Burkina Faso, Guinea qualify for African Cup of Nations finals

Burkina Faso drew 0-0 away to Uganda to qualify and Guinea joined them after beating Mali 1-0 in Group A.

Burkina Faso and Guinea booked their places at next year’s African Cup of Nations finals along with Algeria, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia.(Representational Image)   -  Reuters

Burkina Faso and Guinea booked their places at next year’s African Cup of Nations finals as they secured a top-two spot in their respective qualifying groups on Wednesday.

Burkina Faso drew 0-0 away to Uganda to become the sixth country to qualify, joining holders Algeria, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia, who secured their berths last November, and hosts Cameroon.

Guinea joined them after beating Mali 1-0 in Group A with Seydouba Soumah scoring the winner 15 minutes from time.

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Guinea, captained by Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, went top with 11 points and out of the reach of third-placed Namibia.

Burkina Faso advanced to nine points in Group B, one ahead of Uganda and a further point clear of Malawi.

But with Malawi to host Uganda in their last qualifier on Monday, Burkina are guaranteed a top-two finish, irrespective of the result of their last qualifier at home to bottom-placed South Sudan.

Malawi kept their chances alive as they won 1-0 away to South Sudan on Wednesday. The game was played in Khartoum, the capital neighbouring Sudan, because the stadium in Juba is still under construction.

A 4-0 win for Ethiopia over Madagascar moved them top of Group K, although they must still go away to the Ivory Coast in their last qualifier in a tight group.

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Amanuel Gebremichael, captain Getaneh Kebede and Abubakar Nassir scored in the first half and Shimeles Bekele tapped home a late fourth goal in Bahir Dar.

A 2-0 win for Sudan away at Sao Tome e Principe put them level atop Group C with Ghana and South Africa, who clash in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Mohamed Abdel Rahman and Saifeldin Bakhit scored either side of the interval.

Byiringo Lague’s 67th-minute winner ensured Rwanda moved into second place in Group F as they beat Mozambique 1-0 in Kigali.

The final two rounds of the preliminaries for the next Cup of Nations see matches played every day from Wednesday through to next Tuesday, finalising the 24-team field for January’s tournament. The top two teams in each group, except that involving Cameroon, qualify.