Yesterday’s round of AFCON qualifiers marked a huge upset for traditional African football powerhouses Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt who saw their hopes of making it to the 2012 African Cup of Nations end dramatically.
For Nigeria, a 2-2 draw at home against Guinea was not enough to see them through to the finals. In fact, this will be the first time in 25 years that the country failed to make it to the finals.
South Africa on the other settled for a barren draw against Sierra Leone at the Mbobolela Stadium in Nelspruit. This was the third time Bafana Bafana has drawn with Sierra Leone in all their 4 meetings.
Their draw coupled with Egypt’s 3-0 drubbing of Niger in Cairo, leaves things very sticky in Group G with Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone all level on 9 points. The winner was however, selected on a head to head basis not goal advantage thereby leaving South Africa in Second position.
Bafana Bafana still stand a chance of qualifying as one of the 3 best second finishers. However, it will all depend on the other groups as fixtures continue today.
Egypt were already out of the running before yesterday’s fixtures and despite winning the match 3-0, their efforts came too late as their bad start to campaign effectively ended their chances early.
The only positive that can be drawn from the game was that this was Bob Bradley’s first win as coach of the Pharaoh’s since taking over from long serving Hassan Sheata early last month.
Back to Nigeria and fans could not hide their displeasure with Super Eagles coach Samson Sia Sia. Nigeria has in the recent past struggled to stamp its authority in the African game.
The one time African giants have become a pale shadow of themselves due to squabbles in the NFF and displeasure with coach Siasia’s game tactics. In fact, things have become so bad recently that Nigerians have resorted to branding their team the ‘super chickens’ for their horrible playing methods.
The shock of the day however, came in the form of Libya who managed to qualify despite all the turmoil their country is undergoing. The Libyans earned a position as one of the 2 best second place finishers after a barren draw away to Zambia ensured they finished the group with 12 points just one below toppers Zambia.
With more rounds of fixtures scheduled to continue today, the final slots will be decided after the full time whistle tonight.
Photo credit © angah316