Ghana were the most impressive winners and Libya the surprise package in the first qualifying round of the inaugural African Nations Championship on Sunday.
Emmanuel Banahene scored the goals in Niamey as Ghana defeated Niger 2-0, the same margin by which they won the first leg in a competition restricted to footballers based in their country of birth. Banahene plays for national title contenders Heart of Lions from the remote northern town of Kpandu and team-mates John Boye and Dominic Adiyiah scored the first-leg goals in Ghana two weeks ago.
Youthful Libya, given little chance in the Tunisian Mediterranean resort of Sousse after being held 1-1 at home, forced a similar result at the base of African club champions Etoile Sahel and won the penalty shootout.
Tanzania overturned a one-goal first-leg deficit against long time regional rivals Kenya by winning 2-0 in Dar es Salaam with the crucial goal from Nadir Haroub arriving deep in stoppage time. True to the promise of Brazilian coach Marcio Maximo that Tanzania would attack relentlessly, the home team kept Kenya on the back foot but had to wait 77 minutes before Jerry Tegate scored to level the tie on aggregate.
Robbed of victory in Eritrea by a stoppage-time penalty, Uganda made no mistake in Kampala to triumph 3-0 via goals from Stephen Bengo, Geoffrey Sserunkuma and Dan Wagaluka. Bengo scored off a free kick to give the 'Cranes' a 1-0 half-time advantage and a solo effort by serial scorer Sserunkuma demoralised Eritrea, who came from behind twice in Asmara to force a 2-2 draw.
The introduction of Caeser Okhuti enlivened Uganda and he set up the final goal for Wagaluka midway through the second half before going close with a scorching shot. Eritrea were lucky not to suffer a heavier loss as another Bengo free kick rebounded off the crossbar and a header from defender Joseph Owino struck a post.
Hungary-born Uganda coach Laszlo Csaba lavished praise on rising star Okhuti: "Caeser was not fit to start so I reserved him for the final 30 minutes and he made a huge impact."
Zambia also won 3-0 at home to send Swaziland packing after a drawn first leg with man of the match Kennedy Mudenda scoring one goal and creating the others for Rodger Kola and Emmanuel Mayuka. Dennis Fakudze wasted a good chance for the visitors just before Kola converted an 18th-minute cross and unmarked Gina Mbuso squandered an opportunity to equalise by shooting at goalkeeper Mike Poto.
A Mudenda dribble and shot led to goalkeeper Njabuliso Simelane spilling the ball into the path of Mayuka, who made no mistake, and Clive Sichondwe set up the Zambian hero for the third goal. Swaziland coach Raul Savoy blamed the heavy loss on the sub-standard Lusaka hotel where the team were placed by their hosts with music blaring until the middle of the night.
"How can Zambia give us accommodation where the band plays until three o'clock in the morning? When your team came to Swaziland they stayed in a top-class hotel, but you treated us like animals," fumed the Swiss coach.
Mozambique edged neighbours Malawi on away goals after winning 1-0 in the northern town of Nampula courtesy of a first half goal from Helder Pelembe after the visitors played under protest, claiming the pitch was sub-standard.
Mauritania took a similar route to the second round, drawing 0-0 against fellow minnows Gambia in Nouakchott to earn a crack at much tougher opponents Guinea next month.