PRETORIA: Zambia became the first holders in 21 years to crash out in the first round of the subsequent African Nations Cup after failing to beat Burkina Faso in the concluding round of Group C matches in South Afrca.
Burkina Faso thus reached the quarter-finals along with Nigeria who beat Ethiopia 2-0. The Burkinabe topped the table on goal difference and will now play Tunisia or Togo, ensuring at least one surprise semi-finalist.
Zambia’s failure was the first holders’ such failure since Algeria in 1992 while Burkina Faso celebrated reaching the last eight for the first time since 1998.
Herve Renard, Zambia’s coach when they won the crown for the first time last year in Gabin, could not fault his players. He said: “They gave everything. At least It’s better to have won one title in your life than get to the quarter-final and crash out every time.”
Nigeria overcame strong resistance in Rustenbug from an Ethiopian side who finished with 10 men for the second time in three games. Two late penalties from Victor Moses set up Nigeria for a heavyweight clash with the Ivory Coast in Sunday’ quarter-finals.
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