It was not only a big weekend for European football but also for the continent of Africa. Qualification for Africa’s bi-annual football tournament the Africa Cup of Nations continued with some surprising yet exciting results.
The 2012 edition will be co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. As you would expect the continent’s big names registered very impressive wins with the exception of a few. Ivory Coast and Cameroon got their campaigns off to a flying start when they beat Rwanda and Mauritius respectively.
The Elephants were 3-0 winners over Rwanda in Abidjan yesterday with Premier League trio Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and Emmanuel Eboue all registering their names on the score sheet.
The was Francios Zahoui’s first win as the Elephants new coach after Sven-Goran Eriksson resigned after a poor World Cup campaign. The Ivorians sit pretty at the top of Group H with 3 points. Burundi will face Benin in Cotonou today to end the group’s first round of qualifying fixtures.
In Port Louis, Cameroon beat Mauritius 3-1 thanks to a brace from Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o. Group E is the group of death with Senegal and DR Congo making up the rest of the group. This gigantic clash will take place later today in Lubumbashi. Like the West African counterparts Ivory Coast, Cameroon gave their new coach Javier Clemente something to smile about in his first competitive outing as coach of the Indomitable Lions.
The shock of the day was no doubt Uganda’s 3-0 thrashing of Angola in Kampala. The Palancas Negras were the hosts of the tournament this year and a lot was expected especially after exiting this year’s edition in the quarters.
In another shocking result, Botswana beat Togo 2-1. With the retirement of the star player and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor, the Sparrow Hawks have never really looked themselves. In fact, they have failed to win their last 3 matches in Group K.
In Group J Kenya’s Harambee stars were also stunned by Guinea Bissau 1-0. Coach Twahir Muhudin however blamed the result on their hosts who up to Thursday had not communicated when the match was to played. The stars arrived late on Friday with only a couple of hours to prepare for the match.
Tunisia still trying to find a winning formula after a massive overhaul of longstanding players drew 2-2 with Malawi. As things stand in Group K, Botswana are leaders with 10 points, Tunisia are second with 5 points, Malawi and Togo are level on third with 3 points and Chad are bottom with 1 point.
World Cup hosts South Africa were 2-0 winners over Niger with do Ktlego Mphela and Bernard Parker giving Pitso Mosimane his first win as Bafana Bafana coach.
Sunday sees Nigeria take on Madagascar and Reigning champions Egypt face Sierra Leone.
Photo credit: from fabricadezvonuri