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Surprises in AFCON's group competitions, fiery confrontations in round 16

TUNIS, Jan 21 (KUNA) -- The group competitions in the African Nations Championship (AFCON), which is currently hosted by Cameroon, witnessed the elimination of the defending champion Algerian national team, as Comoros team advances, which was nominated for the first time in its history for this tournament.
Cameroon was subjected to great pressure to postpone AFCON's 33rd session due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but finally kicked off January ninth and witnessed for the first time the participation of 24 teams distributed into six groups.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has defined the Cameroon system, which stipulates that the first and second place holders from each group will run for the quarterfinals, in addition to the four best third-placed teams.
The Cameroon team nominated for the first group after getting nine points from three matches, while Burkina Faso was runner-up and Cape Verde finished third, and in turn secured a place in the 16th round of the tournament.
In the second group, Senegal (leading), Guinea (runner-up) and Malawi (third place), were nominated, while the Moroccan team topped the third group and was nominated for the next round, accompanied by the teams of Gabon and Comoros, which achieved a victory over Ghana.
Nigeria (leading) and Egypt (runner-up) were nominated for Group D.
Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea did not qualify for Group E, while Algeria failed to achieve a victory that guarantees them a place in the final round.
Mali, Gambia, and Tunisia were nominated for Group F, as Carthage Eagles were satisfied with a victory against Mauritania, then had two severe defeats against the Mali and Gambian teams.
The matches of the 16th round will start next Sunday and will continue for four days to decide the teams qualified for the quarterfinals, where the Burkina Faso team will face its Gabonese counterpart in a match.
Next Sunday, Nigeria will also face its Tunisian counterpart in a match that Nigerians enter with hope after the great performance they showed in the group competitions against the Tunisians since the beginning of the tournament.
Meanwhile, the Guinea national team will face its Gambian counterpart next Monday, after the two teams showed a satisfactory return during the group competitions, while the Comoros team will clash on the same day with Cameroon in a match.
Next Tuesday will witness two matches in the 16th round, the first between the Moroccan and Malawi teams, and the second between the teams of Senegal and Cape Verde.
The 16th round will conclude its competition next Wednesday with two matches, the first between Ivory Coast and Egypt, and the second between Mali and Equatorial Guinea. (end) ksj.lr