Following the end of the tournament’s qualifying process on Tuesday night, the eight countries that will compete in the 2023 TotalEnergies U23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) have been known.
The final phase concluded with five more teams qualifying, while giants Nigeria and Senegal were eliminated.
Nigeria, the 2015 U-23 AFCON winners, were eliminated after succumbing 2-0 to Guinea in the return leg at Rabat’s Stadium Moulay Hassan.
Read Also:Guinea Sends Nigeria U23 Team Out of AFCON U23 Tournament
The first leg went goalless, but the second leg was a different story, with Guinea rising to the occasion to snatch the ticket.
Guinea qualified for the first time on a 2-0 goal aggregate thanks to second-half goals by Algassime Bah and Alseny Soumah.
Despite losing the first leg 3-1 against Senegal, Mali won the return game 3-0 at Stadium du 26 Mars in Bamako.
After both teams came close to scoring, the suspenseful first half ended goalless.
Mali, on the other hand, returned determined to score and scored after 61 minutes through Hamidou Diallo, before Kamory Doumbia made it 2-0 four minutes later.
The final 20 minutes were tight as the Senegal squad attempted to fight back.
Nonetheless, Mali was awarded a penalty, which Mamadou Sangare converted after 72 minutes.
Gabon qualified for their first U-23 AFCON competition after defeating Cameroon 7-6 on penalties.
Cameroon needed penalties after Gabon won the first leg by the same margin.
Etiene Emmanuel Eto’o Fils scored the lone goal for Cameroon at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde.
The Ghana U-23 squad, which drew 1-1 with Algeria in the first leg, took advantage of home advantage and won 1-0.
Ghana qualified for their second U-23 AFCON competition after Abdul Fatawu Issahaku scored the lone goal after 12 minutes.
Niger also qualified after a 1-0 win over Sudan at the Al Hilal Stadium in Omdurman, Khartoum.
The first leg had finished in a stalemate.
Mali, Gabon, Guinea, Ghana, and Niger have joined the tournament’s hosts Morocco, Congo, and reigning winners Egypt.
The U-23 AFCON will also serve as a qualifier for the men’s football competition at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.