Joy for Algeria and Libya
© AFP

Africa's challengers in the race for places at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ have spent the last few weeks busily jockeying for position in their respective groups. The fourth round of matches in the second qualification phase is already upon us and with round five not due to begin until September, the continent's contenders can look forward to a well-earned rest just as soon as they get this weekend's commitments out of the way.

The first two teams into action were Algeria and Gambia, who faced off at the Stade Mustapha-Tchaker in Blida on Friday evening, the hosts doing just enough to secure the points thanks to defender Anthar Yahia's goal on 33 minutes.

The 1-0 win helped the Fennecs move into first place in Group 6 on six points, one ahead of the Gambians and Senegal, who play Liberia in Dakar on Saturday.

In the day's only other game Libya set Tripoli alight when they put four past Lesotho without reply. Ben Osama Salen opened the scoring after four minutes, with further goals from Omar Dawood, Younes Al Shibani and Hesham Shaban completing the rout.

The commanding victory took the Libyans to the summit of Group 5 and put the pressure on Ghana, who now lie three points behind and face Gabon in a crucial encounter at the Ohene-Djan Stadium in Accra on Sunday.