Winless Zambia, Cape Verde still alive at African Cup
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AP) — Two of the surprise teams from the last two African Cup tournaments still have a chance to advance to this year’s quarterfinals despite being winless so far.
Zambia won its only African Cup of Nations title in 2012, but has just one point from two Group B matches this time. In 2013, when the 16-team continental tournament moved to odd-numbered years, Cape Verde unexpectedly reached the knockout round in its debut but has only earned two points in Equatorial Guinea.
On Monday, the two teams will meet in Ebebiyin with the winner having a chance to advance.
“It’s not how much you fall, but how strong do you get up ... and move forward,” Zambia coach Honour Janza said. “And that’s what Zambia is going to do in the next game, it’s how we go forward from the last match.”
Tunisia, which leads the group with four points, will face Congo in Bata. Congo also has two points and could advance with a win.
The winner of the group will face the second-place team from Group A in Ebebiyin on Saturday. Whichever teams finishes second will next face the Group A winner on the same day in Bata.
The Tunisians are the only team to earn a victory in the group so far, but they could still be eliminated with a loss to Congo depending on the result in the other match.
“Football is not statistics,” Tunisia goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi said. “The next game will be so important for us to get through.”
Cape Verde should have some confidence heading into its final group match because the team from the island nation finished first in its qualifying pool ahead of Zambia. Each team won at home, but Cape Verde had already qualified for the final tournament when it lost in Zambia.
“I think we know about their quality and they know about us,” Cape Verde midfielder Toni Varela said. “During the two games that we have played against them, we played against a good technical team, a lot of individual quality, so we are prepared.”