AFCON 2022: Zim qualifies for the third time in a row

It all started with Zimbabwe’s Warriors against Botswana’s Zebras at the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown, Botswana, who edged their neighbours 1 – 0 to book a spot at the 2022 Africa Cup Of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroon.

By Daniel Itai

The result meant the Warriors have qualified for their third successive Africa Cup of Nations tournament after Algeria held hosts Zambia to a 3-3 draw.

The game was the Zebras to take considering they were playing at home and had been promised close to US$1 million by their government if they out-manoeuvred the Warriors.

14 minutes into the first-half, Perfect Chikwende opened up for the Warriors and the visitors successfully protected their solitary goal lead throughout the entire 90 minutes.

“Three AFCON appearances in a row! The match against Botswana might have been the toughest, but their resilience was deserving of the qualification which came with the hard fought win,” read a statement from ZIFA.

Meanwhile, in yet another thrilling encounter between Algeria’s Desert Foxes and Zambia’s Chipolopolo which ended in a stalemate following a 3 – 3 draw at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia, saw the Foxes ensuring their spot at the 2022 AFCON finals.

Rachid Ghezzal opened up for the visitors in the 19th minute of the first-half and seven minutes later Islam Slimani made it two giving the Foxes a 2 – 0 lead.

However, in the 34th minute the Foxes conceded a penalty and Patson Daka made sure it landed at the back of the net reviving Chipolopolo’s prospects of reaching the AFCON finals. Regardless, the Foxes went to the half-time break in the lead by 2 – 1.

Getting back into the final 45, Clatous Chama rose to the occasion and levelled the matters in the 52nd minute which saw the scoreline change to 2 – 2.

However, their celebrations were short-lived as the Foxes took yet another lead in the 55th minute courtesy of Slimani making it his brace.

As the match was about to reach its climax, the Foxes conceded another penalty and Daka made no mistakes as he once again landed the ball at the back of the net resulting in a 3 – 3 scoreline.

After Daka’s 80th minute goal there was nothing more to write about as both teams failed to find each others’ nets.

As a result, Algeria amassed a point and are still at the top of group H with 11 points while Zimbabwe have now eight points following their 1 – 0 victory and have both qualified for the 2022 AFCON finals.

However, Botswana is now at the bottom of the log with four points and Zambia with the same points but on third position with only the Goal Difference separating the two. Regardless, both Chipolopolo and the Zebras have fallen out of the 2022 AFCON race due to today’s results as there is only one match left for all the teams.

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