Malawi became the 19th nation to secure a ticket to next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as they beat Uganda in the decider to book their spot in Cameroon.
Malawi beat Uganda 1-0 in their final Group B qualifying match for the 2021 AFCON as the Flames put themselves through and sent the Cranes out.
Coming into the game, Uganda only needed to avoid defeat to qualify for next year’s tournament but they failed to get the desired result courtesy a Richard Mbulu goal in the 15th minute that saw the home team go through in Blantyre.
The South-East Africans have qualified for the finals for the first time since 2010.
This result meant that Uganda joined fellow East African sides Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan out of the competition with more to follow and Sudan being the only real hope for next year’s AFCON from East Africa.
The result saw the Flames leapfrog the Cranes into second place in Group B with just 1 spot available in the group after Burkina Faso had already secured their place in the final 24 of next year’s AFCON.
The Burkinabe defeated South Sudan 1-0 courtesy a Bertrand Traore goal in Ouagadougou to make sure that they finished on top of Group B and stayed unbeaten in the qualifiers.
The Stallions won their final game to make sure they topped the group having already qualified for the finals, while the Bright Stars remained fourth following an unsuccessful qualifying campaign.
Coach Kamou Malo adopted for an offensive approach with attackers Lacina Traore, Alain Traore, Zakaria Sanogo and Bertrand Traore all starting for his side.
However, the Bright Stars were solid in defence under the guidance of Australia-based central defender Godfrey Okello.
The score was 0-0 at the break with South Sudan having contained Burkina Faso in the first-half.
Joseph Mayang and Dominic Angelo were brought on by South Sudan coach Besong Ashu of Cyprus in hopes of picking up a goal.
However, it was the Burkinabe who opened the scoring through Bertrand Traore in the 50th minute.
The Aston Villa star scored after being set-up by Lacina Traore, which was his 12th international goal for the Stallions.
The hosts did go down to 10 men with 10 minutes left in the game after captain Charles Kabore, who celebrated his 100th cap for Burkina Faso against Uganda last week, was sent off with his second yellow card for the game.
The Stallions were resolute in defence after going a man down, however, and did extremely well to secure the 3 points, seal first place and go unbeaten in the qualifiers.
Here is the summary of Group B of the 2021 AFCON qualifiers.
- Burkina Faso – 12 points (Q)
- Malawi – 10 points (Q)
- Uganda – 8 points
- South Sudan – 3 points