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Morocco through to Cup of Nations last 16, Mane and Senegal fail to fire – FRANCE 24

Issued on: 14/01/2022 – 20:12Modified: 14/01/2022 – 20:10

Yaoundé (AFP) – Morocco eased into the knockout phase of the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday but fellow title contenders Senegal again laboured in front of goal as they were held by Guinea.


Only Senegal sit above Morocco among African teams in the FIFA world ranking and the Atlas Lions made it two wins and two clean sheets from two matches at this AFCON as they beat tournament debutants the Comoros 2-0 at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.

Selim Amallah gave the 1976 champions an early lead and then set up substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal to seal the win a minute from time with a goal that was initially disallowed for offside before being given following a VAR check.

In between, Vahid Halilhodzic’s Moroccan side were regularly frustrated as Nayef Aguerd hit the underside of the crossbar with a header and Comoros goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina produced some heroic saves.

Boina, who plays in France’s amateur regional fifth tier, produced a remarkable quadruple save on his line and then kept out a late Youssef En-Nesyri penalty.

Morocco are now certain to reach the last 16 and are well-placed to go through as winners of Group C, in which Gabon and Ghana met later on Friday.

The Comoros, the island nation in the Indian Ocean, are still looking for their first goal and point at their first ever Cup of Nations after losing 1-0 to Gabon in their opening match.

Goals have been few and far between throughout the Cup of Nations so far, with just four of the 17 matches played featuring more than a single goal.

Sadio Mane and Senegal were held to a goalless draw by Guinea

Sadio Mane and Senegal were held to a goalless draw by Guinea Pius Utomi EKPEI AFP

After losing the 2019 final to Algeria, Senegal have high hopes of finally winning a first continental title in Cameroon but they needed a 97th-minute Sadio Mane penalty to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their opening game and on Friday they drew 0-0 with west African neighbours Guinea in Bafoussam.

As Mane came up against his Liverpool team-mate Naby Keita, the drab draw in the capital of Cameroon’s West region left both sides well-placed to advance to the last 16 from Group B.

“Senegal are the top-ranked team in Africa so forcing a draw and keeping them goalless was okay,” said Guinea coach Kaba Diawara.

Malawi dreaming

Senegal and Guinea sit on four points while Malawi are just behind them after coming from behind to triumph 2-1 against Zimbabwe.

Appearing at only their third Cup of Nations, Malawi’s Flames claimed just their second ever win at the finals and will go into their last game against Senegal with a chance of making the knockout stages.

Ishmael Wadi headed Zimbabwe in front in the 38th minute but Frank Mhango of Orlando Pirates quickly equalised and then scored the winner just before the hour mark.

While Malawi dream of reaching the knockout phase for the first time, Zimbabwe have failed to win any of their last eight games at the AFCON finals.

Frank Mhango scored twice as Malawi came from behind to beat Zimbabwe

Frank Mhango scored twice as Malawi came from behind to beat Zimbabwe Pius Utomi EKPEI AFP

Warriors coach Norman Mapeza admitted their chances of making the last 16 were slim, saying “our only hope is to qualify as a third-placed team and to do so we must beat a good Guinean team convincingly”.

The games in Bafoussam were played in front of larger crowds than most matches at the tournament so far, with the requirement to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and also provide proof of a negative coronavirus test enough to put off many fans.

Cameroon is a football-mad country but few people are vaccinated and there is little evidence that people in Cameroon take the threat of the the coronavirus seriously.

Tunisia’s campaign was dealt a further blow when six members of their squad tested positive for the virus, ruling them out of Sunday’s match against Mauritania.

Late on Wednesday they discovered that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) had thrown out their protest after referee Janny Sikazwe blew the final whistle before 90 minutes had been completed against Mali.

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Team News | Muskwe starts against Sheffield United | News –

Manager Nathan Jones has made two changes for this afternoon’s Sky Bet Championship match against Sheffield United.

Admiral Muskwe starts up-front with Cameron Jerome following Zimbabwe’s exit from the Africa Cup of Nations, in place of Elijah Adebayo who is amongst the subtitutes. 

Henri Lansbury comes into midfield ahead of Jordan Clark as the gaffer freshens up his side with the Hatters searching for their third win of the week.

Town: Shea; Kioso, Burke, Bradley (C), Naismith, Bell; Lansbury, Campbell, Mpanzu; Muskwe, Jerome.

Substitutes: Sluga, Berry, Adebayo, Mendes Gomes, Clark, Onyedinma, Osho.

