Senegal coach quits after flop

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The Independent Online

Angola and Tunisia are within a point of qualification for the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup after wins on Sunday.

Angola upset the group favourites Senegal 3-1 and later in the evening Tunisia beat South Africa by the same score in the Group D matches in Tamale.

Tunisia and Angola meet on Thursday in Tamale, needing only to draw to eliminate the other two sides in the group from the tournament.

Sunday's results have already taken their toll on Senegal, whose Polish coach Henryk Kasperczak resigned yesterday a day after the defeat by Angola. Senegal had been touted as one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Mali will refuse to allow their striker Frédéric Kanouté to attend the African Footballer of the Year awards ceremony on Friday if they qualify for the quarter-finals here in Ghana. Mali need a point from their final Group B match against Ivory Coast in Accra today to reach the last eight.

The Mali coach, Jean-François Jodar, said yesterday that he would not let Kanouté go to the event, which will be held in Lomé, Togo, 48 hours before the quarter-finals begin on Sunday, even though the striker is one of three candidates shortlisted for the award, along with Ghana's Michael Essien and his Chelsea team-mate, the Ivory Coast captain, Didier Drogba, who won the title last year.

"It is crazy to organise a function in the middle of the tournament like this. If the event was held in Accra we would let him go for the night, but to have to travel to Togo, attend the ceremony and then fly back again disrupts our preparations and tires out the player," Jodar said.

Drogba, who will earn his 50th cap against Mali, is determined to improve on a return of 31 goals at international level. The striker, who steered his country to the final of the last African Nations Cup in 2006, has achieved a remarkable average of 0.6 goals per game for his country since his first cap against South Africa in 2002.

Drogba scored his first goal of the tournament in Ghana last Friday against Benin in the 4-1 win that ensured the Elephants became the first side to reach the quarter-finals. "I'd been waiting since the first game to score, so it was very nice to get on the score sheet. I was very happy to get that behind me," he said.

The Ivorians will make sure of top place in Group B with a draw against Mali and so probably avoiding a tie with Ghana in the last eight.

Today at the Nations Cup

* GROUP B

Nigeria v Benin, 17.00, Sekondi. Live on Eurosport and BBCi.

Ivory Coast v Mali, 17.00, Sekondi. Live on Eurosport and BBCi.

Top scorers

3 goals Alloudi (Mor), Eto'o (Camer), Manucho (Angola), Rabo (Eg).

2 goals Aboutreika (Eg), Brendell (Nam), Feindouno (Guinea), Job (Camer), Muntari (Gh), Dos Santos (Tun), Zidan (Eg)

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