The 15 countries that will join hosts South Africa in the 2013 Africa Nations Cup have been decided with traditional giants Nigeria making a return after missing out on the previous edition.
There will be no Cameroon however at the showpiece after the four-time champions were bundled out by lowly Cape Verde who will be making their debut at the tournament.
The Indomitable Lions needed to reverse a 2-0 loss in the first leg against Cape Verde but they could only muster a 2-1 win in spite of welcoming back Samuel Eto’o who failed to get on the score sheet.
The tiny Islanders took a 12th-minute lead through Antonio Pereira but Achille Emana drew level for the hosts who now needed to score four goals. It wasn’t to be though for Jean-Paul Akono’s side who could only score one more goal in the 4th minute of added time courtesy of Malaga’s 16-year-old debutant Fabrice Olinga, a product of the Samuel Eto'o Foundation. Eto’o set up the goal for the youngster to give a fairytale ending to the Lion’s 3-2 aggregate loss to the minnows.
Ethiopia will make their return to AFCON after a 30-year absence after they beat Sudan 2-0 in Addis Ababa. The two teams shared an 8-goal thriller in the first leg with Sudan winning 5-3 but The Walya Antelopes were the better side in Addis Ababa Stadium as two goals in three second half minutes from Girma and Said saw them advance in away goals.
Defending champions Zambia survived a scare against Uganda but eventually ran out 9-8 winners on penalties. Zambia won the first leg 1-0 and Uganda were also winning 1-0 meaning the match had to be decided on penalties which the Chipolopolo won.
Nigeria secured their ticket to South Africa next January after walloping Liberia 6-1 at the Esuene Stadium in Calabar. Chelsea’s Victor Moses scored a brace and his club-mate Obi Mikel was also on the score sheet as the Super Eagles ensured their qualification with a 8-3 aggregate win. Nigeria failed to qualify for last year’s edition.
Other teams to secure their tickets to Africa’s premier football competition include Ghana (3-0 over Malawi), Mali (7-1 over Botswana), Morocco (4-2 over Mozambique), Tunisia (2-2 away goals win over Sierra Leone), Togo (3-2 over Gabon), Congo DR (5-2 over Equatorial Guinea), Burkina Faso (3-2 over Central African Republic), Algeria (3-0 over Libya), and Niger who registered a 2-1 aggregate win over Guinea.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Elephants will most likely join the football masterpiece but will have to wait for a decision from Confederation of African Football (CAF) after their match with Senegal was abandoned due to crowd trouble. The Ivorians were leading 2-0 and 6-2 on aggregate before the officials stopped the match with 15 minutes to go.
The African Cup of Nations is being held back-to-back this year and in 2013 to move it to odd years and avoid it clashing with the World Cup and European Championship. Next year’s edition will run from the kick off on Jan. 19 in Johannesburg to the finals at FNB Stadium on Feb. 10.
Algeria: Angola :Burkina Faso: Cape Verde Islands: Democratic Republic of Congo : Ethiopia: Ghana: Ivory Coast: Mali: Morocco: Niger: Nigeria: South Africa: Togo: Tunisia and Zambia
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