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Afcon qualifying: Lesser lights take centre stage on final weekend

When the Confederation of African Football ratified an expansion to the Africa Cup of Nations in July 2017, introducing eight more teams to the biennial competition, the dynamic of the qualifying program was always going to change.

As had been the case ahead of the European Championship in 2016, for which UEFA had instigated an increase from 16 to 24 teams, many of the continent's heavyweights cruised to the tournament with games to spare.

However, an overall decrease in drama among the bigger nations...

South Africa book final Africa Cup of Nations spot with win against Libya

South Africa booked the last place at the African Cup of Nations finals with a 2-1 away win over Libya thanks to Percy Tau's double on Sunday to complete the lineup for the 24-team finals being hosted in Egypt in June.

The diminutive 24-year-old striker, on loan at second-tier Union SG in Belgium from English Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion, scored with two powerful second half strikes to ensure the country finished second behind Nigeria in Group E.

Earlier on Sunday, Benin, the DR Congo,...

Bafana face Libya with Afcon failure a sword over their heads

Ahead of this weekend's final round of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, 14 teams had already qualified to join hosts Egypt at the continental showpiece, and South Africa really should have been among them.

Their shocking failure to beat the Seychelles in Victoria in October has left Bafana Bafana with it all to do when they face Libya in Tunisia on Sunday.

At least Bafana are still in the driving seat; they enter matchday six on nine points to Libya's seven, and will progress if they avoid defeat...

Africa Cup of Nations qualification: What's still at stake?

The road to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has been paved with troubles, with the tournament often appearing to be at the mercy of the Confederation of African Football's internal politics and, notably, the regime change from Issa Hayatou to Ahmad Ahmad in March 2017.

The change in CAF presidency prompted the Afcon changes instigated at the CAF symposium in July 2017, where it was decided that the tournament would be expanded from 16 to 24 teams, even though the 2019 qualifying campaign had already...

2019 Afcon qualifiers key squads

The final round of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers runs from 22 to 24 March. Which teams have opted to rest some of their biggest stars?

Nigeria (vs Seychelles - 22 March):

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Katsina United); Daniel Akpeyi (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa)

Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino, Italy); Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba); Chidozie Awaziem (Rizespor, Turkey); William Troost-Ekong (Udinese, Italy); Leon...