4th September 2016
Stade de Kegue, Lome, Togo
Togo v. Djibouti
Djibouti’s final qualifier for the Africa Cup of Nations sees them travel to Lome to face a Togo side that are still very much in with a shout of qualification. That is in stark contrast to Djibouti who sit last in the four team group with no points and just one goal to show for their efforts.
That came in their opening match when losing 8-1 to Tunisia. That defeat brought about a few changes in personnel and a slightly more robust approach, but the end results were the same. Defeat followed defeat.
This match will mark a year to the day since Djibouti faced Togo at home in a match they lost 2-0; a match that sealed Djibouti’s fate in descending to the bottom rung of Fifa’s meritocracy. Having gone behind in only the 5th minute, the hosts were effectively never in the contest, although the score didn’t reach the horrific heights of the Tunisian debacle.
The return in Lome sees Togo in need of a win to give themselves a chance of progressing to the Finals. They site two points behind both Loberia and Tunisia, but with those two playing each other on Sunday, there is the opportunity for Togo to leapfrog one of them to have a chance at a playoff spot. Automatic qualification is also still a possibility should Liberia and Tunisia draw their match, and then it would come down to goal difference in matches between those three.
What it won’t come down to is how many Togo can smash past Djibouti, so that is perhaps the only saving grace for our hapless heroes to cling to. Defeat seems likely, but at least Togo only need to do enough to secure their three points without the need to put a hatful past Djibouti. The possibility of Djibouti being able to stifle Togo to such an extent that a point becomes a possibility seems unlikely in the extreme. Hope springs eternal, as they say, but don’t count on it.
Group One Standings: