African Cup of Nations

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Tanzania players rewarded with land for reaching African Cup

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DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) The president of Tanzania has rewarded national soccer team players and officials with $5,000 each and a plot of land in the capital city for qualifying for the African Cup of Nations.

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Tanzania reached the tournament for the first time in 39 years by beating East African rival Uganda 3-0 on the final day of qualifying on Sunday.

President John Magufuli thanked the team at a reception at his offices and told players and officials “you deserve to be rewarded.” Magufuli ordered that 25 players and seven coaching staff be given the money and a piece of land in Dodoma.

Tanzania lost to Cape Verde and Lesotho but was saved in the last round of qualifying when it beat Uganda and Lesotho was held to a 0-0 draw in Cape Verde.

This year’s African Cup is in Egypt in June and July.

FIFA to send in emergency team to run Cameroon football

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.

The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.

FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.

CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.

FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”

Three former champs lose in African Cup qualifying’s final round

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Three former champions lost at home at the start of the final round of qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations on Saturday, with Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Zambia all slipping up.

Ivory Coast was beaten by Guinea 3-2 after leading 1-0 and 2-1, Nigeria lost to South Africa 2-0, and Zambia was upset by Mozambique 1-0.

Cameroon, the African champion and host of the next Cup of Nations in 2019, beat Morocco 1-0 with a goal by striker Vincent Aboubakar, the man who scored the winner for Cameroon in this year’s Cup of Nations final.

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Cameroon has its place at the 2019 tournament guaranteed as host but will still take part in the qualifying competition and collect points from games.

Qualifying comes down to 12 groups of four teams. The group winners and three best second-place teams qualify alongside the host team. If Cameroon wins its group, the second-place team can qualify. If Cameroon finishes second in its group, only the winner qualifies.

Ivory Coast, African champion in 2015, fell to a late winner from Guinea’s Naby Keita after Seydou Doumbia twice gave the Ivorians the lead in Abidjan.

South Africa enjoyed immediate success under new coach Stuart Baxter as he oversaw Bafana Bafana’s first ever competitive win over three-time African champion Nigeria. Second-half goals by Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau took South Africa to its surprise win in the southern city of Uyo after Nigeria blew a number of good chances in the first 45.

Zambia, African Cup winner in 2012, was undone late on when Stanley Ratifo scored for Mozambique with a shot from a tight angle in the 90th minute.

Madagascar, Malawi, Burundi, Mali, Libya, Sierra Leone, Congo, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Guinea-Bissau also made winning starts to the group stage.

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Congo won the battle with neighboring Republic of Congo after a double from Cedric Bakambu.

Two of Burkina Faso’s stars of their run to the semifinals at this year’s Cup of Nations were on target in a 3-1 win over Angola as Aristide Bance scored twice and Bertrand Traore sealed victory.

Uganda’s qualifier in Cape Verde was postponed until Sunday after the Ugandan squad was stranded in Senegal because of technical problems with its airplane.

Ghana and Algeria start their final group campaigns on Sunday, and Tunisia hosts Egypt, the losing finalist at this year’s African Cup.

Strong second half hands Cameroon fifth AFCON title

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It looked like the two sides were headed for extra time but Vincent Aboubakar decided to change the script with just two minutes remaining.

Cameroon captured its fifth African Cup of Nations crown on Sunday after Aboubakar netted the game-winner in the team’s 2-1 victory over Egypt at Stade de l’Amitié.

The second-half substitute did brilliantly to control a long ball into his path, before juggling the ball over a defender and blasting it into the back of the net in the 88th minute.

The Egyptians took the lead after 22 minutes when Mohamed Elneny was slipped into the penalty area by Mohamed Salah. Elneny received the ball on the right side of the box before blasting his shot towards the top corner and past goalkeeper Joseph Ondoa.

Cameroon responded on the other side of halftime through substitute Nicolas N’Koulou, who leveled the match at 1-1 just before the hour mark. N’Koulou came on in the 31st minute to replace Adolphe Teikeu.

Traore’s free-kick lifts Burkina Faso over Ghana in third-place match

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It doesn’t get any better than this!

Chances were far and few in Saturday’s African Cup of Nations third-place match but Alain Traore’s last-minute strike ensured Burkina Faso a bronze medal in their 1-0 win over Ghana.

The 28-year-old blasted a free-kick past goalkeeper Richard Ofori in the 89th minute to give Burkina Faso the advantage. Stunning strike.

The game’s first big chance happened in the 25th minute when Ghana forward Bernard Tekpetey hit woodwork from inside the penalty area. The 19-year-old Schalke striker made his international debut for the Black Stars in Ghana’s group play defeat against Egypt.

Ghana brought on a flurry of second-half substitutes to try and bolster the team’s attack, including the introductions of Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew, but the Black Stars finished the match with three shots on goal.

The battle for the this year’s AFCON title will take place on Sunday when Egypt and Cameroon do battle at the Stade de l’Amitié in Gabon.