Africa's big guns secure qualifying wins
© AFP

Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire got their African Nations Cup qualifying campaign off to winning starts but Mali and Togo struggled in the race to reach Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in 2012.

The Ivorians, with new coach Francois Zahoui in charge for the first time in a competitive game, had little trouble dispatching Rwanda.

First-half goals from Premier League trio Yaya Toure (11) of Manchester City, Chelsea's Salomon Kalou (19) and Emmanuel Eboue (40) from Arsenal put them 3-0 up and the score remained that way in Abidjan with the hosts earning a comfortable win in Group H. In Bellevue, another new coach, Spaniard Javier Clemente, had a memorable first game in charge of Cameroon, who ran out 3-1 winners against hosts Mauritius.

Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o (36) opened the scoring before Jonathan Bru levelled four minutes later. The Indomitable Lions captain extended the lead two minutes after the break, before Eric Choupo-Moting (60) made the game safe with the visitors charging to the summit of Group E.

Togo, without the retired Emmanuel Adebayor, made it three matches without a win in Group K after slipping to a surprising 2-1 defeat to Botswana.

Joel Mogorosi (six) opened the scoring for the hosts in Gaborone, but midfielder Serge Gakpe (45) gave his side hope. However, Jerome Ramatlhkwane (56) snatched all the points for the southern Africans, who now top Group K with 10 points after four games. Togo's other two games in the pool have yielded draws.

The other game in the group saw Tunisia continue their resent struggles with a 2-2 draw against Malawi. After Issam Jemaa (11 and 27) scored early on, the hosts looked to be cruising to victory. But Chiukepo Msowoya (45) pulled one back in Rades and as the clock wound down Essau Kanyenda (82) scored from the penalty spot to snatch a share of the spoils.

In another shocking result, Uganda stunned 2010 African Nations Cup hosts, Angola, with a lop-sided 3-0 win. Hearts forward David Obua (35) opened the scoring and further goals from Andrew Mwesigwa (58) and Geoffrey Sserunkuma (87) completed the route.

2010 FIFA World Cup™ hosts South Africa ran out easy winners over minnows Niger thanks to goals from Katlego Mphela (12) and Bernard Parker (45). The win gave new Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane a winning start to his tenure, with their biggest test in Group G likely to come from African champions Egypt, who play tomorrow.

In Group I, Sudan began their campaign with a 2-0 win over Congo. Montasser Careca's ninth-minute strike put the home side in front in Khartoum, before a penalty from Mudathir Al-Tahir (90) sealed the points.

In Group F, Gambia cruised to a 3-1 win over Namibia, Group J saw another shock with Guinea-Bissau edging Kenya 1-0 and Group A produced another upset with Mali losing out 1-0 to the Cape Verde Islands.

The Group D match between Morocco and the Central African Republic finished goalless.