Struggle for South Africa ticket continues
The African Cup of Nations preliminary matches enters its second leg this weekend with teams playing home and away.
Some of the teams have already sealed the tie, others have impossible tasks while others have an open game at their disposal.
The winner of the ties will face one of the 2012 African Cup of Nations finalists in a playoff that will decide who will be in South Africa in a bid to battle for supremacy.
SuperSport.com takes a look at each fixture as we highlight the nature of the matches.
Algeria vs Gambia
Both teams come into this match on back of a defeat, Gambia lost to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam in the World Cup qualifiers while Algeria threw a 2-1 lead over Mali to settle for no points.
The hosts beat the visitors 1-0 in Bangui and will hope that home ground advantage plays a role in this match having beaten their opponents in 2010 in the World Cup qualifiers by the same margin.
Coach Vahid Halilhodzic has asked his team to redeem themselves after their defeat to the eagles and he has hinted that there will be changes in his starting line up.
Egypt vs Central African Republic
The Pharoahs will face Central African Republic at Borg El-Arab Stadium. The seven time champions had a terrible campaign and missed out on the competition that led to the exit of Zamalek Coach Hassan Shehata.
This is their first round since the match that was scheduled in February but was postponed following due to the port said incident.
With Central African Republic having a decent start, beating Botswana and losing to Ethiopia last week in their World Cup campaign, Egypt have had a flying start beating Mozambique and Guinea in the same qualifiers.
However, Coach Bob Bradley has opted to not include star players Amr Zaki, Emad Meteb and Mahmoud Abdel-Razek ‘Shikabala’ to his team while the visitors whose French Coach walked out on them prior the qualifiers citing six months unpaid pay.
Pharaoahs and Les Fauves have never met before and the match will be its first and Bradley’s 15th incharge. The match will be played behind closed doors.
Malawi vs Chad
The flames were humbled by Nigeria after threatening to fry the Super Eagles with a one-all draw.
Chad have a tough task at hand, Malawi has only lost once at home in four years since Kinnah Phiri took over and they will not make it easy for them despite them winning the first leg 3-2.
The two were grouped in the same group K in the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers where Botswana and Algeria booked their ticket to the African Cup of Nations tournament in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. They are expected to attempt to repeat their performance as they won 8-4 on goal aggregate against Sao.
This match will revive rivalry because it is the same team that denied Malawi an opportunity to qualify after a late equalizer to force a 2-2 draw despite beating them 6-1 at Blantyre.
Chad has never qualified for the tournament.
Cameroon vs Guinea Bissau
The Indomitable Lions have not done their big team tag justice since their flop at th 2010 World Cup and even missed on the continental affair this year. They go into the match with a 1-0 goal aggregate over visitors.
Eric Choupo-Moting was the man that separated the two sides as the team missed out on key players on suspensions and injuries.
With the exception of Choupo-moting who has been heroic with the goals, the rest of the team were subjected to booing by their own fans.
Uganda vs Congo
The Cranes lost 3-1 away to Congo in the first leg.
Congo beat Niger 1-0 to top Group E of the World Cup qualifiers but there incisiveness infront of the goal is wanting as they had many chances that weren’t successfully converted. As for Uganda, they rallied from behind to draw one-all with Ternaga Lions at Namboole Stadium.
The CECAFA defending champions will miss the services of Martin Mulumba who got injured against Senegal. Uganda have to score two goals and not concede to overturn the aggregate in their favour.
Sierra Leone vs Sao Tome e Principe
Not one of the matches that will have massive attraction but will be an interesting one since the hosts are trailing 2-1.
The Island nation beat Leone Stars 2-0 in Freetown in 2000,hence, they could cause an upset if they eliminate their opponents at home.
With the inclusion of Luis Leal, it would be interesting if this will have an influence against Sierra Leone who drew 2-2 with Equatorial Guinea in the World Cup qualifiers.
Cape Verde vs Madagascar
From the score in the first match, this looks like a done affair as the hosts won 4-0 away and doing the same at homw would be even a simpler task.
Cape Verde has given permission to four rested of its players, hence, the development clearly showing that they are confident that they have already qualified for the next round.
Namibia vs Liberia
Namibia beat Kenya 1-0 in Windhoek last week despite Harambee Stars putting up a show and denying in the entire match.
With their 1-0 advantage over the brave warriors and the team settling for a draw against Angola, it would be interesting to watch how they will blend especially afterFrancis Doe and Dioh Williams were dropped by the coach Antoine Hey after they missed their flight to Morocco after Gambia game.
Hence, they will have a tough task ahead in replacing the three players.
Zimbabwe vs Burundi
Burundi have a 2-1 goal advantage over Zaimbabwe who have to score and ensure they don’t concede in order to boost their chances.
The hosts are troubled in the sense that Knowledge Musona and Ovidy Karuru are being investigated following allegations relating to their recently World Cup matches against Guinea where they lost 1-0 and 0-0 draw against Mozambique.
Togo vs Kenya
Harambee Stars won the first round 2-1 at Nyayo Stadium while on the other hand, Hawks who were expecting Emmanuel Adebayor to be part of the team, will miss out on him since he decided to take break from International football.
Togo have reinforced their squad by calling up Abdoulaye Ibrahim and Yacoubou Sheriff. The also expect keeper Kossi Agassa who is in Vacation in Lome to join them.
Kenya who are currently training in Accra will arrive in Lome on Friday without McDonald Mariga who got injured while playing for Parma in the Serie A but boast of the return of shot stopper Arnold Origi.
DR Congo vs Seychelles
DR Congo won 4-0 while playing away and the match against Kinshasa will not subject them under pressure.
The visitors have not been involved in many International matches since they did not qualify to play in the World Cup qualifiers after being eliminated by Kenya. Hence, they will be up against a team that beat Togo 2-0 last week and that defines the match in Kinshasa.
Benin vs Ethiopia
Saladin Said, the top scorer is fit to face the Squirrels following an injury on Saturday as he scored a brace against Central African Republic.
Razak Omotoyyosi has also proved to be a regular scorer for his side. With the two settling for a barren draw, they have all to play for in Cotonou.
Last time they faced each other, Benin won 1-0.
Nigeria vs Rwanda
Amavubi frustrated Super Eagles in Kigali and despite them dominating the match, they settled for a barren draw.
Nigeria missed out on the African Cup of Nations cup this year and they will have to beat Rwanda to qualify for the second round.
Rwanda will miss on Elias Uzamukunda who suffered a knee injury as the Wasps seek to deny their opponents a chance to eliminate them in the qualifiers.
Both sides settled for a one-all draw in their World Cup qualifiers matches.
Mozambique vs Tanzania
Mambas have to settle for a barren draw to book a ticket to play one of the African Cup of Nations finalists with the two sides settling for a one-all draw in their previous match in Tanzania.
Mozambique have failed to score in the last two matches in the World Cup qualifiers while their opponents Tanzania rallied to beat Gambia 2-1 in Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania welcome back Nurdin Bakari and Thomas Ulimwengu though they will be without Mwadini Ali,Masoud Nassoro and Waziri Salum in their quest this weekend.