The race to replace Egypt as African Champions reaches its climax with the final round of qualifying for the 2012 Nations Cup this weekend
By Matthew Kenyon
BBC Fast Track
There have been a whopping 15 matches on Saturday as the final round of Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers produced a dramatic day of action. Scroll down for all the details of how the day unfolded - but here are the headlines:
QUALIFIED: Mali, Guinea, Zambia, Libya, Niger, Ghana, Angola, Tunisia SATURDAY'S BIGGEST LOSERS: Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Malawi. There are 5 matches on Sunday - we'll have all the details here.
FT Nigeria 2-2 Guinea
FT Ethiopia 4-2 Madagascar
FT Zambia 0-0 Libya
FT Mozambique 3-0 Comoros
FT Sudan 0-2 Ghana
FT Swaziland 0-1 Congo
FT Uganda 0-0 Kenya
FT Guinea-Bissau 0-2 Angola
FT Tunisia 2-0 Togo
FT Cape Verde 2-1 Zimbabwe
FT South Africa 0-0 Sierra Leone
FT Liberia 2-2 Mali
FT Egypt 3-0 Niger
FT Chad 2-2 Malawi
FT Gambia 1-1 Burkina Faso
1828 I'll leave you with a final cracking stat on a remarkable day for African football. "Of the last 9 African Cup of Nations winners, only Tunisia will be at the 2012 tournament in January" - it has been an extraordinary day.
1821 GOAL! Final game of the day comes from Burkina Faso who level things up with The Gambia to make it 1-1 in Banjul. That's a final score as well and we're about to wrap things up for the day.
1813 Reaction from Nigeria coach Samson Siasia to their exit from the tournament today. "We want to apologise to all Nigerians. We have not qualified for the Nations Cup and we take responsibility as a team," Siasia said. "We did our best, we dominated the game, we created chances, but we failed to take our chances and we gave up a last minute goal. "We understand the frustration of the fans because they love their team so much. But sometimes, football can be cruel."
1807 We've done some more maths - and can now say that Libya are through as one of the best runners-up. It's a brilliant performance from the north African side with everything else that has been going on in their country. Sudan are very close to making it in the final place available - but they will be denied if Morocco beat Tanzania tomorrow but but finish second to Central African Republic in group D and Algeria finish last. In other words Sudan are nearly but not quite there.
1756 GOAL! Yes there is still one game going on - and it's The Gambia who take the lead against Burkina Faso. Mamadu Danso is the man with the goal on 59 minutes. But the Burkinabe cannot be caught at the top of the group - although their qualification is subject to a legal challenge from Namibia.
1753 "I love South Africa but if you can't beat Sierra Leone at home, you probably don't deserve to qualify" says Jairav.
1748 The key words in CAF's rules are here: "In case of equality of points between two or more teams" followed by this explanation of who goes through - the team with the "greater number of points obtained in the matchesbetween the concerned teams". And since Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone are all "concerned teams" and Niger have the better points between the three, it's they who go through. SA celebrated but they hadn't done their maths.
1740 Not everyone is accepting CAF's analysis of Niger's qualification. "Fast Track BBC, the explanation CAF have given you is bogus. Mini tournament between 3 teams....are you being serious? Look up the rules for yourselves," says an anonymous texter in South Africa.
1727 I understand why South Africa have missed out on qualification, but our commentators in the studio don't and have been congratulating the team! They will come down to earth hard... Devastating. This is why head-to-head is a terrible way of settling ties...- Martin, Johannesburg
1725 Update from Monrovia - despite what I told you earlier, in fact Liberia got a late equaliser to make it 2-2 against Mali but that doesn't change the fact that Mali are through to the finals because they have a better head to head record over Cape Verde who also finish on 10 points.
1723 News from South Africa. The BBC's Solomon Izang Ashoms says "A lot of confusion and unhappiness here - wrong calculation".
