Angola and Cameroon seal qualification
While the Angolans eased to a 3-0 victory over Swaziland, the Indomitable Lions struggled to overcome Rwanda 2-1 in the penultimate round of qualifiers.
On Saturday, Morocco and Tunisia secured slots at the 16-nation tournament in Ghana, which will begin on 20 January 2008, with wins over Malawi and Mauritius respectively.
Ghana are automatic qualifiers as hosts, leaving another 11 places up for grabs when the final round of qualifiers are played during September for all but the four Group 2 countries.
Angola, shock qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ at the
expense of Nigeria, made it four victories in five Group 6 outings
thanks to goals from captain Paulo Figueiredo, Arsenio Cabungula
and Flavio Amado.
Although without star striker Samuel Eto'o, Cameroon were not expected to be troubled by bottom-of-the-table Rwanda. And the four-time continental champions appeared set to repeat their easy win in Rwanda last year when leading 2-0 three minutes after half-time. Mohamadou Idrissou scored his fourth qualifying goal with 34 minutes gone amid scorching heat in the north-west town of Garoua, and Geremi Njitap added a second via a trademark free kick.
But Jimmy Gatete reduced arrears with 11 minutes left to leave Cameroonian supporters checking their watches more frequently than usual as the Group 5 encounter drew to a tense close.
Morocco clinched top spot in Group 12 with a 1-0 win in Malawi, while a 2-0 home victory for Tunisia over Mauritius guarantees them qualification either as Group 4 winners or one of the best three runners-up.
Nigeria, third at the last three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, are set to qualify from Group 3 after winning 3-1 in Niger thanks to goals by Nwankwo Kanu, Taye Taiwo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni. A home win over Lesotho will ensure the Super Eagles top spot, while second-placed Uganda will secure one of the runners-up passports to Ghana if they defeat Lesotho away on Tuesday and Niger at home in the final round.
South Africa are another country on the brink of making travel arrangements for Ghana after a 1-1 draw in Congo left them needing one point from a home fixture against Zambia to seal first place in Group 11.