By Mark Gleeson
CAPE TOWN, March 24 (Reuters) – Burkina Faso drew 0-0 away to Uganda on Wednesday to book their place at next year’s African Cup of Nations finals as they secured a top-two spot in their qualifying group.
Burkina Faso became the sixth country to qualify, joining holders Algeria, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia, who secured their berths last November, and hosts Cameroon.
Burkina Faso advanced to nine points in Group B, one ahead of Uganda and a further point clear of Malawi.
But with Malawi to host Uganda in their last qualifier on Monday, Burkina are guaranteed a top-two finish, irrespective of the result of their last qualifier at home to bottom-placed South Sudan.
It will be the Burkinabe’s 12th appearance at the finals. Malawi kept their chances alive as they won 1-0 away to South Sudan on Wednesday. The game was played in Khartoum, the capital neighbouring Sudan, because the stadium in Juba is still under construction.
A 4-0 win for Ethiopia over Madagascar moved them top of Group K, although they must still go away to the Ivory Coast in their last qualifier in a tight group.
Amanuel Gebremichael, captain Getaneh Kebede and Abubakar Nassir scored in the first half and Shimeles Bekele tapped home for the fourth late in the game in Bahir Dar.
A 2-0 win for Sudan away at Sao Tome e Principe put them level atop Group C with Ghana and South Africa, who clash in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Mohamed Abdel Rahman and Saifeldin Bakhit scored either side of the interval.
Byiringo Lague’s 67th-minute winner ensured Rwanda moved into second place in Group F as they beat Mozambique 1-0 in Kigali.
The final two rounds of the preliminaries for the next Cup of Nations sees matches played every day from Wednesday through to next Tuesday, finalising the 24-team field for January’s tournament. The top two teams in each group, except that involving Cameroon, qualify. (Editing by Ed Osmond)
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