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Taifa Stars make it four East African teams in Afcon after thrashing Uganda

Dar es Salaam, Sunday @PeopleSports

Tanzania ensured East Africa will have four teams in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) after thrashing Uganda 3-0 in the final group match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.

Taifa Stars went into the match needing victory to end their 39-year wait for an appearance at the high table of Africa’s football and delivered just that to the delight of the fans who filled the 60,000-seater stadium.

Tanzania now join Kenya, Uganda and Burundi as the East African sides to have qualified for the continental tournament, a first one in history for the region. 

Meanwhile, the death of a fan overshadowed Zimbabwe’s qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday, following the final matches of Group G.

An official at Zimbabwe’s FA confirmed that a supporter had been killed in a stampede outside the national stadium in Harare before kick-off in their crucial match against Congo Brazzaville.

Despite the tragedy, the qualifier went ahead as scheduled with Zimbabwe winning 2-0 to seal their place at Egypt 2019.

The Democratic Republic of Congo also qualified from the group with a 1-0 win over Liberia in Kinshasa. Zimbabwe finished top of Group G with DR Congo second, two points adrift.

Liberia and Congo Brazzaville, who were both in contention at the start of the day, were eliminated. With fans clamouring to get inside the stadium in Harare, Zimbabwe’s players knew what qualification for the 2019 Nations Cup meant to the Warriors’ supporters. Khama Billiat, who plays for Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a well-struck free-kick to put Zimbabwe 1-0 up.

His Belgium-based captain Knowledge Musona added a second 16 minutes later, pouncing on a defensive error to make it 2-0 to the hosts. Congo Brazzaville tried to get back into the match but could not overcome a powerful and resilient Warriors team.

The victory makes it back-to-back Nations Cup appearances for Zimbabwe who played at Gabon 2017 after an 11-year absence from the finals. DR Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo sealed their place in Egypt with a 1-0 win over Liberia in Kinshasa. In a match where nerves were tested, Liberia were the team heading to the finals until the 52nd minute when China-based Cedric Bakambu made it 1-0 to the hosts.

That put DR Congo second in the table, behind Zimbabwe, and relegated Liberia to third place.

Liberia, who had requested for this fixture to be moved away from DR Congo because of concerns over Ebola, brought on Newcastle’s under-23 midfielder Mohammed Sangare in the second half as he made his international debut.  -BBC

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