1715 An explanation of why Niger are going through. We spoke to the Confederation of African Football who confirmed that because Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone all finished on 9 points the qualification was decided as a mini-league between the three of them - and that puts Niger on top. There are people who disagree - but that is the word from the body which runs the tournament!
1712 The BBC has spoken to the Confederation of African Football which confirms that Niger are through in the group. That will be devastation for Bafana Bafana - but a tremendous achievement for Niger who are through for the first time ever.
1708 Confusion over who qualifies from Group G. South Africa, Niger and Sierra Leone all finish on 9 points. Bafana Bafana think they're through so do Niger.
1702 RESULT Mali grabbed a late winner against Liberia - 2-1 it finishes in Monrovia and Mali are through to the finals.
1656 Into four minutes added time in Egypt, where the hosts lead 3-0.
1654 South Africa's squad and technical team are celebrating. They are dancing around the stadium and the crowd has gone wild. Are they set to be crest-fallen?
1651 FULL TIME South Africa 0-0 Sierra Leone. BBC Sport understands that NIGER have qualified despite their loss in Egypt. This is because Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone all have nine points in the group - but Niger have the better points tally when all results between those three sides are taken into account.
1650 FULL TIME Have Tunisia done enough? They've beaten Togo 2-0. Now they just have to wait for the final whistle in N'Djamena.
1649 GOALS! Disaster for Malawi. Chad equalise against them and then Tunisia extend their lead against Togo. Tunisia in pole position now.
1646 We think - having consulted our calculators - that Niger are looking good in their group, because if South Africa Sierra Leone ends goalless then in the mini-league to decide head-to-head the Mena are ahead.
1644 More thoughts from you on a remarkable day of qualifying. "What a sorry sight - the super eagles of Nigeria out. Pity that Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt are already out, with Tunisia looking shaky. The Nations Cup will not be the same with out these power houses." Obiora in Nigeria on SMS text message.
1642 Reaction from Uganda - coach Bobby Williamson says he's devastated but he would like to see out the rest of his contract to the 2014 World Cup. But he recognises that the final decision is up to the federation. And he didn't rule out a return for David Obua to the Cranes squad.
1640 GOAL! Malawi have restored their lead in Chad. 6 minutes left and that is bad news for Tunisia who need to better Malawi's result.
1635 GOAL! Zimbabwe grab one back against Cape Verde in Praia - it's 2-1 there now. But with Liberia v Mali still 1-1 it's advantage Mali.
1633 Sierra Leone go close through Sherrif Suma but it's tipped over the bar by Bafana Bafana keeper Itumelang Khune. Time running out in that one - the winner will go through assuming Niger are beaten by Egypt.
1629 GOAL! Chad equalise againstMalawi and that's great news for Tunisia because the Carthage Eagles are leading Togo and they would grab the automatic second placed spot from Group K.
1627 Niger change. Hassan Itoko is taken off, and Oliver Arouna comes on. Can he be the supersub Niger need?
1626 Niger are now pressing hard, but Egypt goalkeeper Shenaway denies fine play from Moussa and Kamilo.
1622 South Africa bring on central midfielder Reneilwe 'Yeye' Letsholonyane for Bernard Parker, while Sierra Leone replace striker Ibrahim Bangura with Sam Metzger.
1621 GOAL! Egypt score again, and now lead Niger 2-0. Mohamed Salah the scorer. In response, Niger - chasing their first Nations Cup qualification in history - switch to a 4-3-1-2 formation.
1620 South Africa's Siphiwe Tshabalala has the best chance of the game but shoots over the bar. Bafana Bafana are putting on the pressure. With Egypt leading, a win for either side in Nelspruit will take them through.
1619 Egypt make a change as Ahmed Hassan, earning his 177th cap, is replaced by Ahmed Ibrahim.
1617 GOAL! Egypt, fielding their Olympic side don't forget, take a 1-0 lead against Niger. Omar Mohsen fires home after 53 minutes.
1615 Egypt and Niger are off and running again in Cairo.
1610 Tunisia-Togo is also now in the second half.
1607 The second half in Nelspruit is underway with both South Africa and Sierra Leone knowing that to qualify, the next 45 minutes is crucial.
