Zambia’s Elimination from the 2023 AFCON Tournament
COSAFA side Zambia faced a disappointing exit from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) following a 1-0 defeat by Morocco on Wednesday.
Despite being the 2012 CAF Champions, Zambia needed just a draw to advance to the knockout stages. However, a first-half goal by Galatasaray winger Hakim Ziyech secured Morocco’s second win of the tournament and propelled them to the top of Group F.
Group Standings and Elimination
Morocco’s victory meant they led Group F with seven points, while the Democratic Republic of Congo finished second with three points. The DRC played to a 0-0 draw with Tanzania on the same day.
Morocco’s coach, Walid Regragui, was absent due to a four-game ban (two suspended by CAF) following a heated exchange in their previous game against the DRC.
The Morocco Football Federation expressed their intent to appeal, asserting that Regragui’s actions did not violate the spirit of sportsmanship.
Next Challenge for Morocco
Despite the absence of their coach, Morocco advanced to the last 16 and is set to face Bafana Bafana in the next match on Tuesday. South Africa secured the second spot in Group E with a 0-0 draw against Tunisia on Wednesday.
Ivory Coast’s Progression and Coaching Change
Ivory Coast secured a spot in the last 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams. However, the hosts will be without coach Jean-Louis Gasset, who was fired on Wednesday.
Emerse Fae will now take charge of the team for the remainder of the tournament. Other nations advancing as the best third-placed teams include Guinea, Namibia, and Mauritania.
Last 16 AFCON Qualifying Teams and Fixtures
The Last 16 round fixtures are as follows:
- Saturday, 27 January:
- Angola vs. Namibia at 19:00
- Nigeria vs. Cameroon at 22:00
- Sunday, 28 January:
- Equatorial Guinea vs. Guinea at 19:00
- Egypt vs. Democratic Republic of Congo at 22:00
- Monday, 29 January:
- Cape Verde vs. Mauritania at 19:00
- Senegal vs. Ivory Coast at 22:00
- Tuesday, 30 January:
- Mali vs. Burkina Faso at 19:00
- Morocco vs. Bafana Bafana at 22:00