OLYMPICS 2000 - The African Qualification

Zusammenfassung in Deutsch ]


Olympics 2000 Sydney -  
The African Qualification 

1) about the Olympic football tournament 
2) the African qualification: facts and background stories  

The Olympic soccer tournament 
At least since 1984 the Olympic football (soccer) tournament is one of the most exciting and underrated football competitions in the world. It often has changed its format, at the moment it is for teams with players up to 23 years old ('under 23'). At the final tournament three older players will be allowed to join the squad. 
This led to Brazil and Nigeria playing their last Olympics almost with their complete national team. Especially South Americans, Africans, and those Europeans with strong youth teams (usually Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Ireland etc.) are at their best in this age. Often they are able to form spirited teams without the problems that later occur out of stardom and professionalism. Also the gap to countries without big professional soccer is not that big at this stage: Australia, China, Japan & co are able to beat anybody. At 1996 Japan beat Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Aldair...(=Brasil). This time they will arrive with the new star Shinji Ono, a  talent as big as Nakata. 
The South American qualification that has taken place parallel to the African Cup Of Nations is already a legend: sensational football and buckets of goals. Brazil will be the attraction at Sydney again, with Ronaldinho, the new little Ronaldo (same name but different style), who already displayed his class at the Under 20 - world championship at Nigeria in 1999. The second place, hard fought, was finally taken by Chile on the expense of the talented Uruguay and regular favorites Argentina. Even Peru or Paraguay would have been an attraction.  

The African qualification 

> possible match reports on the new THE SHOT - LIVE. Check the document for scheduled coverages 
> you have match informations? Please post them, if they fit in, they will be included providing your name and a link back to you. Help build a valuable information source. [ Mail ] 

Knock-out rounds reduced the field to 12 teams. They were drawn into three groups with four teams each. The winners will qualify for Sydney, that are three teams. 
But African has a chance for a fourth place. The best runner-up will play a play-off against the winner of the Oceania qualification (Australia is automatically qualified as hosts, so it might be New Zealand). -> the race for fourth place 
The three groups contain the crème of African football and a couple of remarkable teams, of which some more words have to be said: 

Group 1 
Oct 99: Uganda-Zimbabwe 0:3 
Nigeria-Angola 2:0 
Angola-Uganda 3:1 
Zimbabwe-Nigeria 2:1 
Feb 2000: Zimbabwe-Angola 3:2 
(Feb 18/20) Uganda Nigeria 2:3 
(Feb 25/27) Nigeria-Uganda 1:0 Angola-Zimbabwe 4:2 
(Mar 10/12) Zimbabwe-Uganda 1:0, Angola-Nigeria 3:1 
(Mar 24/26) Uganda-Angola 0:1, Nigeria-Zimbabwe 4:0
Nigeria 6 12-7 12
Angola 6 13-9 12
Zimbabwe 6 11-11 12
Uganda 6 3-12 0
document not updated? you can check for latest results at the following sources: 
> Sportscheduler (African soccer news portal) 
> CAF Online (the offical source) 
> Dailysoccer (Reuters news)
The Olympic title holders Under 23 team has yet (standing after 2 group matches, mid-February) mirrored the Nigerian problems of inconsistency during the recent years. Now Jo Bonfrere will try to rescue the campaign against talented opponents which already have built a lead. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Nigeria had defeated Namibia 4-0 (home) + 2-3 (away) 
Clemens Westerhof, the former Nigerian coach, has built this team as a team of future. And it looks to be a talented one. Yet (standing after 2 group matches, mid-February) they have been perfect. Although Zimbabwe has not accomplished major successes at the adult level yet, the name should be considered as one of the top third of African football. And this particular team even looks better and will serve as basis for the squad which will try to qualify for the World Cup 2002 and the African Cup Of Nations in the same year. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Zimbabwe had defeated Mauritius 4-1 at home, before their opponents withdrew. 
This Ugandan team has been a factor and especially at home dangerous. They might not have a chance to qualify but maybe they will become a factor, taking points of one or another team. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Uganda had eliminated Zambia 1-0 (home) + 1-2 (away) 
After recent disappointments this team has re-ignited some hope. The group might prove too strong, but they will try to stay within reach of at least the second place. Maybe the results of the direct Nigeria-Zimbabwe encounters will create an opportunistic scenario for the Angolans. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Angola had defeated Botswana 4-2 (home) + 4-0 (away) 

