third. Algeria sailed through Group G with flying colours obtaining 13 points in five outings and can no longer be caught up by the runners up of the group, Ethiopia with barely five points.
Meanwhile Senegal witnessed an unbeaten run in Group K winning all fifteen points up for grab in the group so far and will also be making a return to the continental scene in Gabon. Cameroon as already known picked up the lone qualification ticket in Group M after butting out the last surviving contender, Mauritania in the fifth qualification match on Friday June 3rd.
The rest of the qualified nations will be known after the last day of play of the qualifiers on September second and third. Besides the respective group leaders, the overall best runners-up of all the 13 groups join the host for the final phase of the competition in Gabon.