AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS: Namibia reach knockout stages for first time but Tanzania crash out after stalemate

Namibia 0-0 Mali

Namibia picked up a historic 0-0 draw against Mali to progress to the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages for the first time. Collin Benjamin’s side will now face Angola for a place in the quarter-finals. The news was not as good for Tanzania, though, as they looked to emulate Namibia’s heroics. A goalless stalemate with DR Congo meant they finished bottom of Group F.

Namibia progressed to the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history after a 0-0 draw with Mali.
The Brave Warriors head through to the last 16 as one of the competition’s best third-placed teams, thanks to accumulating four points from three matches.
Their 1-0 victory over Tunisia in their opening group game was their first-ever victory at the tournament, and proved pivotal in qualification.
The stalemate against Mali was a backs-to-the-wall performance from Collin Benjamin’s side, who enjoyed only 33% possession and managed just one shot on target.
“I’m honestly just proud to be Namibian, and proud of the players,” the manager said.
“I’m proud of their character and proud of their hunger. It’s huge, what happened today.”
Namibia had only qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals on three occasions before this one, but will now face Angola for a place in the quarter-finals.
The draw also means Mali go through as group winners for the third tournament running, although they have not progressed to the last eight since 2013.
Their reward is a quarter-final tie with Burkina Faso on January 30.
Tanzania 0 - 0 DR Congo
Tanzania were hoping to follow in Namibia’s footsteps by also reaching the knockout stages for the first time.
They knew a win against DR Congo in their final group game would be enough to secure their passage to the last 16.
However, Hemed Morocco’s side, one of the lowest ranked teams in the tournament, found no way past a stubborn opposition defence.
By holding on for a point, DR Congo – who last won the AFCON in 1974 – finished second in the group with a record of three draws from as many matches.
They will now play Egypt for a place in the quarter-finals.