1605 They're into the second halves of the games in Liberia and Cape Verde. Cape Verde are leading Zimbabwe 2-0 and Liberia are drawing with Mali 1-1. That would put the two teams level at the top of their group - but Mali would have the advantage because of a better head-to-head record.
1601 FULL TIME Angola beat Guinea Bissau 2-0 and go through to the finals whilst consigning Uganda to another year of disappointment. The Cranes cannot grab one of the runners-up spots. Kenya are out too...
1600 More reaction to Nigeria's exit from the tournament: "The Super Eagles of Nigeria just couldn't live up to expectation technically and it brings to the fore the question? Is Samson Siasia good enough?" That from Robert in Nigeria.
1555 Halftime in Cairo - Egypt against Niger is 0-0.
1554 Final score. Uganda are out of the tournament - they're finishing in second place and they can't make as one of the runners-up. Kenya can't make it either.
1553 Desperately tense in Kampala where Uganda need to score against Kenya if they're to make it to the finals for the first time - because with the 0-0 scoreline plus Angola's 2-0 lead over Guinea Bissau will put Uganda out.
1551 "No Nigeria, Cameroon, Egypt. Democracy is truly coming to Africa no more qualification by size & name, but by hard work" says Eddmore Mireku from Accra, Ghana.
1548 Halftime in South Africa where Bafana Bafana are playing Sierra Leone and it's 0-0. In the other game in this group Egypt are drawing with Niger 0-0 and that set of results will take Niger through for the first ever time.
1546 The top stories so far. Ghana, Zambia, and Guinea are through to the finals - but Nigeria are out of the Nations Cup finals. No sympathy for the Super Eagles on the texts. "I want Nigeria to go out - the boys are proud and complacent" says Ebenezer from Lagos. A reminder that they finish second in their group and cannot even reach one of the two best-placed runners-up spots.
1541 GOAL! Malawi take the lead in Chad with a strike from Robert Ng'ambi on 35 minutes. That means they're matching Tunisia's position against Togo and that would put Malawi through.
1542 Egypt are being forced to defend by Niger in Cairo, with keeper Ahmed El Shenawi being the star of the show so far. If Niger win then they qualify.
1540 GOAL! Angola extend their lead in Guinea Bissau to 2-0 through Matteus Galiano. 10 minutes remaining so Uganda need to get the goal against Kenya because Angola are in pole position at the moment.
1536 With Egypt and Niger drawing in Cairo so far, a winner in Nelspruit between South Africa and Sierra Leone will make it to the finals, but there's no score yet. South Africa have been pressing though with a a shot going over the bar from Siphiwe Tshabala - the Leone Stars have yet to have a chance.
1531 News from Guinea Bissau where Angola are leading 1-0 but the home team are pressing. In the same group Uganda will go through with a win against Kenya but it's still 0-0 in Kampala and that would send Angola through.
1524 GOALS! Cape Verde are doing everything asked of them at home - they're 2-0 up against Zimbabwe. If they win and Mali slip up against Liberia then Cape Verde can make it.
1520 GOAL! Tunisia take the lead against Togo. Hicheri is the scorer on 19 minutes to put them in prime position to take the automatic second place in Group K ahead of Malawi.
1518 Lots more games well underway now - and Egypt's Ahmed Hassan has won his 177th international cap as he takes the field against Niger. Meanwhile it's 0-0 between South Africa and Sierra Leone in Nelspruit.
1513 Uganda have wasted excellent chances, but Kenya's Dennis Oliech was one-on-one with the Ugandan keeper only to fire over the bar.
1503 Kenya get second half underway in Kampala. No changes for either team.
1502 Guinea are through to the finals - Nigeria are out of the Nations Cup finals. The Super Eagles can no longer qualify for Equatorial Guinea and Gabon as one of the best runners-up. This is because their points tally means they trail both Sudan and Libya at present.
