Finally, it's about to go down.
After hundreds of hours of qualifying, the field is set for the 2017 African Nations Cup. Ghana joins 15 others on January in the hope of not just getting to the final, but winning it after more than 33 years of hurt.
Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda on Sunday filled the final five 2017 Africa Cup of Nations places that were up for grabs.
They will join Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Zimbabwe, all of whom qualified before the final round, and hosts Gabon at the tournament next January.
On a dramatic final day of qualifying, Togo scored five goals, DR Congo and Tunisia four each and Burkina Faso won with a goal nine minutes into stoppage time.
But no celebrations could match those of Uganda, whose last of five appearances at the African football showpiece was in 1978, when they finished runners-up to hosts Ghana.
Tunisia won Group A by trouncing Liberia 4-1 in Monastir with a Wahbi Khazri goal after only five minutes setting the tone.
Liberian Mark Paye cut the deficit to 2-1 on 71 minutes only for the Carthage Eagles to respond with two more goals in the following six minutes.
Togo hammered whipping boys Djibouti 5-0 in Lome in the same mini-league to claim one of two places reserved for the runners-up with the most points.
The Togolese shared second place in the runners-up standings with Benin and Ethiopia, but had a vastly superior goal difference.
Komlan Agbegniadan rounded off the rout with two goals in the final four minutes for the Sparrowhawks, who are coached by veteran Frenchman Claude Le Roy.
DR Congo took control in the second half to whip Central African Republic 4-1 in a top-of-the-table Group B clash and finish five points clear.
Jonathan Bolingi and Jordan Botaka scored during the final quarter after the visitors had pulled one goal back through Eloge Enza-Yamissi to trail 2-1 on 62 minutes in Kinshasa.
A Banou Diawara goal after 99 minutes in Ouagadougou gave Burkina Faso a 2-1 win over Botswana in a match that produced three red cards, two of them to the visitors.
The last-gasp victory gave the Stallions top place in Group D on the head-to-head rule over Uganda, who qualified as the best runners-up.
Teenager Farouk Miya scored 35 minutes into the first half to give Uganda a 1-0 win over the Comoros in front of a capacity 45 000 Kampala crowd.
But the dominant Cranes wasted several chances to extend the lead and ease visible tension on the pitch and in the packed stands.
Equatorial Guinea, 2015 Cup of Nations hosts and semifinalists, scored four goals within 16 minutes to crush South Sudan 4-0 in a Group C match in Malabo that had only pride at stake.
In five previous qualifiers against Benin, South Sudan and Mali, the Equatoguineans managed to score just twice in 450 minutes.
THE LAST 16
AFCON2017 heatmap (or sth like that)— Gary Al-Smith (@garyalsmith) September 4, 2016
Gab, Alg, BFA, Cam, CIV, DRC, Egy, Gha, GBis, Mal, Mor, Sen, Tun, Tog, Uga, Zim pic.twitter.com/nGjO4ojOsN
Have your say
More Sports Headlines
- AFCON 2019: Salah scores as Egypt move into last 16
- VIDEO: A look at Andre Ayew's record 9 Afcon goals for Ghana
- AFCON 2019: Zimbabwe held after two glaring Musona misses
- AFCON 2019: Omeruo header helps Nigeria qualify for last 16
- Riyad Mahrez, wife ordered to pay former nanny
- AFCON 2019: Amr Warda sent home by Egypt for disciplinary reasons
- Man Utd reach agreement with Palace for £50m Wan-Bissaka
- AFCON 2019: Nigeria players 'owed bonuses and allowances'
- AFCON2019: Pote shots leave Ghana hot in Benin draw
- Ghana 2-2 Benin: Five things we learned
- Ghana 2-2 Benin: Black Stars players rated
- AFCON 2019: Cameroon too strong for Guinea-Bissau
- AFCON 2019: Why this may be Ghana's best yet
- AFCON 2019: Black Stars XI v Benin - Kwadwo Asamoah benched
- AFCON 2019: Can Ghana win? Kinna Likimani doubts