Egypt and Ivory Coast were shocked while Comoros, Madagascar and Ethiopia recorded huge results in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which kicked off last week. Here are the Winners and Losers. Bet on football here.
Ethiopia registered the biggest upset in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The East Africans beat two-time African champions Ivory Coast 2-1 in a Group K match. Despite going up 1-0 after just four minutes, the Ivorians were shell-shocked after the Walia Antelopes scored twice in ten first-half minutes. They held dearly to their lead and deservedly got their three points. The hosts were cheered by vociferous 60,000 fans at the Bahir Dar Stadium in Addis Ababa who invaded the pitch after the final whistle. Given the Ethiopian side composed of 10 home-based footballers, this will go down as one of their biggest wins in history.
Madagascar continued with their impressive form from the 2019 AFCON tournament when they thrashed hosts Niger 6-2 in Group K. They have won two out of two so far and sit top of the group containing 2015 champions Ivory Coast. They had beaten Ethiopia 1-0 at home on Saturday and head into 2020 in the form of their lives. They face the Ivorians in their next game and will definitely give them a run for their money.
Comoros held seven-time AFCON champions Egypt to a stunning goalless draw in their second AFCON 2021 qualifier match on Monday. Comoros, a tiny Indian Ocean island country with fewer than a million people, nullified the Egyptians, who didn’t look like scoring. Comoros now sit top of Group G with four points. They registered an incredible 1-0 win away to Togo on Thursday last week. They are punching way above their weight but for how long can they sustain this?
The Pharaohs’ disappointing 2019 continued after they drew their two AFCON 2021 qualifiers against Kenya and Comoros. The Egyptians produced a dismal showing in this year’s AFCON tournament which they hosted. Newly appointed coach Hossam El-Badry couldn’t anticipate this poor start, which wasn’t helped by the absence of talisman Mohamed Salah. Although the qualifiers are just starting, the two games have shown that their reliance on Salah and they’re yet to improve following a forgettable AFCON campaign.
Two-time AFCON winners Ivory Coast suffered an embarrassing 2-1 defeat away to Ethiopia in a compelling Group K encounter in Addis Ababa. Despite being ranked 95 places higher than the East Africans, Ibrahim Kamara’s side couldn’t contain a determined Ethiopia side. Even after scoring after just four minutes through Serge Aurier, Ethiopia rallied back and made sure the three points remained home. Ethiopia won the 1962 tournament and have qualified just once since 1982.
Zambia’s dreadful start to the 2021 AFCON continued on Tuesday when they suffered a 2-1 home defeat to arch-rivals Zimbabwe. The defeat in Lusaka comes after a 5-0 thrashing away to AFCON champions Algeria last week. The two defeats now leave them at the bottom of the Group H. The Chipolopolo had built up some real momentum heading to the qualifiers with three wins and three draws in their last six matches. The 2012 AFCON champions will now have to go back to the drawing board to prepare for the second round of matches.