8th September, 2012
Cape Verde Islands, the country of fewer than 600,000 people hugged the headlines today as they beat big soccer nation, Cameroon 2-0 in the first leg of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers. The second leg will be played in Yaounde mid-October. The winner will qualify for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa. Cameroon did not qualify for the last edition.
Ivory Coast and Mali also maximised their home advantage in their first leg today.
The Ivorians, the only African team in the top 20 league of soccer nations, according to FIFA ranking and Africa’s leading football power house, beat Senegal 4-2, while Mali overpowered Botswana 3-1.
Captain Christopher Katongo scored midway through the first half to give title holders Zambia a 1-0 first-leg lead over Uganda Saturday in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The China-based striker took advantage of sloppy defending to tap in a long Davies Nkausu throw before a capacity 40,000 crowd at Levy Mwanawasa stadium in the mining town of Ndola.
Katongo was a constant threat to Uganda, netting again in the opening half only to have his effort disallowed and being oiled by the woodwork after the break.
Midfielder Rainford Kalaba was another Zambian to impress and came close with a first half free kick that beat goalkeeper Denis Onyango only to fly into the side netting.
Uganda, seeking a place at the Cup of Nations for the first time since finishing runners-up to hosts Ghana in 1978, spent most of the match on the back foot and were lucky to finish only one goal behind.
Ghana scored early in each half to triumph 2-0 against Malawi in Accra with Christian Atsu putting the Black Stars ahead and Anthony Annan also on target against rivals reduced to 10 men after James Sangala was cautioned twice.
Vianney Mabide netted midway through the opening half to earn surprise last-30 qualifiers Central African Republic a 1-0 home win over Burkina Faso in Bangui.
The central Africans reached the final elimination round by toppling record seven-time Cup of Nations champions Egypt in one of the biggest shocks since qualifying was introduced 45 years ago.
Tottenham Hotspur striker Emmanuel Adebayor crowned his promotion to captain of Togo by equalising in a 1-1 draw against Gabon after veteran Daniel Cousin had put the home team ahead.
Return matches are scheduled for mid-October and the winners qualify for the 16-nation tournament to be staged by South Africa in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Nelspruit and Rustenburg.
Zambia 1-0 Uganda
CAR 1-0 Burkina Faso
DR Congo v Eq. Guinea Postponed
Gabon 1-1 Togo
Ghana 2-0 Malawi
S/Leone 2-2 Tunisia
Sudan 5-3 Ethiopia
The Nigerian Super Eagles were leading the Liberian Lone stars 2-1 at the time of this report.