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Will they qualify or go home?





South Africa and this year’s dream team, Cape Verde, qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals in a thrilling and dramatic manner.

Five minutes from the end we did not know who would go through and boy how they celebrated as the curtains came crashing down.

Here are the upcoming last group games and what they have to do to go through.

Monday 28 January, Group B
Niger v Ghana

Niger need a little miracle to qualify. With one point off two games they need to beat group favourites Ghana to go through. They need to play physically and take their chances when they get free kicks and set plays.

From open play Ghana will dominate and the Ghanaians have to be patient but aggressive in the goal area of the Niger team.

DR Congo v Mali

This is the fireworks game of the group. Congo need to stop dreaming in front of goal and be deadlier when they have the chance to score. A draw is not good enough and hence they need to attack from the word go while not forgetting to defend.

Mali need to be patient and seal the defence. A draw will see them qualify and, with Seydou Keita in the team, they have to creatively and accurately counter attack to win.

Tuesday 29 January, Group C
Burkina Faso v Zambia

The in-form team of the group take on the defending champions. Zambia have no choice but to go all out for a win and try to force errors from the defence of their opponents. A draw might not be enough and they have no choice but to wrestle out a three-point result.

Burkina Faso, needing a draw to secure qualification, need to attract the Zambians in. They need to encourage them to attack and, with the in-form strikers Petroipa and Traore, they should exploit the space the Zambian defence will definitely offer. This promises to be a spectacular game.

Nigeria v Ethiopia

The impressive but disappointed Ethiopians need a high-scoring win to maybe qualify and they were quite unlucky to be at the bottom of the group.

They need to play their usual football of ball possession and pressing to carry the day, since they have nothing to lose, and hope Nigeria will falter.

Nigeria has to bring total physical football into play. This is not a game of calculations. Only a win will do and a convincing one at that. Quick counterattacking is a must and a brutal finishing instinct in front of goal is key to qualification.

Wednesday January 29, Group D
Algeria v Ivory Coast

Algeria is out and Ivory Coast are sure to qualify as group winners. This should be a game of reserves to give some playing time to players on the bench and build team spirit for the Ivorians.

The Algerians, however, need to salvage some pride and go out by beating the favourites to the title, Ivory Coast.

Togo v Tunisia

This is the do-or-die game in this group. Both teams have no choice but to attack from the first whistle.

The 2013 Afcon is now fully in full gear!


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