Gems Shine in London

LIVERPOOL — Zimbabwe won an absolutely thrilling Group A tie against Northern Ireland this afternoon, edging out their opponents to win 51-49. In the battle to decide who would finish second to Australia in the group, the tussle went right down to the wire, with the lead changing hands multiple times before the Zim Gems held their nerve to edge over the line and spark wild celebrations in the crowd. Northern Ireland started brightly, briskly taking a 5-1 lead in an opening period which gave no indication of the seesaw…

‘Tough To Do Better Next Time’, Says Madagascar Boss

Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis conceded it would be difficult for the Africa Cup of Nations debutants to eclipse their run to this year’s quarterfinals in future tournaments. The Indian Ocean islanders saw their dream run finally halted by Thursday’s 3-0 loss to Tunisia, a country ranked 83 places above them in the world. “I’m very proud of what the players have done since the start of the tournament. I tip my hat to them,” said Dupuis, whose contract was set expire at the end of the competition in Egypt. “Today…

Gallant Bafana Eliminate Hosts Egypt

Thembinkosi Lorch scored on 85 minutes to give South Africa a stunning 1-0 victory over Africa Cup of Nations hosts Egypt after a pulsating last-16 clash in Cairo Saturday. After three woeful group performances, South Africa were rank outsiders against the record seven-time African champions, whose line-up included Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. A seesaw struggle was settled when a swift counterattack allowed Lebo Mothiba to send Lorch through and he fired past goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy. The winners were unrecognisable from the team that struggled in the group stage as they…

Egypt Look To Overpower SA

Egypt will start as clear favourites for their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 clash against South Africa at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday 6 July. Kick-off is at 9pm CAT. Egypt enjoyed a perfect record in Group A of the competition, racking up three successive wins over Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Uganda to top the standings – and without conceding a single goal in the process. Yet there is a sense that we have yet to see the best of coach Javier Aguirre’s team. The brilliance…

Nigeria Edge Burundi In Group B Opener

Odion Ighalo came off the bench to score the goal that gave former champions Nigeria a 1-0 victory over stubborn minnows Burundi on Saturday in the opening Africa Cup of Nations Group B match. The Shanghai Shenhua forward had been on the pitch only four minutes in Egyptian Mediterranean city Alexandria when he struck the 77th-minute winner. It was an unconvincing performance from the three-time trophy-holders, who lacked attacking sharpness against well-organised opponents. Bookmakers have made Nigeria fourth-favourites at 9/1 to win the competition, behind hosts and record seven-time champions…

Madagascar Impress In Draw With Guinea

Africa Cup of Nations debutants Madagascar secured a first ever point at the tournament on Saturday after an entertaining 2-2 draw against Guinea in their Group B opener in Alexandria. Guinea started without influential midfielder Naby Keita after his recent injury troubles but went ahead through Sory Kaba’s confident finish on 34 minutes. Indian Ocean islanders Madagascar, who were the first qualifiers for this year’s tournament, replied early in the second half through Anicet Andrianantenaina. They promptly took the lead when Charles Andriamahitsinoro produced a nerveless finish after latching onto…

AFCON Roundup: Uganda End 41-Year Wait With Win Over DR Congo

Uganda won at the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the first time in more than 40 years as they upset the Democratic Republic of Congo 2-0 in their opening Group A match at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday. Both goals came from set pieces as Patrick Kaddu headed home a 14th-minute corner and then Emmanuel Okwi got a touch onto a free kick just after half-time. Uganda last won at the finals in 1978 when they beat Nigeria in the semi-finals and finished runners-up to hosts Ghana. Saturday’s surprise win served notice of the potential…

Sliti Penalty Gives Tunisia Surprise Win In Croatia

Naim Sliti converted a penalty to give Tunisia a 2-1 away win over Croatia on Tuesday in a warm-up match for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt. Croatia were runners-up to France in the 2018 World Cup and after defeating Wales last Saturday in a Euro 2020 qualifier, were expected to defeat the Carthage Eagles. But it was the north Africans who made an early breakthrough with Anice Badri from African champions Esperance Tunis scoring on 16 minutes. Bruno Petkovic levelled two…

Clubless Obi Mikel Join Training Camp

John Obi Mikel, Leon Balogun of Brighton Hove Albion and Levante winger Moses Simon were among the early arrivals on Sunday at Nigeria’s training camp for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations. Former Chelsea midfielder Obi Mikel, who last played for his country at last year’s World Cup in Russia, is making a comeback to the national team. The 32-year-old is currently without a club after his short-term deal with English Championship side Middlesbrough ended when they failed to win promotion back to the Premier League. Other call-ups who have…