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The Gambia, Eswatini and South Sudan all claimed a first leg advantage as qualification for next year's Africa Cup of Nations began with a series of preliminary ties among the continent's lowest ranked sides.

Looking to build on their impressive run to the quarter-finals at this year's Nations Cup in Cameroon, Steve Trawally scored the only goal as Gambia beat Chad 1-0.

The game, played at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde, was technically a home match for Chad, who have been barred from hosting games due to inadequate facilities.

The return leg will be played in Morocco because The Gambia have received a similar ban.

Somalia's home leg against Eswatini was also played overseas, in Tanzania. Goals from Bonginkosi Dlamini, Fanelo Mamba and Gamedze Sandile gave Eswatini a sizeable 3-0 advantage over the Ocean Stars heading into the return.

There were also plenty of goals in the match between South Sudan and Djibouti.

Played in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, due to a lack of suitable facilities in Djibouti, it was South Sudan who claimed a 4-2 victory - with all six goals coming in the second half.

Elsewhere, there was a goalless draw between Seychelles and Lesotho while Sao Tome and Principe face Mauritius on Thursday.

Botswana have already progressed to the next round of qualifying after Eritrea withdrew. - BBC Sport


Nigeria and Tanzania inched closer to the third round of the African qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, India 2022 after positive results in their first leg matches on Sunday.

In the other two, Benin forced Morocco to a 1-1 draw in Poto Novo, while in Monrovia, Guinea were held by Liberia to a 2-2 draw.

In Kinshasa, Nigeria gained the early advantage of the second round following a 3-0 first leg win over 10-girl DR Congo.

The Nigerians took time to settle in well against the young female Leopards and eventually broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when Blessing Emmanuel found the back of the net.

After slowly regaining possession in the second half, the West Africans increased their tally thanks to another sublime finish from Oluwatunmininu Adeshina in the 66th minute.

Four minutes later, the hard-fighting hosts were dealt a major blow as they were reduced to 10 girls after Anastasie Nwanji's sending off. The numerical advantage paved way for the visitors to further pull away with a third of the match off the foot of Opeyemi Ajakaye six minutes later to seal their away triumph.

With the win, the Nigerians will seek to build on their lead and guarantee their passage at the expense of the Congolese in the reverse fixture at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on March 19.

Elsewhere, Tanzania inched closer to a place in the next round after a 7-0 trouncing of Botswana in the first leg in Zanzibar.

The Tanzanite got off to a flying start when Neema Paul opened the scoring just three minutes into the contest at the Amaan Stadium. Although the visitors managed to hold on for a little while, Paul doubled goal-hungry Tanzania's lead in the 33rd minute with her second of the match.

Five minutes from the break, Clara Luvanga made it three for the hosts before Aisha Juma added the fourth before the sound of the half time whistle. The rampant CECAFA giants continued after the recess with Juma grabbing her second and third of the match for Tanzania's fifth and sixth. In the closing stage, Luvanga compounded the visitors' woes when she bagged her brace and seventh of the day at the death.

The big win piles pressure on Botswana as the Southern African side will seek to revive their qualification dream against the Tanzanite at Obed Irani Chilume Stadium in two weeks.

In Cotonou, Zouhir Yasmine's 12th minute effort almost broke the heart of the hosts before Yasminath Djibril struck11 minutes later rescued the Benin Republic from a home defeat at the hands of Morocco at Stade Charles de Gaulle.

The North Africans will look to complete a double at youth level over the West Africans after a U20 triumph when they meet in the second leg at Stade Moulay Hassan, Rabat on March 19.

Similarly, no victor, no vanquished at Antoinette Tubman Stadium as Liberia and Guinea ended in a stalemate in Monrovia.

The Guineans raced into the lead off Fanta Sidibe's 16th minute effort but Hawa Fatomah levelled nine minutes later for the Liberians. The thrilling encounter continued as Fatoumata Samoura recovered the lead for the visitors from the spot three minutes after the restart but Zeta Kromah's brilliant finish three minutes later ensure both teams shared the spoils.