Referee: Stephen Martin

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'Let's build on positives' – DailyNews – DailyNews

DESPITE the early exit at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), Warriors coach Norman Mapeza, pictured, feels the future of the national team is secure only if they can build on the positives they got from the tournament.

Mapeza was mandated to preside over Warriors’ participation at the Afcon tournament — but just like his predecessors in the previous four tournaments — he failed to steer the team to the knockout stage following defeats to Senegal and Malawi.

While the Warriors rounded off their tournament with a 2-1 win over Guinea, it was rather too little too late as they finished bottom of Group B with three points.

The Warriors have never reached the knockout stage of the Afcon tournament after all their five appearances ended in group stages. Zimbabwe made their Afcon debut in 2004 under Sunday Chidzambwa.

Mapeza became the fourth Zimbabwean coach to fail to steer the Warriors to the knockout stage of the tournament following unsuccessful stints by Chidzambwa in 2004 and 2019 while Charles Mhaluri and Callisto Pasuwa also failed at the 2006 and 2017 editions respectively.

And with Zimbabwe now shifting their attention to 2023 Afcon qualifiers starting in March, Mapeza said their elimination should not derail efforts to assemble a competitive side going forward.

“We know everyone is disappointed that we couldn’t progress to the next round and it’s understandable for our football fans and everyone to feel that way. 

“We are all very disappointed like everybody else for coming back home in the first round,” Mapeza told the Daily News soon after arriving from Cameroon yesterday.

“We always play to win and we have no excuse to give as we all want to get the good results that can make everyone happy. 

“We didn’t get good results but through the continued support from all football stakeholders, we can try work hard to rectify some of the mistakes we made.

“I think there are things we did better but also we have a lot of areas to improve. Overall there were so many positives that we get from all games we played that I think we can use to build up our team going forward.”

Mapeza’s assistant Taurai Mangwiro weighed in saying the team takes collective responsibility for the results obtained.

“We are all disappointed that we couldn’t progress to the next round of the tournament but we wouldn’t want to doubt the commitment of the players,”Mangwiro said.

“They did try to put in their best performance and it was very unfortunate that we couldn’t hang in there especially in the game against Senegal where we lost the game in the last few seconds of the match.

“In our match against Malawi, we had taken the lead but we failed to defend our lead and allowed them to get back into the game due to some errors we made.

“But in the game of football, we win and lose as a team and we take full responsibility for the results we got as a team.

“We wouldn’t want to look into the individual errors but we work and collectively accept that we failed as a team and try to work around that so that we improve ourselves going forward.”

Veteran defender Onismor Bhasera believes the team needs a bit of patience as they are in a rebuilding process with the emergence of several young players in the squad.

“I do think that this team is a work in progress with the new young players coming in, we got something to build on and it’s a process that needs the support of everyone,” he said.

“We lost games especially against Senegal, I do believe we had worked hard and we only needed a bit of luck to hold on but we ended up losing. We will take the positives going forward and with everyone’s support we will bounce back strong.”

Cloud Fusire


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Nathan Jones speaks ahead of Sheffield United | News –

Manager Nathan Jones is wary of facing a ‘tough’ Sheffield United side but will hope his team can continue building momentum after back-to-back wins this week.

The Hatters are now unbeaten in all competitions since November 27th but face ex-Premier League opposition on Saturday with the opportunity to move up into eighth with a win and results also going in their favour.

“We’re unbeaten since November which is a long time. We hadn’t played most of December obviously but that is a nice thing. It was important to go back-to-back in midweek because we’re playing catch-up with games and some teams have jumped ahead of us a little bit and got points, all we have to show for it is games in hand.


“There are still another four games this month and there is a chance to push on. If we can have a real good month, it puts us in a much healthier position because it’s such a tough league and you don’t want to have to play catch-up.

“For example, what Rotherham did last year because it killed us having the games called off. Now we’ve got a bit of fluency, we’re looking forward to the games. They will come thick and fast, they are tough and we know we are going to have to be at our best.

Speaking about Paul Heckingbottom’s side, the gaffer said: “They have one of the best squads, biggest budgets, ex-Premier League, so you expect them to be right up there. They have some fantastic players, strikers that know the level, strikers that can score at this level and are fantastic. We know it is a tough game, but these are the challenges we like.”

Whilst attacker Harry Cornick is still sidelined, Jones could welcome back Admiral Muskwe following Zimbabwe’s exit from AFCON 2021.

They (Zimbabwe) had a good last game, but they’ve gone out so he’s back with us and hopefully available. He’s a bit more game ready, so hopefully he slept on the plane as he’ll be straight into training.”

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