2015 Caf U23 Championship Round-Up: South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt advance

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By Rachael Ugiagbe
South Africa confirmed their spot at the tournament with a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe, thus progressing on 4-1 aggregate following a 1-1 draw in the first leg.
A brace from Keegan Dolly and a strike by Gift Moputa was all South Africa needed to qualify.

The race for the second edition of the CAF U23 African Championship was concluded over the weekend, with seven teams joining hosts Senegal to compete in the tournament later this year.

Egypt made a light work over Uganda and confirmed their spot in grand style, defeating Uganda 2-1 away in Kampala. The Egyptians advanced on 6-1 aggregate having won the first leg 4-0 at home at fortnight ago.

Offensive midfielder Mahmoud Abdelmonem, once again proved to be a thorn in the flesh for the defence of Uganda, as he took his goals tally to four goals in both legs, netting in either half of the match, while Farouk Miya netted the consolatory goal for Uganda.

Zimbian goalkeeper Toaster Nsabata put up a heroic display, saved two-spot kicks to help his side edged out Cote d’Ivoire, 4-3 on penalties after a barren draw, same result as the first leg a fortnight ago in Abidjan.

Elsewhere, Nigeria held their grounds in Pointe-Noire, played out a goalless draw with Congo and sealed their spot on 2-1 aggregate, the result from the first leg in Port Harcourt.

Tunisia overturned a 1-0 loss suffered from the first leg, to defeat Morocco 2-0 in the return leg played in Rades, thus progressing a 2-1 result.

In a keenly contested match which saw Morocco ending with nine-men following the dismissal of captain Badr Benoun and Anas Al Asbah, whilst Tunisia failed to convert from the penalty spot.

After a goalless first half, Tunisia took the lead on the 57th minute through Edem Rejaibi, heading home from a Saad Bgur’s assist and thereafter, on the 63rd minute, Haithem Jouini scored the winner, putting the game beyond Morocco.

Defending champions Gabon will not be in Senegal to defend their title won in the maiden edition in Morocco 2011, as they were shown the exit doors by Mali.

An own goal Karl Mboudo coupled with Adama Traore’s late goal helped Mali in completing a double over Gabon. While Algeria were the first to booked their spot with a 2-0 aggregate win over Sierra Leone.

The top three teams at the tournament billed for November 28 to December 12 in Dakar, Senegal will represent Africa at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, while the fourth-placed team will engage in a play-off tie with an Asian team.

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