Mauritania and The Gambia secure their AFCON spots on the final day of qualifying

The TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 will have seven countries from the CAF Zone West A following the qualifications of Mauritania and The Gambia.

The two countries who also played at the edition in Cameroon will be joined by regulars Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau who had earlier booked their places.

Sierra Leone who qualified two years ago failed to secure their place in Cote d’Ivoire alongside neighbours Liberia.

Mauritania hosted Gabon and their former coach Patrice Neveu at the Stade Cheikha Boïdiya in Nouakchott with both sides levelled on seven points.

The Mourabitounes needed the points to book a third a successive appearance at the continent’s flagship football tournament.

Goals from youngster Tanji and the experienced Abubakar Kamara were enough for Mauritania to secure a 2-1 victory and eliminate the Panthers of Gabon.

The Gambia also qualified for the second time in dramatic fashion against Congo in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh on Sunday night.

The Scorpions lived through the devastating earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday night and had to sleep outside their hotel rooms.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake claimed the lives of over 2000 people. However, the match did go through at the Stade De Marrakesh.

The Gambia needed a point to go through while Congo needed all three points to return to the AFCON for the first time since 2015.

Congo raced to a shock two-goal lead over the Scorpions in the first half.

A spirited second half performance inspired by substitutes Ablie Jallow, Yankuba Minteh and Muhammed Badamosi sent Tom Saintfiet’s team to their second AFCON.

Yankuba Minteh pulled one back ten minutes from time after Badamosi had flicked Ibou Touray’s inviting cross to the back post.

Former Real de Banjul forward Badamosi completed the comeback with a towering header on the stroke of normal time to qualify to their second successive AFCON appearance.

CAF Zone West A Executive Director, Mapathe Gaye says the qualification shows the excellent work being done across the zone.

« I’m very pleased with the results achieved by the countries in the WAFU A Zone, » Gaye told

« Out of 9 countries, 7 have qualified for the next Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023. This shows once again the excellent work done by each Federation.

« We will continue to build on this momentum to achieve better results for our various teams.

« Congratulations to all the Presidents and all the Federations of the Zone. WAFU A onwards and upwards, » Mapathe said.

The seven countries will know their respective groups when the final draw for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cote d’Ivoire 2023 take place in Abidjan on 12 October 2023.