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Second round of African World Cup Qualifying matches serve up more upsets, thrillers



The second round of matches in the African edition of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers produced multiple shockers as big teams faltered at the hands of the so-called minnows, once again proving that football on the continent was longer played on names and past glories.

After the star-studded Super Eagles of Nigeria were stunned home and away by less fancied Lesotho and Zimbabwe, both ending in 1-1 draws, the Bafana Bafana of South Africa were well beaten by Rwanda on Monday.

On Tuesday, it was the turn of Ghana to be taught some football lessons when Comoros beat the Andre Ayew-led team 1-0.

As if that was not enough shock, African champions, Senegal, were held to a goalless draw by Togo in Lome, while Cameroon had to dig deep to pull out a 1-1 with Libya in front of a vociferous crowd in Benghazi.

It was also a bad day in the office for Zambia who suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Niger.

Other matches played on day two of the qualifiers involved
Morocco who beat Tanzania 2-0 away, while there were also wins for Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Botswana, Uganda and Namibia.

Roundup of matches played:

Botswana 1-0 Guinea

Botswana collected their first win in Group G after beating Guinea by a solitary goal at Francistown Stadium. The lone goal was scored by Kabelo Seakanyeng.

Eswatini 0-2 Cape Verde

Cape Verde extended their unbeaten start in Group D after beating their hosts Eswatini 2-0 at the Mbombela Stadium.

Ryan Mendes and Jamiro Monteiro were on target to ensure their team has so far managed to collect four points from their two matches.

Ethiopia 0-3 Burkina Faso

At the Ben Ahmed El Abdi Stadium, Ibrahim Toure, Bertrand Traore and Dango Ouattara scored a goal each to help Burkina Faso defeat Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes 3-0.

The Stallions are now on four points, two behind leaders Egypt; in Group A.

Lesotho 0-0 Benin

At the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Lesotho and Benin shared the spoils. It was the first point for Benin in Group C while Lesotho have two from two matches after an impressive draw against heavyweights Nigeria.

Malawi 0-1 Tunisia

Tunisia reclaimed the top spot in Group H after a 1-0 win over Malawi at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

Youssef Msakni scored the only goal to give his team maximum points from two matches, the same as second-placed Equatorial Guinea who have an inferior goal difference.

Somalia 0-1 Uganda

Uganda Cranes battled to a hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Somalia after the sending off of Abdi Mohamed, at Berkane Stadium.

Rogers Mato scored the lone goal to hand the East Africans three points and renew their hope in Group G. Algeria lead the pool with six points, while all other teams have three points apart from Somalia who have none.

Mauritius 0-0 Angola

At the National Sports Complex, Mauritius and Angola played to a goalless draw. The former have a point while the latter have two after matchday two.

Sao Tome & Principe 0-2 Namibia

Prins Tjiueza and Pedro Mateus were on target to help Namibia secure maximum points against Sao Tome & Principe in Group H game staged at Agadir Stadium.

The Southern Africa nation trail Tunisia and Equatorial Guinea by three points after two rounds.

South Sudan 0-0 Mauritania

At Me Abdoulaye Wade Stadium, South Sudan and Mauritania settled for a goalless draw in Group B to collect their first points of the campaign.


Kelvin Kiptum: Autopsy reveals late Marathon record holder died from head injuries



An autopsy carried out by the Kenyan government has revealed that late world marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, died from severe head injuries in a ghastly road accident on February 11.

Kenya’s chief government pathologist, Johanssen Odour, told journalists at a press conference on Wednesday that the injuries were consistent with those suffered in motor vehicle accidents.

The 24-year-old rising star died in a car accident alongside his Rwandese coach Gervais Hakizimana in killed in a late-night accident near his home in north-western Kenya.

According to a release by his family, Kiptum will be laid to rest on Friday at his home village, Chepkorio in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, in what is expected to be a state event.

Kiptum rose to fame when he became a world marathon record holder when he set a time of 2:00:35 in the Chicago Marathon in October last year after switching to running the marathon from shorter distance races a year before.

At the London Marathon, he set a record pace and improved his personal best time by 50 seconds to beat the 2:01:09 record set by fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, widely considered the greatest marathoner of all time.

Kiptum broke the course record for the London Marathon, winning the men’s event in the second-fastest marathon in history, crossing the finish line in two hours, one minute and 25 seconds.

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CAF unveils preliminary round draws for 2025 AFCON finals



The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has unveiled the preliminary round of draws for the 35th edition of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which will hold in Morocco in 2025.

The draws which took place Tuesday at CAF’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on Monday, saw the participation of the eight lowest-ranked teams in the latest FIFA ranking.

The first leg of fixtures scheduled to be played on a home and away basis between March 20 and 26, 2024, will Somalia face off against Eswatini in Somalia, Sao Tome will take on South Sudan in Sao Tome, Chad will play against Mauritius in Chad, and Djibouti will take on Liberia in Djibouti.

The hosting is reversed in the second leg, with Eswatini will hosting Somalia, South Sudan will welcome Sao Tome, Mauritius will play host to Chad, and Liberia will have the home advantage against Djibouti.

The winners of the preliminary round matches will advance to join the 44 exempted teams for the group stage of the tournament, with only 24 teams ultimately qualifying for the AFCON 2025 finals.

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