1500 GOAL! Guinea equalise against Nigeria. 2-2 is the score. A beautiful move from Guinea, finished off by Ibrahima Traore. Nigeria set to miss out even on a second place.
1500 More games kicking-off - they're underway in Nelspruit as South Africa take on Sierra Leone.
1457 Zambia qualify for the finals! 0-0 it finishes in Chingola against Libya - and the north Africans have to wait to see if they can make it as one of the best-placed second-placed teams.
1455 6 minutes of stoppage time being played in Abuja with Nigeria still needing another goal to make sure of their place in the finals. 2-1 they lead over Guinea but they need to win by 2 clear goals.
1449 It's all over in Khartoum and Ghana are through to the finals of the Nations Cup. Meanwhile it's 0-0 at halftime in Kampala between Uganda and Kenya. And it's the final score in Addis Ababa with Ethiopia beating Madagascar 4-2.
1443 Ghana still in front by two goals but Sudan are pressing. "With just over five minutes to go in regular time Sudan are pressing. The sub El Tayeb cuts in from the right, but his curler is just wide" says James Copnall.
1441 GOAL! Nigeria take the lead in Abuja! 2-1 against Guinea! It's Ikechukwu Uche with the strike! Two down one to go...time is ticking away though - only 7 or 8 minutes to go. Meanwhile it's still 0-0 between Zambia and Libya which would send Zambia through automatically.
1438 Desperate times in Abuja - the fans booed off Osaze Odemwingie and he's replaced by Ikechukwu Uche and then Guinea have a goal ruled out for offside.
1437 Some fans can simply sit back and enjoy the action this weekend. "I feel real sorry for Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Cameroon and all the "powerhouses" of African football. Times are a-changing hey. GO ZEBRAS" says Tumi in Botswana. Can you guess that Botswana are already through?!
1436 Ghana may be down to ten men but they're still creating chances against Sudan: "Ghana have had a couple of chances to wrap this up - in the latest Gyan is sent through but blazes over" reports the BBC's James Copnall at the stadium. 2-0 to the Black Stars still.
1432 GOAL! Ethiopia stretch their lead against Madagascar to 4-2, which is likely to confirm Madagascar as bottom placed team and would mean Nigeria would lose 6 points in the calculation for second placed.
1431 Nigeria's players are getting angry with the Guinea goalkeeper, who has been on the ground with an injury for a couple of minutes. Remember 1-1, which is the score at the moment, will see Guinea through. Nigeria need to score two more so they can't afford to waste time!
1428 GOAL! Nigeria fight back! Obinna Nsfor equalises against Guinea with a screamer from just outside the 18-yard box. One down two to go for the Super Eagles - it's 1-1!
1427 Uganda are dominating the game in Kampala against their great rivals Kenya reports the BBC's Nick Cavell in the stadium - and the sun has come out.
1424 Zambia are beginning to push forward in Chingola against Libya. James Chamanga hits the bar after being played through at close range. But shortly afterwards Libya's Zuway hits the bar at the other end but it's still 0-0.
1422 It's Ismael Bangura who has put Guinea in front in Abuja. "Shame on Super Eagles" says Naddy in Abuja on the texts.
1419 GOAL! Guinea take the lead against Nigeria! The Super Eagles chances of making it to the finals are hanging by a thread. To top the group and go through automatically they need to score three now. The fans have turned against Nigeria now - every touch is being booed by the fans. Meanwhile there's been a couple of goals in Addis with Ethiopia leading Madagascar 3-2.
1418 Nigeria miss another chance. This time, Osaze Odemwingie is profligate again.
1415GOAL! Adana Girma gives Ethiopia the lead for the first time, as they now move 2-1 up against Madagascar. This game is important with regard to whether the second-placed team in Group B will go through as one of the two best runners-up.
1414 Disaster for Ghana as centre-back Isaac Vorsah is sent off near the hourmark in Sudan. The Black Star is dismissed for kicking out at an opponent. Half an hour to hold on for the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists, who lead 2-0.
