CAF Champions League winners Al Ahly are to provide the backbone of the players in Egypt’s squad as they aim to seal qualification for next year’s African Nations Cup tournament in Ivory Coast. Giants Egypt need just one point to seal qualification from Group D in which they face Guinea at the Marrakech Stadium in Morocco on Wednesday night. The Pharaohs have recovered superbly from a disastrous opening day 0-2 setback at the hands of Ethiopia to lead the standings on goal difference from today’s opponents.
Egypt are in familiar surroundings as just one week has elapsed since Al Ahly sealed a record extending eleventh continental club title when they outlasted Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca 2-1 on aggregate. Pharaohs coach Rui Vitoria is protecting a seven match unbeaten record against Kaba Diawara’s Sylla who are level on points with the record seven time African champions Egypt despite losing 0-1 in the reverse fixture.
Liverpool’s former African footballer of the year Mohamed Salah and his Werder Bremen bound team mate Naby Keita are putting behind an inauspicious season to captain their respective sides, with the North Africans targeting a tournament record 25th appearance whereas Guinea will qualify for their third AFCON event in a row should they avoid defeat. Group D’s other encounter between Ethiopia and Malawi takes place next Tuesday in Addis Ababa.
Wednesday night’s other action witnesses Guinea Bissau chase a place in next January’s event when they face Sao Tome and Principe at the September 24 Stadium in a group A match up. Nigeria are the group pacesetters on nine points, two more than Guinea Bissau but they are not in action until Saturday when they are away to Sierra Leone. The Islanders can therefore overtake the Super Eagles by defeating little Sao Tome and Principe who sit bottom with a solitary point from four outings.
Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan, host fast rising Gambia at the Suez Canal Stadium in Egypt seeking to stave off elimination.
Six of the seven countries that have already booked tickets for the finals in Ivory Coast are former African champions. Reigning titlists Senegal protect a one hundred percent winning record away to Benin on Saturday, hosts Ivory Coast travel to Zambia with the Chipolopolo needing a point to seal qualification and South Africa test World Cup semifinalists Morocco in a group K rubber.
South Sudan v Gambia,
Sao Tome and Principe v Guinea Bissau,
Guinea v Egypt
Zambia v Ivory Coast,
Central African Republic v Angola,
Lesotho v Comoros,
Equatorial Guinea v Tunisia,
Botswana v Libya,
South Africa v Morocco,
Benin v Senegal