Zimbabwe was able to get past Liberia in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday, thanks to an impressive hat trick by Zimbabwe’s captain Knowledge Musona. Musona assumed the captaincy after Willard Katsande, who captained the squad during this year’s Nations Cup, was dropped from the roster. As a result, Musona needed to make his mark, and he did so with emphasis on Sunday. His first strike came in the 24th minute, giving Zimbabwe a one-goal lead at halftime. Musona’s second came in the 50th minute, and his third came in the 63rd minute, all but guaranteeing the victory over Liberia. This marks the first hat trick by a Zimbabwean since Peter Ndlovu in 2004. Zimbabwe is hoping to earn its fourth Africa Cup of Nations final.
The 12 group winners and the three highest ranked runners up will qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, in addition to host country Cameroon, who are already guaranteed a slot in the tournament. With the win, Zimbabwe is atop Group G, tied with the Democratic Republic of Congo, who defeated the Republic of the Congo three goals to one. Cedric Bakambu of Congo-Kinshasa opened the match with a goal in the 20th minute, while Congo-Brazzaville’s Thievy Bifouma scored an equalizer just before the end of the first half. Bakambu got a second goal in the 56th minute to push his squad ahead, and Congo-Kinshasa secured their victory with a 90th minute goal off the boot of Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba.
Another notable result from Sunday play included a 5-0 destruction of Ethiopia by Ghana, being led by coach Kwesi Appiah, who’s beginning his second stint at the head of the national team. Ghanaian captain Asamoah Gyan, John Boye, Ebenezer Ofori, and two goals from Raphael Dwamena all contributed to putting points on the scoreboard.