Congo claims African Nations title, beats Mali 3-0

Congo won the African Nations
Championship title by convincingly beating
Mali 3-0 in the final in Rwanda on Sunday.
The Congolese claimed their second title after
winning the inaugural tournament in 2009.
The African Nations Championship is Africa’s
competition for home-based players.
Mechak Elia scored twice for Congo, once in
each half, and Jonathan Bolingi added a third
in the 74th minute to seal victory for coach
Florent Ibenge’s team at Amahoro Stadium in
Kigali.
The young Mali team missed a series of good
chances after starting strongly.
Elia turned the game in Congo’s favor with his
fierce long-range strike in the 29th. He added
a second in the 61st, skipping past Mali
goalkeeper Djigui Diarra to score with an
empty net. Bolingi made certain with just over
15 minutes to go.
“I am happy that we are the first team to win
the CHAN title twice now,” coach Ibenge said.
Sunday’s final was the culmination of a three-
week tournament featuring 16 teams and a
big test of organizational ability for host
nation Rwanda.
The East African country came through it well
with the tournament an overall success
despite a 15-minute power blackout in an
early group game between Cameroon and
Ethiopia.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame attended the
final. The country spent $24 million organizing
the tournament, the Rwandan government
said.
Ivory Coast earlier won the third-place match
with a 2-1 victory over Guinea, which had two
penalties saved by Ivorian goalkeeper Abdoul
Karim Cisse in a forgettable day for the
Guineans. Guinea also conceded an own goal
through defender Mohamed Youla to put Ivory
Coast 1-0 up.
Badie Gbagnon made it 2-0 before Guinea
scored a late consolation.
“Although we would have wished to win the
trophy, we are happy to finish third with
young players,” Ivory Coast coach Michel
Dussuyer said.
Ivory Coast is the current African champion
after winning the continent’s main soccer
tournament, the African Cup of Nations, last
year.
– AP

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