With a four-goal thriller, the second leg at Stade du 28 Septembre in Conakry on March 20 promises another tasty tie between the two West Africans in a quest for third round spot. - Confederation of African Football


DAKAR (Senegal) - South Sudan caused the biggest surprise in Window 2 of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 in Dakar by becoming the only undefeated team from Groups B and D. 

On Sunday, the World Cup African Qualifiers debutant built on their spectacular win over reigning African champions Tunisia to stay undefeated in Group B after beating Cameroon 74-68. 

Nuni Omot and Anyiarbany Makoi propelled the South Sudanese offense with a combining 45 points, and Deng Acuoth protected the South Sudanese rim with a tournament-high 4 blocked shots.

Cameroon entered Sunday's game aiming to capitalise from their only Group B win against Rwanda, but the day belonged to the East Africans.

Jordan Bayehe led the Cameroonian 'army' by scoring 11 of his team-high 21 points from the foul line; Paul Eboua contributed 10 poitns and 7 rebounds but the Central African closed the First Round of Group with a 1-2 mark. 

South Sudan currently top their group with a 3-0 record after wins over Rwanda, Tunisia and Cameroon. 

To advance to the Second Round of the World Cup African Qualifiers, teams need to finish in the top three places from Groups A, B,C and D.  

Turning point: Cameroon trailed by 19 points at some stage in the game, but managed to cut the deficit to just four points with a minute left. But South Omot and Acuoth closed the game out from the Free-Throw line in the waning seconds of the game.

Game hero(es): Makoi did his job before fouling out with four minutes left with South Sudan up by 12 (69-57). In his absence South Sudan could add only three more points from the charity stripe. 

Makai converted 10 of his 12 Field-Goals attempts, including a three-pointer, and added 7 rebounds to finish with the second highest Efficiency rate from Window 2 of the African Qualifiers..

Stats don't lie: South Sudan step on the floor in a desperation mode, leading by as many as 19 points at some point, which proved fruitful for Luol Deng's team. 

Cameroon had 19 opportunities to score from beyond the arc, but could only make 5 of their attempts, while South Sudan looked more efficient making 10-of-25 from beyond the arc.

Bottom line: This was the real chance to weigh up Cameroon's chances against South Sudan. Back in August, Cameroon forfeited their meeting against South Sudan at 2021 AfroBasket due to a number COVID cases in their delegation.

South Sudan turned out the strongest and more consistent between the two sides, especially because of the morale booster of beating reigning African champions the day before. 

Cameroon had a slow start, but became more aggressive and efficient later in the game, but it was far too late, the damage was already done.

It's now time for both teams to return home and start plannings for Window 3 of the African Qualifiers in June-July.

What they said: "We had a slow start but we fought... some guys arrived late [to the camp], for me this is like a win. Give this group two weeks of practice.. Tunisia played a tournament [2021 Arab Cup], before; Rwanda practiced for one month. South Sudan practiced for two weeks; We've only practiced for four days. And what I saw from four days, this is a good improvement for us. We did really well. We don't have a team chemistry, that's why we keep looking for options... We forced shots; we lacked energy in defense," - Sacha Giffa - Cameroon Head Coach

"Most of all for us, [South Sudan's 3-0 record] is just showing that we belong here. Being the youngest country in the world, we're looked as the underdogs.  We just wanted to come here and prove ourselves... As long as we do what we got to do and stay together we can play against anybody.

There's no words that can really describe the things that we're able to do because our country has been through a ton.. We don't have to to be through the history to see the joy that it brings to the people, not to mention our parents, who witnessed first-hand the terrible things [in South Sudan's past], because of a lot us in this group grew up in the Western side of the world." - Anyiarbany Makoi - South Sudan guard. - FIBA

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