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Africa Cup of Nations state of play

By AFP

Added 6th June 2016 04:15 PM

Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Zimbabwe also secured places and Gabon are automatic participants as hosts of the 16-nation tournament.

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Zimbabwe's Tendai Ndoro (C) vies for the ball during an AFCON Group L qualifier football match between Malawi and Zimbabwe at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.AFP PHOTO

Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Zimbabwe also secured places and Gabon are automatic participants as hosts of the 16-nation tournament.

Record seven-time champions Egypt and first-time qualifiers Guinea-Bissau are among 10 countries who have booked places at the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Senegal and Zimbabwe also secured places and Gabon are automatic participants as hosts of the 16-nation tournament.

The other six places -- four group winners and the best two runners-up -- will be filled during the September 2-4 final round of qualifying.

AFP sport gives a group-by-group state of play in the biennial African football showpiece.

Group A

Tunisia host Liberia in a winners-take-all showdown but, if they draw 0-0, Togo will snatch top spot provided they collect maximum points at home to whipping boys Djibouti. A score draw takes Liberia through.

Group B

Democratic Republic of Congo host Central African Republic, who have never reached the finals, with a two-point advantage so a draw will suffice for the hosts while the visitors must win.

Group C

Mali are guaranteed an invitation to Gabon -- either as group winners or one of the best two runners-up. Benin can top the final standings by beating Equatorial Guinea at home this Sunday and Mali away.

Group D

Burkina Faso and Uganda have home advantage over Botswana and the Comoros respectively and victories will qualify both -- one as group winners and the other as one of the best runners-up.

Group E

Guinea-Bissau won a section where they were expected to finish last and pre-competition co-favourites Congo Brazzaville and Zambia are also out of the running for one of the runners-up slots.

Group F

Morocco were the first qualifiers for the finals, and a home win over Libya would put second-place Cape Verde in contention to be one of the best runners-up and seal a third consecutive finals appearance.

Group G

Egypt are back at the finals after three straight failures to qualify following three consecutive title-winning campaigns. Even the most partisan Pharaohs supporters could not have dreamt they would be eight points ahead of Nigeria.

Group H

Ghana, runners-up twice, third once and fourth twice in the last five Cup of Nations tournaments, qualified comfortably from one of the weaker groups with Rwanda failing to build on a promising start.

Group I

It would be a sensation if defending champions Ivory Coast failed to make the finals given that they will have home advantage over Sierra Leone and need only draw as they hold a one-point lead.

Group J

Algeria, whose only African title came 36 years ago when they hosted a then eight-team tournament, scored 19 goals in five matches as they easily won arguably the weakest group.

Group K

Senegal are through to the finals with a perfect five-win record and only two goals conceded. It did help the Teranga Lions that Burundi, Namibia and Niger offered limited opposition.

Group L

Top seeds Guinea were always on the back foot after beginning disastrously by losing at home to Swaziland and unbeaten Zimbabwe clinched a return to the Cup of Nations after a 10-year absence by outclassing Malawi.

Group M

The expected close contest between Cameroon and South Africa never materialised with the Indomitable Lions comfortably securing a place while Bafana Bafana (The Boys) needed five games to achieve a win.

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