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HomeAfricaIvory CoastAFCON 2023 Group E Permutations: What South Africa, Mali, Tunisia Must Do...

AFCON 2023 Group E Permutations: What South Africa, Mali, Tunisia Must Do To Qualify for the Last 16

Joel Reyes

January 22, 2024 at 9:23 AM

  • Mali lead Group E after recording one win and one draw in their first two matches
  • South Africa and Namibia hold the second and third spots with three points each
  • Tunisia still have a shot at advancing despite having just one point in the tournament

The second round of matches has been completed in Group E.

All four teams still have a shot at advancing to the last 16 of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Sports Brief looks at the permutations in Group E ahead of Matchday 3.

AFCON 2023, South Africa, Namibia, Mali, Tunisia
Namibia’s forward #9 Bethuel Muzeu fights for the ball with South Africa’sThabang Monare at AFCON 2023. Image: Fadel Senna.
Source: Getty Images

AFCON 2023 Group E Permutations

The top two spots in Group E are still up for grabs for all four teams heading into the final round of fixtures.

Mali currently hold the top spot with four points after recording a 1-1 draw against Tunisia.

The Eagles are not assured of first place in the group, though, with South Africa and Namibia trailing them by just one point.

Bafana Bafana climbed to second place after beating the Brave Warriors 4-0. Themba Zwane starred in that contest, scoring a brace, per the BBC.

Mali only need a point against Namibia to guarantee a spot in the round of 16. The Eagles will secure first place in Group E if they beat the Brave Warriors in their group finale.

For Namibia to reach the last 16, they will need to beat Mali in their group match. A draw may be enough for the Brave Warriors as well if Tunisia manage to beat South Africa in the other game.

In such a scenario, Namibia and Tunisia will be tied in second place at four points each. The Brave Warriors hold the tie-breaker, though, following their win over Tunisia in their group opener.

For South Africa to advance to the last 16, they will need to beat Tunisia in their group finale. That will guarantee them either the top spot in Group E (if Mali fail to beat Namibia) or second place (if Mali record a win over Namibia).

A draw result may be enough for Bafana Bafana as well to grab a spot in the round of 16.

The four best third-placed teams at AFCON 2023 will secure spots in the knockout round. Having four points may be enough for South Africa to seal their passage to the next round.

The Eagles of Carthage still have a shot at advancing to the round of 16 as the second-placed team in Group E. They are currently in fourth place with one point scored, per ESPN.

Tunisia will need to beat South Africa in their final group match and hope for Mali to beat Namibia.

Current AFCON Group E table





Goal Difference








South Africa


















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Who is Bafana star Themba Zwane?

Sports Brief recently reported on the football career of Themba Zwane.

He is one of the greatest players of the Mamelodi Sundowns, leading them to numerous PSL titles.

He first played for Bafana Bafana in 2014.