Mozambique only squeezed into the final qualifying round 5-4 on penalties over Namibia at Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek, depsite heading into the match with what seemed to be a comfortable 3-0 first-leg lead.
Mozambique now face Angola in a clash of Portuguese-speaking countries for a place at the 11 January - 1 February tournament for home-based stars. And Zambia tackle Mauritius or Zimbabwe, who play in Harare later Sunday where Zimbabwe built a 3-0 first-leg lead on the Indian Ocean island.
Namibia looked doomed after a three-goal first-leg hiding in Maputo, and a goalless first 45 minutes in Windhoek did nothing to alter that view. Riaan Cloete broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half, volleying a Deon Hotto cross into the net and offering a glimmer of hope to the 'Brave Warriors'.
Mozambique, who edged Namibia 1-0 in the recent regional Cosafa Cup, were reduced to ten men when striker Apson Manjate was shown a second yellow card followed by a red. Namibia began to believe all was not lost and Roger Katjiteo hammered a loose ball into the net four minutes from time to stir a previously subdued crowd.
Katjiteo struck again two minutes into stoppage time, chasing a long pass and scoring with another fierce shot that sparked wild celebrations on the touchline and in the stands. But there was no fairytale finish as the Mozambicans regained their composure to convert all five penalty kicks while Chris Katjiukua missed for the Namibians.
But it took a side guided by 2012 Africa Cup of Nations-winning French coach Herve Renard 49 minutes to score on the Zambian Copperbelt. Giant striker Festus Mbewe inflicted the damage, nodding a chip from defender Kondwani Mtonga past recalled Botswana goalkeeper Noah Maposa.
Defender Obuile Nncenga was sent off, leaving the 'Zebras' to pursue an equaliser a man short and their fate was sealed 12 minutes from time when Evans Kangwa netted. A second-half substitute for Bornwell Mwape, striker Kangwa sprinted on to a pass from star midfielder Mukuka Mulenga to score from close range and seal a 3-1 aggregate victory.