On a bustling Saturday of African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying matches, two coveted berths in the upcoming tournament in Ivory Coast will be determined. The day will witness a total of eight matches taking place across the continent.
The pivotal afternoon fixture features Mozambique hosting Benin in Group L, where the Mambas and the Squirrels are vying to secure qualification alongside group winners and defending AFCON champions, Senegal, for the 2024 finals.
Mozambique needs only to avoid defeat to qualify for the first time since 2010. In contrast, Benin must secure victory at Estadio do Zimpeto in Maputo to earn their first ticket since the 2019 tournament.
Mozambique’s coach, Chiquinho Conde, is pinning his hopes on the talents of Sporting CP winger Geny Catamo to help achieve their goal. Conde commented, “He has always displayed exceptional technical ability, and being left-footed, he was dubbed the ‘Messi of Maxaquene’ when he took his initial steps in football, a testament to his demonstrated quality.”
Conde further mentioned, “Last season, he played against Benin and was in great form, but then he joined Sporting for preseason and unfortunately suffered an injury, which delayed his integration. He missed half the season and was subsequently loaned to Marítimo. I hope his injuries don’t hinder him again because, at 22, he is at a crucial stage of development.”
In the early evening, Group I will take center stage, with all four teams still in contention for qualification. The group leaders, DR Congo (with 9 points), will face Sudan (with 6 points) while second-placed Mauritania, along with Gabon (both with 7 points), will clash. Both DR Congo and Mauritania, as hosts and current occupants of the qualification slots, are favored to secure their tickets. However, this group has been marked by unpredictability, so further drama wouldn’t be surprising.
Saturday’s fixtures will conclude with three matches that hold no bearing on the standings: Comoros (eliminated) vs. Zambia (qualified) from Group H; Morocco (qualified) vs. Liberia (eliminated) from Group K; and Senegal (qualified) vs. Rwanda (eliminated) from Group L.
AFCON Fixtures for Saturday, September 9:
01:00: Malawi vs. Guinea 01:00: Mozambique vs. Benin 04:00: Ivory Coast vs. Lesotho 04:00: Mauritania vs. Gabon 04:00: DR Congo vs. Sudan 07:00: Comoros vs. Zambia 07:00: Morocco vs. Liberia 07:00: Senegal vs. Rwanda