VICTORIA-LIMBE, 31 January 2021 – Defending champions, Morocco, beat Zambia, three-one, and Guinea beat Rwanda, one-nil, to qualify Sunday for the semi-finals of the 2020 African Nations Championships.
Rwanda and Zambia are automatically eliminated from the tournament, joining Congo-Brazzaville and DR Congo who were eliminated Saturday after losing to Mali and Cameroon respectively.
In top form, the Atlas Lions of Morocco had little trouble defeating Zambia on the Reunification Stadium in Douala, economic capital of French-speaking Republic of Cameroon.
Moroccan attacker, Rahimi, hit the back of the net at the very first minute of the game.
Zambia had hardly recovered from the shock of going one-down so early when the Moroccans scored again, seven minutes later, with Ali Bemammer, putting the ball beyond the reach of the Zambian goalie.
El Kaabi scored from the penalty spot at the 39th minute of play to put the defending champions three goals up and, clearly, beyond the reach of the shell-shocked, struggling Zambians.
Morocco literally used the second half of the game almost as a practice session, dropping their focus only once at the 80th minute when Zambia’s Phiri scored his team’s consolation goal.
In the other quarter-final game at the Centenary Stadium in Victoria-Limbe, on the Atlantic Coast of English-speaking Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia, Sylla of Guinea scored the only goal of the game at the 60th minute to put his side into the semi-finals of CHAN2020.
The semi-finals of the tournament are scheduled for next February 3 with Mali playing against Guinea in an all-West Africa semi-final on Japoma Stadium in Douala, economic capital of French-speaking Cameroon.
Defending champions, Morocco, will take on hosts, Cameroon, in the other semi-finals scheduled to be played at the Centenary Stadium in Victoria-Limbe, in English-speaking Southern Cameroons.
CHAN2020 has been ongoing on four stadia – three in Cameroon and one in Southern Cameroons – since last January 16.
The final will hold next February 7 on the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.
The tournament was delayed after Ethiopia (the initial hosts) dropped out and Cameroon stepped in to take over.
Unlike the Africa Cup of Nations, only players in domestic football leagues can participate in the tournament which was last won by Morocco in 2018.