1411 Nigeria's Emmanuel Emenike misses a sitter, failing to connect when well-placed. The ball rolls past the post. Earlier Super Eagles in the pressure in the second half.
1410 Nigeria think they have won a penalty, but no decision given. It looked as though the referee pointed to the spot before changing his mind.
1408 Back in action in Maputo, where Mozambique lead Comoros 3-0.
1406 Zambia and Libya are back underway in Chingola.
1406 The players are back in field in Abuja for the second half of Nigeria-Guinea. The Super Eagles must score to have any chance of going to the Nations Cup - or risk failing to qualify for the first time since 1986. Sitting casually on the Nigeria bench - although playing no part - are Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu.
1403 Uganda kick off their vital Group J clash at home to Kenya in Kampala. The Cranes must win to be sure of going to the finals. Any slip-up and either Angola, playing in Guinea-Bissau, or Kenya could make it through.
1357 Ghana will go through to the finals as things stand at halftime in Khartoum against Sudan. They lead 2-0. The players are out and the anthems being played in Kampala for Uganda v Kenya. The place is jumping and they're about to kick-off.
1353 News from Ethiopia, where the hosts are taking on Madagascar in the same group as Nigeria Guinea. The result could have an effect on whether the second-placed side in this group go through - and it's 1-1 in Addis Ababa. Meanwhile it's halftime in Abuja - 0-0 in this crucial game and Nigeria are still falling short. Osaze Odemwingie and Emmanuel Emenike have both missed chances. And just to make Super Eagles fans even more nervous Guinea enjoyed solid possession in the run-up to the break.
1349 Halftime in Maputo - Mozambique lead Comoros 3-0. Meanwhile our man in Zambia, where Libya need a win to overhaul the hosts and qualify for the finals, says the north Africans are looking comfortable with the 0-0 scoreline so far - "a mid-tempo game with most of the action concentrated in the midfield" he says. Halftime 0-0 with Zambia going as close as they have done so far with Chris Katongo's shot being tipped over, just before the break.
1348 Not all Nigeria fans are giving up: "Nigeria is applying all the pressure on Guinea. I'm certain that if the momentum remain this way, the goals will surely come. Come on the Super Eagle!!! Okey Nwuke from Lagos
1344 Sudan are looking at desperate measures - they've brought on a second striker, a rare first half sub with El Tayeb coming on to bolster the home side against Ghana. And it's half-time in that one. 2-0 to the Black Stars - they're on their way unless something dramatic happens.
1342 GOAL! Mozambique stretch their lead to 3-0 over Comoros with a strike from Dominguez on 39 minutes. Ghana lead Sudan 2-0, but there are no goals in any of the other games - including in Abjua where Nigeria need to win against Guinea. 35 minutes gone there... 0-0.
1340 We're closing in on kick-off in the second set of games today - just 20 minutes away in Kampala and Bissau, where the Uganda v Kenya and Angola v Guinea Bissau will be played. They're the decisive games in Group J.
1335 Zambia think they should have had a penalty in Chingola against Libya - but the referee disagrees and the bench are furious! Still 0-0.
1332 Nigeria fans beginning to get nervous. This on the texts from Cosmond in Abuja: "Matthew, I foresee an upset in Abuja. The Super Eagles are playing like their feet are cast in lead." Will the nerves translate to the players? Around 25 minutes gone and the Super Eagles still have not got the goal they need...
1329 Nigeria are creating pressure around the Guinea goal but they haven't been able to get the breakthrough yet. Meanwhile Libya are creating a bit more against Zambia.
1327 News from Chingola is that Zambia have got the upper hand against Libya but they haven't been able to break through yet. More than 20 minutes gone in monst of the 1300 kick-offs - and just the goals in Sudan and Mozambique so far.
1323 GOAL! Now Mozambique stretch their lead against Comoros to 2-0. Dario Montero is the man this time.
1322 GOAL! Ghana are racing into the finals - it's 2-0 to the Black Stars now, with John Mensah turning in a corner from close range!
