Algeria join South Africa in declaring their interest to replace hosts Libya for the 2013 African Nations Cup finals.
|Libya coach Marcos Paqueta is on cusp of achieving a great feat with his team [GALLO/GETTY]|
A heroic defensive display helped Libya force a 0-0 draw in Zambia on Saturday in their decisive Africa Cup of Nations Cup and in all likelihood earn themselves a place at next year’s finals.
The stalemate in Chingola ensured Zambia finished top of Group C by a single point from the unbeaten Libyans, who are likely to also qualify as one of the best-placed runners-up once the weekend’s final set of qualifiers are completed.
Libya’s 39-year-old goalkeeper Samir Aboud made two crucial first-half saves while there was a plethora of key second-half tackles to deny Zambia’s attackers.
Libya also saw the ball bounce back off their crossbar twice but might have scored themselves when Ahmed Zuway headed against the woodwork just after the hour mark.
Libya played all but one of their six-match qualifying programme away from the country after the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime forced them to schedule two ‘home’ matches at neutral venues.
Their achievement is made even more remarkable by the fact their domestic league has been suspended since March, denying most of their national team players regular competitive action.
But Nigeria miss out
Nigeria became the latest marquee name to miss out on qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Guinea.
Guinea finished top of Group B with 14 points from six matches, while Nigeria were second on 11 points. In the other match of the group, Ethiopia defeated bottom team Madagascar 4-2.
Two-time champions Nigeria last failed to qualify for the Nations Cup in 1986 when they were eliminated by Zambia.
Defending champions Egypt and four-time winners Cameroon have also failed to qualify for the African football showpiece to be staged in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in January.
Nigeria suffered a massive setback 10 minutes into the second half when Ismael Bangoura smashed home a rebound after a shot from distance came off the post.
The Super Eagles drew level in the 64th minute when Russia-based striker Obinna Nsofor fired home from inside the box after he was set up by substitute Ahmed Musa.
Nigeria then took the lead in the 71st minute when substitute Ikechukwu Uche shot home after he was set up by an Emmanuel Emenike header from inside the box.
Guinea then got the result they needed five minutes into stoppage time when Traore Ibrahima sneaked in a low shot beyond goalkeeper Dele Aiyenugba.