WINDHOEK, SEPT. 5 – The second round of group stage qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will continue with 11 matches across the continent on Sunday, September 9.
The action gets underway early in the afternoon as West African heavyweights Senegal head to Antananarivo to take on Madagascar in a Group A clash. The Teranga Lions are heavily favoured to pick up an away win, but coach Aliou Cisse has warned his team to expect a tough clash at the Mahamasina Municipal Stadium.
Another of Africa’s 2018 World Cup teams, Tunisia, will head to Southern Africa when they face Swaziland in Manzini. New Carthage Eagles coach Faouzi Benzarti has opted not to tamper with the squad he inherited in July from predecessor Nabil Maaloul.
Striker Issam Jebali of Norwegian side Rosenborg, Kortrijk midfielder Larry Azouni and Karim Laaribi of Hellas Verona have been included, although they did not play in their previous call-ups.
Another new coach in charge of a heavyweight is Ibrahim Kamara, who succeeded Marc Wilmots at the helm of the Ivory Coast in July. For their Group H clash away to Rwanda – which is very much a must-win after they were beaten 3-2 at home by Guinea in their opener last year – he has dropped the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Salomon Kalou and Gervinho.
The Elephants will look to the likes of Franck Kessie, Jean Michael Seri, Eric Bailly and Max Gradel as they face the East Africans for a seventh time in international football – Ivory Coast have won four of the previous six meetings betweens the teams.
Sunday also features two Group G matches which are set to be thrillers, as Zimbabwe and DRC head to Congo Brazzaville and Liberia for respective away clashes. Sunday Chidzambwa’s Warriors won a second successive Cosafa Cup earlier this year and there is growing belief that they can make a return to the AFCON.
However, Zimbabwe are sweating over the fitness of star forward Khama Billiat, having already lost Belgium-based midfielder Marvelous Nakamba, forward Tino Kadewere of French Ligue 2 side Le Havre, and experienced defender Costa Nhamoinesu to injury.
The DRC, ahead of their trip to Monrovia, have dropped the likes of Cedric Bakambu, Gael Kakuta, Marcel Tisserand and Chancel Mbemba. Coach Florent Ibenge will look to Firmin Mubele, Junior Kabananga, Benik Afobe and Brett Assombalonga to spark the Leopards’ attack.
Key match stats
Madagascar v Senegal – Head-to-Head
Matches played 2
Madagascar wins 0
Senegal wins 1
Rwanda v Ivory Coast – Head-to-Head
Matches played 6
Rwanda wins 1
Ivory Coast wins 4
Swaziland v Tunisia – Head-to-Head
N/A – This will be their first official meting
AFCON qualifiers fixtures – September 9
All times CAT
13h30 – Group A – Madagascar v Senegal
15h00 – Group F – Ethiopia v Sierra Leone
15h00 – Group L – Lesotho v Cape Verde
15h00 – Group C – South Sudan v Mali
15h00 – Group J – Swaziland v Tunisia
15h30 – Group H – Rwanda v Ivory Coast
16h30 – Group G – Congo v Zimbabwe (Live on SS9 & Select1)
17h00 – Group I – Angola v Botswana (Live on SS7/SS10 & Max1/Max360)
18h00 – Group G – Liberia v DR Congo
18h00 – Group D – Togo v Benin
18h30 – Group H – Guinea v Central African Rep.