Group 2 
Oct 99: Ghana-South Africa 2:2 
Guinea-Cameroon 0:3 
South Africa-Guinea 3:1 
Dec 99: Cameroon-Ghana 2:1* 
*= a replay of the 2:2 draw in October which could not be played full 90 minutes because of fading light 
(Feb 18/20) Ghana-Guinea 2:0 
South Africa-Cameroon 2:0 
(Feb 25/27) Guinea-Ghana 1:2,   
Cameroon-South Africa 2:0 
(Mar 10/12) South Africa-Ghana 1:0, Cameroon-Guinea 2:1 
(Mar 24/26) Ghana-Cameroon 0:3,   
Guinea-South Africa 1:4
Cameroon 6 12-4 15
South Africa 6 12-6 13
Ghana 6 7-9 7
Guinea 6 4-16 0
document not updated? you can check for latest results at the following sources: 
> Sportscheduler (African soccer news portal) 
> CAF Online (the offical source) 
> Dailysoccer (Reuters news)
South Africa 
The South Africans take the Olympic qualifiers very important. It is reflected upon a lot in press and for the next games (standing after 2 group matches, mid-February) they will be able to field returner Benni McCarthy and the clashes with the West African giants in their group. 
In the preliminary knock-out round South Africa had defeated Togo 2-2 (away) + 1-0 (home) 
THE force in youth football and leaving out Nigeria also the most successful at Olympic games for Africa in the 90's. In 1992 they won Olympic Bronze and in 1996, after eliminating Italy, they lost in one of the best matches of the tournament, in quarter-finals against Brazil 2:3. But this time it seems as difficult to qualify as to win the whole tournament, drawn with two top teams in top form in one group. Even with prominent names like Peter Ofori-Quaye or Christian Gyan. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Ghana had defeated Tanzania 2-1 (home) + 2-1 (away) 
The new generation is also reflected in this all strong Under 23 side. Like Ghana prominent names from the new crowned African champions team have already played. The success of the indomitable lions at GhanaNigeria 2000 will even more boost the confidence of the Central Africans. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Ghana had defeated Congo 5-0 (home) + 0-0 (away) 
A traditionally strong force from West Africa, with recent results on the adult level that did not match their talent. But on youth level they have done better. Only the group looks a bit too much too leave them a chance. 
In the preliminary knock-out round Ghana had defeated Gabon 4-1 (home) + 1-0 (away) 

Group 3 
Oct 99: Tunisia-Côte d'Ivoire 1:1 
Morocco-Egypt 1:0 
Egypt-Tunisia 2:1 
Côte d'Ivoire - Morocco 4:1 
(Feb 18/20) Côte d'Ivoire-Egypt 3:3 Tunisia-Morocco 2:4 
(Feb 25/27) Egypt-Côte d'Ivoire 2:1, Morocco-Tunisia 2:0 
(Mar 10/12) Côte d'Ivoire-Tunisia 3:1, Egypt-Morocco 1:1 
(Mar 24/26) Morocco-Côte d'Ivoire 2:1, Tunisia-Egypt 0:3
Morocco 6 11-8 13
Egypt 6 11-7 11
Côte d'Ivoire 6 13-10 8
Tunisia 6 5-15 1
document not updated? you can check for latest results at the following sources: 
> Sportscheduler (African soccer news portal) 
> CAF Online (the offical source) 
> Dailysoccer (Reuters news)
Côte d'Ivoire 
The team to watch: It consists mainly of the teenage team of ASEC Abidjan, who have been the sensation oof African football in 1999: After winning the African club championship in December 1998, the club dissolved the squad and replaced them with a group of players which had been educated since about 5 years ago in a club associated football school. To the surprise of many the group again made it under the best four of African clubs. This long hand build up also has served to build the team for the Olympic qualifiers and despite playing older opponents they have impressed yet. Their opponents are all a similar style: After dominating Algeria in the preliminary play-off they will now have to beat the elite of North Africa: Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt. 
Preliminary round: Algeria (3:1 away, 1:1 home) 
The African cup of Nations has shown the talent of Jaziri and Zitouni. Tunisias campaign is a postered image of their usual ambiguity: a small country with limited player ressources (in number) but a very good football infrastructure compensating for it. Slicing out a particular age group those two factors become even more emphasized.  
In the preliminary round they escaped a possible defeat by Senegal: After drawing 1:1 at home, they won 2:1 at Dakar. 
A new generation tries to make their mark: Most prominent name for Europeans is the VfB Stuttgart talent striker Hosny. The whole team looks quite good but only the upcoming matches against Côte d'Ivoire will be a measurement how far the team has developed. 
In the preliminary round they have defeated Mali (1-1 away, 3-1 home), a country with some of the strongest youth teams at the continents recent competitions. 
The team has served as an alternative to the first team as it contains home based players. But it looks as if Morocco, more like European teams, grows with age: This team plays some nice football but has not done much harm in their first away game at Abidjan. 
In the preliminary round they have profited of a loack of money of their opponents DR Congo, who did not show up for the return leg at Morocco after winning the first leg 2:1. 

Race for best second place (will reach play-off against New Zealand): 
Cameroon 6 12-4 15
South Africa 6 12-6 13
Morocco 6 11-8 13
Nigeria 6 12-7 12
Angola 6 13-9 12
Zimbabwe 6 11-11 12
Egypt 6 11-7 11
Côte d'Ivoire 6 13-10 8
Ghana 6 7-9 7
in bold and red: those teams win their groups and are qualified for Sydney 
in bold and blue: this team is best runner-up and will play an extra playoff match against New Zealand 
in bold and black: those teams finish second in their group but are eliminated

 [ Football in Africa ]  [ World Cup 2002 ]  [ Champions League ] [ African Nations Cup 2000 ]  [ African Nations Cup 1998 
The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net: [ HOME ] 
Football in: [ 2010 ]  [ Today ]  [ Germany ]  [ Africa ]  [ Asia ]  [ Internet ]  [ Universe ]  [ Archives ] 
© The Shot That Passed Right Through The Net. [ Mail ]