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CHAN 2020: Qualification undecided as second round games conclude

Highlights:

• Qualification down to final day

• Zimbabwe, Namibia suffer early exit from CHAN 2020. 

• Historic wins for Burkina Faso and Togo 

• Cameroon’s Salomon Banga Bindjeme and Guinea’s Yakhouba Gnagna lead goal scorer chart. 

By Beng Emmanuel 

The second round of games of the 2020 African Nations Championship concluded on Saturday in Limbe with qualification to the knockout stages unsure for fourteen (14) nations. Zimbabwe and Namibia are out of the competition after two successive defeats. 

Host Cameroon and former CHAN winners the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and holders Morocco failed to grab early qualification tickets after being held to frustrating draws. 

Sixteen goals were scored in eight games. Only the game between Morocco and Rwanda ended goalless. 

The final group matches will be played simultaneously at 8:00PM.  

How it all happened

Group A 

Host Cameroon were held to a 1-1 draw by Mali with both teams yet to confirm their quarter-final status. Burkina Faso in the second game beat Zimbabwe 3-1 to boost their chances of qualifying.  

Although the Lions and Mali are tied with four points at the top of group A there are not guaranteed of an eventual qualification. 

Cameroon needs only a draw against Burkina Faso on Sunday to sail through. The Stallions who are on three points must win to grab a quarter-final ticket. 

Mali face Zimbabwe in Douala. A win for the Eagles will confirm their qualification. The Warriors who are already eliminated from the tournament after two defeats in a row will be hoping to bow out in style. 

Results: 

Cameroon 1-1 Mali

Burkina Faso 3-1 Zimbabwe 

Round 3 fixtures: 

24/01/21: 

• Burkina Faso vs Cameroon 

• Zimbabwe vs Mali 

Group B

Two time winners, the Democratic Republic of Congo suffered a huge shock when some of their players and coach were tested positive to Covid-19 few hours to the clash with Libya. 

Despite the absence of some of their key players and the head coach Florent Ibenge, they were able to pull a 1-1 draw with Libya to avoid their first defeat. 

Niger and Congo Republic separated on a similar draw to create more suspense in the group. 

Results 

Libya 1-1 DRC 

Congo Republic 1-1 Niger 

Round 3 fixtures: 

25/01/21: 

• Niger vs DRC 

• Congo Republic vs Libya

Group C

Holders Morocco were almost stunned by an impressive Rwanda side who are yet to claim their first victory at the 2020 CHAN. 

Debutants Togo beat Uganda 2-1 to move second behind Morocco and forced qualification to the next round for the final group fixture. Uganda are bottom of the group with just a point. 

Results 

Morocco 0-0 Rwanda 

Uganda 1-2 Togo 

Round 3 fixtures: 

26/01/21: 

• Uganda vs Morocco 

• Togo vs Rwanda 

Group D

Guinea and Zambia produced one of the most entertaining draws at the CHAN 2020. After a decent start in the first round of play, both sides were keen on securing an early qualification for the knock-out stages with a game to spare. However things didn’t turn out as expected.

But for Tanzania, the outcome was relieving. The Taifas narrowly eged Namibia 1-0 to revive their chances of sailing through. 

Results 

Zambia 1-1 Guinea 

Namibia 0-1 Tanzania

Round 3 fixtures: 

27/01/21: 

• Tanzania vs Guinea

• Namibia vs Zambia  

Historic Wins 

Togo and Burkina Faso were on the spotlight on match day two recording not only crucial wins but historic ones. 

Togo edged Uganda 2-1 to record their first-ever victory in the CHAN. They are making their debut at the continental football tournament but are bent to make their mark. 

Burkina Faso convincingly beat Zimbabwe 3-1 to clinch their first-ever win at the CHAN in their third participation. 

Their previous stints were not fruitful but the narrative has greatly changed. A win against Cameroon – host nation will definitely wrap-up their extraordinary form.  

Both nations are on the verge of qualifying for their first-ever quarter-finals. 

Top Scorers

Cameroon’s Salomon Charles Banga Bindjeme and Guinea’s Yakhouba Gnagna Barry lead the race for the top scorer award. 

Both players have scored two goals each in two games played. They will certainly look to increase their goal tally in their next games. 

There are about twenty other players who have been on target only once since the start of the competition. 

A great absentee from the list is Morocco’s captain Ayoub El kaabi. 

The 27-year-old forward scored nine goals during the previous edition of the CHAN to finish top scorer and emerged best player as well. 

But he is yet to open his goal account at the 2020 CHAN and impress.

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