Another excellent start for COSAFA reps as Angola hold Algeria to 1-1 draw

* After Mozambique drew 2-2 with 7-time champions Egypt and Cape Verde’s triumph over Ghana

* Namibia open their campaign against Tunisia today together with South Africa against Mali

Maravi Express

Angola’s striker, Cristovao Paciencia rescued a vital point for his side after converting from the spot to hold Algeria to a 1-1 stalemate at Bouake’s Stade De La Paix in their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023 Group C opener against the former champions on Monday evening.


The result by the Confederation of Southern African Football Association (COSAFA) representatives comes after fellow regional nation Mozambique’s Mozambique’s impressive performance against Egypt that ended 2-2 as well as Ghana’s shock 1-2 defeat to Cape Verde on Sunday.

COSAFA represented by six nations and the others are South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Tanzania.

Cape Verde and Mozambique are in Group B alongside record winners Egypt, who are hunting a record-extending eighth continental crown and renew hostilities with Ghana in a repeat of the 2010 final which the Pharaohs won late.

Zambia and Tanzania are together with Morocco and DR Congo in Group F while South Africa and Namibia are in Group E alongside Tunisia and Mali.


CAFonline reports that Tunisia, the 2019 champions, went into the tie as favourites on paper and unsurprisingly pinned their opponents into their own half from the opening whistle.

As early as the 6th minute, Fares Chaibi was the first to show intent of attack when he received a cross from Youcef Belaili but his volleyed effort went narrowly wide.

Belaili, who was a constant threat to the Angolan defense almost opened the scoring charts in the 6th minute after doing well to cut in from the left to unleash a powerful strike that was fisted away by Cipriano.

The Desert Foxes were eventually rewarded for their relentless attacks after a lobbed ball from the back went over Kialonda Gaspar for 2019 title hero, Baghdad Bounedjah to comfortably slot it into the bottom left corner.


Interestingly Bounedjah scored Algeria’s opening goal in their first match of the 2019 edition against Kenya, where they went on to win the title Egypt.

Coming back from the recess, Angola’s game plan was to get balls into the danger area – a tactic that paid dividends in the 68th minute when substitute, Cristovao Paciencia converted from the spot kick after he was fouled in the box by Nabil Bentaleb.

The evenly contested encounter concluded with both sides sharing the spoils and their next against Burkina Faso for Algeria while Angola will face Mauritania on Saturday.

Meanwhile, South Africa open their Group E campaign against the Eagles of Mali this evening being coached by Hugo Broos, who  guided Cameroon to their fifth AFCON title in 2017.

Hugo Broos

He told CAFonline that the feeling of lifting Africa’s most sought-after trophy is a fantastic feeling that one would want to experience more than once.

Going into the competition with a squad comprising mostly of locally based players, Broos is hoping to enjoy the same success with Bafana Bafana that he did with a Cameroon side that was given no chance back in 2017.

“It’s the feeling I had six years ago with Cameroon,” the 71-year-old coach told CAFonline. “Nobody saw Cameroon as a favourite.

“When you win it once, you want to win it twice. It’s fantastic feeling winning the AFCON. I have said it before that I am European but the intensity and the joy and everything around winning an AFCON is unique.

“It’s really unique so it was fantastic experience six years ago and you can be sure that I dream to do it for the second time.”


The Bafana Bafana mentor did, however, caution that it will not be an easy task and they would have to get the first assignment out of the way when they face Mali, who are expected to have a huge crowd backing with the nation being just on the border of Korhogo.

“Saying it is much easier than doing it so let us start tomorrow and let us do our best to see where we will arrive.”

Commenting on travelling to an international competition with locally based players, Broos said it may give other teams who have players abroad a slight advantage but it does not necessarily make them an easy target.

“I think that players who play in other countries have the advantage because the leagues are at a higher level but that doesn’t mean our team isn’t strong.

“It is not having players abroad that makes a strong team. We have to show our strength even though majority play at home”, Broos said.

An exception that Broos has is through reigning CAF Interclub-player of the Year, Percy Tau — who is plying his trade at Egypt’s Al Ahly.

Percy Tau

On his part, Mali coach, Eric Chelle said the fact that most South African players play domestically is not a disadvantage — on the contrary, he believes that this could work to South Africa’s advantage.

The last AFCON meeting between the two sides was when South Africa were hosts in 2013 where the Eagles edged them on penalties during the quarter-finals.

They met again in 2019 during a friendly in South Africa where Bafana Bafana emerged as 2-0 victors and Chelle told CAFonline: “They all play in the same league and so we respect this team as they are former winners of the competition.

“They may not have a lot of players overseas but the fact that they play in the same league means that they know each other very well, which is a great advantage in such a competition. They are not to be underestimated.

“South Africa has been participating for several years in AFCON. We don’t take them lightly and they have actually won the AFCON. We are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, but we have also prepared well for this match, ” said the former defender.—Info from CAFonline

Mali coach Chelle