Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Big weekend for Africa - Review

If you weren't able to watch the matches here is what happened. Algeria started things off by traveling to Zambia where they won 2-0. This result really puts the pressure on the other teams in their group. To advance out of Africa it is key to win your home matches and get as many points as you can on the road. With Zambia dropping a home match to Algeria, they now need to beat Egypt in Zambia and try to get road points in Algeria and Rwanda if they are to head to South Africa. Egypt are in a very similar place to Zambia, and will likely be level on points with them once they host the Rwandans on July 5th. They also face travels to Zambia & Rwanda and host the Algerians. Both Egypt & Zambia have a shot at South Africa if they win all of their matches any more slip ups by either team could spell the end of their World Cup dreams. Algeria's next two matches are at home - if they win both of those they stand a strong chance of making the World Cup. In fact a win over the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets - Zambia) would essentially eliminate Zambia.

Tunisia hosted Nigeria in a big Group B encounter. I watched as much of this as I could and the parts that I saw weren't that exciting it was a hard fought 0-0 draw which doesn't do a lot for either side. Nigeria are still two points back of Tunisia and will be hoping for a victory in their rematch on September the 6th in Nigeria. If Nigeria win that then they are back in with a chance, anything less will rule the Super Eagles out barring a slip up by Tunisia against either of Kenya & Mozambique.

Burkina Faso hosted the Ivory Coast in the other clash of group leaders. This was quite a thrilling encounter with Les Elephants emerging with a 3-2 victory over their hosts. Burkina Faso showed a lot of fight and played well, unfortunately for them to have a chance at qualifying now they have to win in the Ivory Coast. The one thing that could drastically change the fortunes of the Ivory Coast is that their coach is talking about leaving. He has been linked with Portsmouth as well as clubs in France and Germany. As we saw with Uganda changing coaches can have a big effect on a team's performances.

South Africa managed to advance to the semi final of the Confederations Cup thanks to New Zealand holding Iraq to a draw. While Egypt collapsed against the United States 3-0. With Brazil beating Italy by the same score the Pharaohs only needed to lose by 2 to advance. Even with the Pharaohs bowing out of the Confederations Cup it was a good weekend for African football.

And yes the Springboks manhandled the Lions 26-21 in Durban. Test two goes on Saturday (9am Eastern) from Loftus for any Rugby fans out there.

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