AFCON 2024 Matchday 12 roundup: Ivory Coast, DR Congo, South Africa and Namibia clinch Round of 16 spots

The group stages of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) finally came to an end on Wednesday January 24.

Interestingly, although there were four matches played in Matchday 12, it turned out to be the lowest-scoring Matchday since the tournament started.

As a matter of fact, at the end of Matchday 11, no game had ended goalless. However, three of four games played on Wednesday featured no goals, and there was only one goal scored in Matchday 11.

Wednesday's AFCON 2024 talking points

AFCON 2024 Matchday 11 roundup
Sebastien Desabre, head coach of DR Congo celebrates during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Tanzania and DR Congo at Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on 24 January 2024 – Photo by Icon Sport

Goalless draw enough for Namibia

Namibia squared off against Mali on Wednesday, in a game they desperately needed points.

Collin Benjamin's men had three points and a -3 goal difference, and would need a positive result in order to reach the Round of 16.

Mali, on the other hand, had already qualified for the knockout stages, and were looking to clinch the top spot in Group E.

A stalemate turned out to be beneficial for both teams, as Namibia advanced to the next round while Mali finished at the top of the group.

Tunisia's AFCON 2024 campaign comes to an end

Tunisia met South Africa's Bafana Bafana in their final group game. The 2004 champions earned one point from their first two matches, and needed a victory in order to advance to the Round of 16.

However, things didn't turn out too well for Jalel Kadri's troops, as they were inefficient in front of goal. In fact, Tunisia did not register a single shot on target in the second half, in a match they desperately needed to win.

A draw was enough for Bafana Bafana, who finished in second-place with four points.

Tanzania's AFCON woes continue

It's worth mentioning that this is Tanzania's third appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, and they crashed out in the group stages the first two times.

However, Adel Amrouche's men had a golden chance to advance to the knockout stages for the first time in history. They just needed to beat DR Congo on Wednesday.

In 90 minutes of play, Tanzania registered four shots, and none of those went on target.

On the other hand, DR Congo needed at least one point, so they were happy to sit back and defend. Sebastien Desabre's troops have qualified for the last 16 after three consecutive draws.

Hakim Ziyech sends Ivory Coast to Round of 16

It's worth mentioning that Ivory Coast needed Morocco to beat Tanzania in order to claim a spot in the Round of 16.

While Morocco had already qualified for the next round, they had not clinched the top spot in Group F.

In contrast, Chipolopolo were still hunting for a place in the last 16, and needed a positive result from Wednesday's clash with Morocco.

Things didn't go as well as Zambia had hoped, as they fell behind a few minutes before half-time. In spite of their best efforts, Avram Grant's men were unable to restore parity.

After Morocco's victory, the Elephant of Ivory Coast booked a place in the knockout stages at Zambia's expense.

Play of the day

Our play of the day is centred on Hakim Ziyech's goal against Zambia.

What's next?

With the conclusion of the group stages, there will be a two-day break, after which the Round of 16 will start on Saturday January 27.

Angola will take on Namibia by 6 pm WAT, followed by Nigeria's mouthwatering clash with Cameroon by 9 pm.

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Kelechi Udoka

Kelechi is an avid Enyimba fan who enjoys writing about the beautiful game. He has written thousands of articles for a few publications over the years.