Qualification for the AFCON 2019 is over and there are some surprises in the teams that managed to make it to Egypt. Today we take a look at some of the lessons we learned during the fixtures.
East African football on the rise
It is party time in the Horn of Africa following the qualification of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi to the continental showcase. East African countries have often found it difficult in the past to make it to the AFCON but a conspiracy of fate, time and adequate preparations has seen the rise of football in the region. All the four countries are part of CECAFA, a regional body that has been promoting the growth of grassroots football through a regular club and national team tournaments. Uganda qualified top of their group and together with Taifa stars of Tanzania, they finished in the two top spots in Group L. Kenya and Burundi finished second in group F and C respectively. This will be the first time four East African Nations will be represented in the tournament.
Andre Ayew’s milestone
As Ghana qualified for Egypt, Andre Ayew was moving closer to writing history as one of the best players who turned out for the Black Stars. He was called to the national team set up for the very first time in 2007 and he has gone on to make his name a mainstay in the national side since then. Taking part in the fixture against Kenya meant that he now has 79 caps for the Black Stars, a number that makes him joint seventh on the all-time list tied with Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu.
Super Eagles in transition
The Nigerian national football team has been a mainstay in African football and they have been one of the more consistent sides. However, the team is undergoing some transition and the changes have been steady in the last few months. John Obi Mikel is slowly approaching the sunset days of his career and he missed this campaign whilst Victor Moses has since retired from international football. Wilfried Ndindi, Alex Iwobi, and Kenneth Omeruo are emerging as the new face for the Super Eagles and they all played a key part in their 3-1 win over Seychelles.
Bakambu to the rescue
DR Congo managed to qualify for AFCON following their narrow 1-0 win to Liberia. The group was a closely contested one and all Liberia needed was a draw to qualify. However, Cedric Bakambu had other ideas as he inspired his underperforming side to a hard-fought win in front of their own fans. They were lucky to have qualified here but they will need to improve greatly in the coming months if they are to have a good outing in Egypt.
Seedorf‘s message going through
Clarence Seedorf has been tasked with the responsibility of leading the Indomitable Lions to the AFCON as they try to retain the trophy they won two years ago. They sealed their place with an impressive 3-0 scoreline over Comoros. Eric Choupo-Moting opened the scoring in the first half after finishing off a brilliant team move with a close-range tap in, evidence of the work they have been doing in training. They qualified second of their group behind Morocco but from what we have seen you can expect them to be a major contender in the summer.