1317 Remember Nigeria need to beat Guinea 1-0 or by two clear goals to go through as group winners from pool B. But after 12 minutes or so in Abuja there's no goals to tell you about - when will the nerves start showing from the fans? By SMS: "Fly high Super Eagles of Nigeria! Time to restore your glory. From Yemi Adeleke - Dallas, Texas USA"
1315 Build-up to the big game in Group G later from the BBC's Solomon Izang Ashoms in Nelspruit: "2 hours before kick off for the game between South Africa and Sierra Leone at the Mbombela Stadium - thousands of football fans arriving in buses in their SA red and gold jersey, waving flags, and some in SA rugby jerseys in support of SA playing Australia in tomorrow's world cup quarter final. All you hear is the sound of vuvuzelas in and outside the stadium."
1313 GOAL! Mozambique take the lead in their game against Comoros. Neither team can qualify but the result could have an impact on the chances of the team finishing second in the group going through as a runner-up. It's Maninho with the strike after about 7 minutes.
1311 GOAL! First goal of the day as Ghana take the lead against Sudan! It's Asamoah Gyan, the BBC African Footballer of the Year, who gets the opener for the Black Stars - heading home from a free kick with 10 minutes played.
1302 They've kicked-off in Zambia and in Sudan and they're completing the formalities in Abuja - meanwhile we've got team news from Uganda v kenya, which is an hour away. Brian Umony replaces the absent David Obua for the hosts whilst Kenya are at full strength, with Dennis Oliech, McDonald Mariga and Victor Wanyama all in the line-up.
1300 Here we go - the race for a place at the finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon 2012 is in the home straight.
1257 We've got vuvuzelas going off across the continent - in Chingola where Zambia play Libya, in Kampala where it's Uganda against Kenya, in Abuja for Nigeria's game with Guinea and in Khartoum - where Ghana are playing their hosts Sudan in a winner-takes-all contest. Our reporter there says he and plenty others are being kept outside the ground still - we'll update you!
1250 10 minutes away from kick-off in some of the biggest games of the year. Nigeria are hosting Guinea in Abuja, needing to win 1-0 or by two goals if Guinea score. Loveday in Abuja texts +44 77 86 20 20 08 to say "The Super Eagles will need to take every chance that comes their way in the early stages, or have themselves to blame..." and Libya are in Zambia - where a win will take them through despite everything which has been going on in their country.
1222 Obua told our reporter that he left before meeting the President because of an injury and because he wasn't allowed to ask questions about the state of Ugandan football. He stressed he is 100 percent behind the team today.
1220 The BBC's Nick Cavell is in Kampala for the Uganda Kenya game and reports that it's a really great atmosphere. 16 buses full of Kenyan fans have made the trip - lots of vuvuzelas in evidence too. And Nick has spoken to Ugandan star David Obua,
who is missing the game because of a dispute.
1215 Two of the biggest games today are in Kampala, where Uganda need to beat their great rivals Kenya to make it to the finals for the first time since 1978, and in Abuja, where Nigeria need an emphatic win over Guinea to make sure of their place. The Super Eagles need to win 1-0 or by a two goal margin if Guinea score. Team news from Nigeria is that Mikel Obi is in the line-up despite his dispute with coach Samson Siasia but free-scoring striker Ikechukwu Uche is on the bench.
1204 Across the continent fans are flocking to the stadiums ahead of the big games - and they would do well to remember the mathematics of securing qualification, especially if their team is aiming for one of those elusive second place spots. Our
explanation of all the calculations is here.
1200 Hello and welcome to the BBC's live coverage of Saturday's action on the final weekend of qualifying for the 2012 Africa of Nations. There are 15 games today and with countries like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa still needing to secure their places in the finals, it promises to be a brilliant day of action. There are so many issues to be sorted today- you can get all the details in our previews
of groups A to F
groups G to K.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.