Mozambique’s Mambas were the biggest winners of the first round qualifying weekend of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015, their 5-0 defeat of debutants South sudan on a weekend of mixed results that included surprising struggles for CHAN champions Libya and Kenya while Madagascar shocked the Cranes of Uganda.
South sudan were making their first ever attempt at qualifying for the continental showpiece football tournament and the Bright Stars could not illuminate in Maputo as the Mambas’ venom blackened them into a heavy hiding.
A brace by Sonito and strikes from Josemar Machaisse who opened the scoring, Mexer and Isac Carvalho means South Sudan must score six unanswered goals in Khartoum to progress. Mozambique now look a sure bet for the next round unless the debutants pull off what would certainly be one of the biggest come-backs in qualifiers history.
Before a capacity crowd in Blantyre, Frank Mhango’s double gave Malawi a huge advantage as the Flames overcame Chad 2-0 and put themselves in a good position to progress to the next round. Buoyed by their new sponsorship package, the Flames were fiery and coach Young Chimodzi believes his squad got a healthy lead to see them through in the return match, whilst Chad’s trainer Emmanuel Tregoat retained confidence that the return leg in N’Djamena was for his charges to reverse the score line.
In Windhoek, Rudolf Bester’s lone strike was the difference as the Brave Warriors silenced Congo’s Red Devils 1-0. There is still all to play for in the second leg in Brazzaville as will be in Malabo when Mauritania travel there for the second tie against Equatorial Guinea, who they beat 1-0 in Nouakchott.
In Nairobi, Kenya could only manage a slim advantage over the Comoros. Johannah Omollo’s spectacular 34th minute strike at the Nyayo National Stadium gave the Harambee Stars the advantage but a battling Comoros will fancy an upset in a fortnight.
Liberia also managed a slim 1-0 win over hard fighting Lesotho in a fast paced match played on Sunday at the Antoinette Tubman stadium in Monrovia. Mamelodi Sundowns’ Antony Laffor scored early in the first half but the Crocodiles fought hard and will have hopes of striking back when they lie in wait at their home in Maseru next week.
Elsewhere in Antananarivo, a late penalty strike by Hamisi Kiiza gave Uganda what could be a precious life-line but did not stop the hosts running away with a stunning 2-1 win. Madagascar brought the Stade Rabemanjara-Mahajanga to life when Fabrice Augio Rakotondraibe grabbed the opener in just 12minutes, converting from the spot after he was brought down in the box. Njiva Rakotoharimala stunned the Ugandans with a second late on in the first half and it should have been it 3-0 with 20minutes remaining but Paul Johann wasted his effort from the second penalty.
The return legs of the respective matches will be played on the weekend of 30 May to 1 June with winners progressing to the second round from where seven teams will emerge to take up the remaining places in the group phase of qualifying.
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Malawi 2-0 Chad
Sao Tome e Principe 0-2 Benin
Namibia 1-0 Congo
Mauritania 1-0 Equatorial Guinea
Sunday, 18 May 2014
Central African Republic 0-0 Guinea Bissau
Swaziland 1-1 Sierra Leone
Mozambique 5-0 South Sudan
Madagascar 2-1 Uganda
Burundi 0-0 Botswana
Tanzania 1-0 Zimbabwe
Liberia 1-0 Lesotho
Kenya 1-0 Comoros
Libya 0-0 Rwanda
Gambia vs Seychelles (Gambia is suspended from all CAF activities; Seychelles qualified to next round)
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Confederation of African Football (CAF) News
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