The race to qualify for 2015 Africa Cup of Nations begins today with 28 countries going for 15 slots hoping to join hosts Morocco at the continent’s biggest tournament at January’s finals – as ever, the Premier League will be well represented in the upcoming qualifiers—particularly high-profile clashes between the likes of Nigeria v South Africa, Cameroon v Ivory Coast and Senegal v Egypt. (Photo Darren Mckinstry Leone Stars training in Abidjan)
The dreadful Ebola virus has been the main issues dominating the Afcon build-up all over the continents as preparations been altered due to unforeseen circumstances. Guinea and Sierra Leone in West Africa are mostly affected by the virus and that has left football authorities with no choice but to stop all football related activities.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) ordered Guinea, Sierra Leone to move their home ties away from home and Guinea for the first time will play a home tie away from Conakry hosting Togo in Moroccan city of Casablanca Group E, and it was a late u-turn by the Ivorian government giving the go ahead to host Sierra Leone.
Ahead of Sierra Leone first leg encounter with the Les Elephants’ in Abidjan on Saturday Sierra Leone’s head Coach, Johnny Mckinstry told Football Sierra Leone that he is upbeat about the prospect of reaching Morocco 2015.
“We firmly believe that we have the quality required to qualify for AFCON 2015. The road ahead is challenging, however for any new team to break into the elite group of teams, you must first dislodge one of those already there.”
Emmanuel Adebayor is back for Togo after an 18-month absence. The Spurs centre forward refused call-ups for World Cup qualifiers last year following a spat with then coach Didier.
Adebayor was critical of the former French international’s work even after Togo broke new ground by reaching the Nations Cup quarter-finals for the first time after seven previous failed attempts, Ghana and Uganda meet in Kumasi on Saturday in the same group.
Italy-based midfielder Sulley Muntari arrived in Ghana on Tuesday night to watch the Black Stars match against Uganda on Saturday despite being indefinitely suspended from the national team,
The AC Milan star, who was indefinitely suspended from the Black Stars for incidents at the World Cup in June, arrived at the Kotoka International Airport on Tuesday night.
Almost two years after they last played on their home field, Senegal players want to give their supporters a cheerful return when they take on Egypt on Friday in the opening qualifier match of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) at the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium.
The stadium was banned by Confederation of African Football (CAF) in November 2012 following massive riots by the fans during a CAN 2013 qualifier game against Ivory Coast on 13 October 2012.
Also on Friday is a first ever meeting between Sudan and visiting South Africa in Group A. Sudan Coach Mohamed Abdallah is looking forward to the historical match after naming an experienced squad to take on Bafana Bafana.
“I wish this match would become an occasion for a historic game because of its exclusive nature as it takes place between two countries that are the founding fathers of CAF, and also the fact that it’s the opening match of the group phase,” Abdallah said.
Friday’s 2015 qualifiers
Sudan v South Africa 1700GMT
Guinea v Togo in Casablanca 1900GMT
Senegal v Egypt 2000GMT
Sudan v South Africa (1700GMT)
Complete List of qualifying matches
- 05/09/14: Sudan v South Africa
- 06/09/14: Nigeria v Congo
- 10/09/14: South Africa v Nigeria
- 10/09/14: Congo v Sudan
- 06/09/14: Ethiopia v Algeria
- 06/09/14: Mali v Malawi
- 10/09/14: Algeria v Mali
- 10/09/14: Malawi v Ethiopia
- 06/09/14: Gabon v Angola
- 06/09/14: Burkina Faso v Lesotho
- 10/09/14: Angola v Burkina Faso
- 10/09/14: Lesotho v Gabon
- 06/09/14: DR Congo v Cameroon
- 06/09/14: Ivory Coast v Sierra Leone
- 10/09/14: Cameroon v Ivory Coast
- 10/09/14: Sierra Leone v DR Congo (Sierra Leone home Lubumbashi)
- 06/09/14: Ghana v Uganda
- 05/09/14: Guinea v Togo (to be played in Casablanca, Morocco because of fears over Ebola)
- 10/09/14: Togo v Ghana
- 10/09/14: Uganda v Guinea
- 06/09/14: Zambia v Mozambique
- 06/09/14: Niger v Cape Verde Islands
- 10/09/14: Cape Verde v Zambia
- 10/09/14: Mozambique v Niger
- 05/09/14: Senegal v Egypt
- 06/09/14: Tunisia v Botswana
- 10/09/14: Egypt v Tunisia
- 10/09/14: Botswana v Senegal