Sunday, March 27, 2016 1:27 pm
While Nigeria is struggling, Cameroon twice came from behind on Saturday to take a giant step towards African Nations Cup qualification and Morocco are also on course for the finals after making a winning start under new coach Herve Renard.
Youssef El Arabi converted a 26th-minute penalty as Morocco won 1-0 at Cape Verde Islands, the leading African team in the world rankings, to go three points clear in Group F as they kept up a 100 percent record.
Renard, who has won two of the last three Nations Cup titles, was appointed Badou Ezaki’s successor last month.
Leaders Cameroon maintained a five-point advantage over third-placed South Africa in Group M after the two former champions slugged it out for a 2-2 draw in Limbe.
Nicolas N’koulou scored the second for Cameroon, playing their first game under new coach Hugo Broos, after Hlompho Kekana had put South Africa 2-1 up early in the second period with a remarkable effort from inside his own half.
Saturday’s ties, marking the halfway point of qualifying for the 2017 finals in Gabon, also yielded victories for Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Senegal and small Indian Ocean island nations Mauritius and Seychelles.
Jonathan Pitroipa’s penalty handed Burkina Faso a 1-0 win over Uganda and a share of top spot in Group D alongside their opponents.
Democratic Republic of Congo are first in Group B after beating Angola 2-1 in front of 90,000 fans in Kinshasa thanks to a first-half penalty by Cedric Bakambu and a second-half scorcher from substitute Elia Meschack.
Angola replied with a late penalty. Senegal have a 100 percent record after overcoming Niger 2-0 in Dakar with goals from Mohamed Diame and Oumar Niasse while Group K rivals Namibia triumphed 3-1 in Burundi.
Mauritius beat Rwanda 1-0 and Seychelles also had a rare victory, 2-0 at home to Lesotho. Qualifiers continue on Sunday through until Tuesday by which time four of the six rounds of preliminaries will have been completed.