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Guinea Bissau Country in fairytale qualification for Nations Cup

Burkina Faso will secure their place if they beat Botswana at home in their last match in September after keeping on course with a tough 1-0 win away over the Comoros Islands.

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Guinea Bissau topped their standings and qualified for the African Nations Cup finals without kicking a ball on Sunday, adding their name to a list of unlikely achievements in the African game in recent years. Guinea Bissau, who have never been inside the top 100 of FIFA’s world rankings, will play in next year’s finals in Gabon for the first time after being assured of top place in Group E.

Their triumph came after Congo let slip an early lead and lost 2-1 away against Kenya in Nairobi on Sunday to leave Guinea Bissau in an uncatchable position at the top of the standings.

The former Portuguese colony, with a population of just 1.7 million and no professional league, have been beset by financial problems and regularly unable to enter teams in continental competition or pay for foreign coaches.

But they beat 2012 champions Zambia 3-2 at home on Saturday to move to 10 points in the group and Congo’s failure 24 hours later hands them their greatest sporting achievement.

It matches the feat of Botswana, the Cape Verde Islands, Libya and Niger who have been to recent tournaments and Equatorial Guinea, surprise semi-finalists at the 2015 finals.

Ghana and Zimbabwe also qualified for the January 2017 tournament to join Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Senegal who had previously booked their places.

Two late goals from captain Dede Ayew and Christian Atsu handed Ghana a 2-0 away win over Mauritius and a runaway lead in Group H.

Zimbabwe hammered Malawi 3-0 in Harare on Sunday after Knowledge Musona converted an early penalty and Khama Billiat and Cuthbert Malajila added two more.

They qualify because Swaziland beat Guinea 1-0 in Sunday’s other Group L encounter. Zimbabwe are three points ahead of Swaziland going into the final round of qualifiers in September but cannot be overtaken by the Swazis on a head-to-head reckoning.

Burkina Faso will secure their place if they beat Botswana at home in their last match in September after keeping on course with a tough 1-0 win away over the Comoros Islands.

The Burkinabe share top place in Group D with Uganda but have the advantage in the head-to-head stakes.

Cedric Bakambu and Paul-Jose Mpoku scored twice each and Yannick Bolaise added another as the Democratic Republic of Congo hammered Madagascar 6-1 away on Sunday but qualification is not yet assured from Group B after the Central African Republic beat Angola 3-1 in Bangui later in the day to stay two points behind in Group B.

DR Congo host the Central African Republic in their last group game in September needing only a point to be assured of a return to the finals, where they finished third in 2015.

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