Mali and Nigeria were the last teams to qualify their place for the eight team tournament, which serves the final hurdle of the continental qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
An own goal by Karl Mboudou saw Gabon go down after 67 minutes before Adama Traore sealed victory with the insurance goal three minutes from time in Bamako to secure passage for the Malians 3-0 on aggregate.
“We had come here with the intention of qualifying. We had the occasions to score but could not. We realized that we lost qualification in the first leg (which we lost 1-0). It’s difficult because we had a trophy to defend,” said a disappointed Gabon coach Rigobert Nzamba.
On his part, Cheick Oumar Kone remarked “we tried to give our maximum opportunity to qualify. We were shown a beautiful face with a margin of manoeuvre in the second half. It was at Libreville that we obtained the qualification. I would say tonight was 50-50 performance.”
In Pointe Noire, Nigeria’s Dream Team held Congo to a barren draw and book their place 2-1 on aggregate.
Earlier on Saturday, Egypt confirmed their spot in grand style, beating Uganda 2-1 away in Kampala. Offensive midfielder Mahmoud Abdelmonem ‘Kahraba’ proved to be a nemesis yet again for the Kobs scoring in either half, taking his tally to four in both legs.
Faruku Miya reduced the tally for the homers in the closing stages, but it was the Egyptians who advanced 6-1 on aggregate.
The Chipolopolo of Zambia needed penalties to edge the ‘Les Elephants Olympiques’ of Cote d’Ivoire after a barren draw in Lusaka, same result as the first leg a fortnight ago in Abidjan. However, the Zambians progressed 4-3 on penalties with Jackson Chirwa, Benedict Chepeshi, Solomon Sakala and Patson Daka converting for the homers against Roger Assale, Chris Bedia and Jean Ahoulou scoring for the Ivorians. Goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata was the hero for the Zambians saving two kicks from France based Abdel Diarra and Nguessan Yao whilst Peterborough United forward, Souleymane Coulibaly, top scorer at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011 in Mexico sent his effort over the bar.
Tunisia ousted regional rivals Morocco in a hotly contested clash thanks to a 2-0 win in Rades and enough to cancel the lone goal loss from the first leg a fortnight ago in Rabat. So hot was the game that Morocco ended with nine men after captain Badr Benoun and Anas Al Asbah were sent off whilst the Tunisia had the luxury of wasting a penalty.
Esperance youngster Edem Rejaibi broke the deadlock on 57 minutes connecting home a Saad Bguir assist. Two minutes on, the Tunisians were awarded a penalty which saw Benoun shown the marching off orders, but Ilyes Jelassi missed from the spot.
On 63 minutes, Haithem Jouini scored the second goal, capitalising on poor communication on the part of two Moroccan defenders before tucking home to strengthen his side’s lead. In added-on time, Al Asbah was sent off making matter worse for the visitors.
At the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa made light work of neighbours Zimbabwe, with a 3-0 win. A brace from Keegan Dolly and the other by Gift Motupa ensured the South Africans advanced 4-1 on aggregate.
Algeria were the first team to qualify beating Sierra Leone 2-0 on aggregate.
The top three teams at the final tournament scheduled for 28 November to 12 December in Dakar, Senegal will represent Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and the fourth placed team facing an Asian side in a playoff.
Saturday, 1 August 2015
Uganda 1-2 Egypt (0-4)
Zambia 0-0 (4-3 pen) Cote d’Ivoire (0-0)
South Africa 3-0 Zimbabwe (1-1)
Tunisia 2-0 Morocco (0-1)
Sunday, 2 August 2015
Congo 0-0 Nigeria (2-1)
Mali 2-0 Gabon (1-0)
[Qualified teams: Senegal (host), Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia]