Burkinabe through, Egypt crash out
© AFP

Burkina Faso booked their place at the 2012 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while defending champions Egypt will be shock absentees from the tournament after losing in Sierra Leone.

Namibia upset visiting Gambia 1-0 to give the Burkinabe an unassailable six-point Group F advantage as Egypt remained bottom of Group G after a late penalty condemned them to a 2-1 defeat.

After collecting just two points from four previous qualifiers, Egypt believed they had no chance of reaching a tournament they won three consecutive times since 2006 and sent Olympic and youth team stars to west Africa.

Libya reflected the political changes in the country by wearing a new strip before defeating Mozambique 1-0 in Cairo to replace Zambia as Group C leaders. Former champions Tunisia took a giant stride toward joining Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Botswana and co-hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea at the 2012 finals by forcing a 0-0 draw at closest Group K rivals Malawi.

Cameroon, another power in danger of missing the Cup of Nations, trounced Mauritius 5-0 in Group E to keep alive slim hopes of making the 16-team tournament next January.

The absence of star striker Didier Drogba, who suffered concussion playing for Chelsea last weekend, did not prevent Côte d'Ivoire raising their Group H goal haul to 17 from five games with a 5-0 Kigali drubbing of Rwanda.

Dennis Oliech struck in stoppage time to snatch a 2-1 home win for Kenya over Guinea Bissau in Group J, while Algeria came from behind under new Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic to force a 1-1 Group D draw in Tanzania.

South Africa-based midfielder Tangeni Shipahu became the unlikely toast of Burkina Faso by scoring the 83rd-minute winner that gave the home team a rare competitive victory after three consecutive pool losses.

Sheriff Suma put Sierra Leone into an early lead, Mohsen Marwan levelled on the stroke of half-time and it looked like Egypt would escape with a point until Mohamed Bangura converted an 89th-minute spot kick.

Victory lifted Sierra Leone on to eight points and a share of first place with South Africa, who face Niger in Niamey Sunday without injured captain and midfielder Steven Pienaar.

Rabi al-Lafi struck on 31 minutes behind closed doors to lift Libya two points above Zambia, who are away to Comoros Islands Sunday before hosting the North Africans in the final series.

Tunisia lead Malawi on goal difference in the race to finish runners-up behind Botswana and appear likely to stay second as they host Togo in the final round, while their rivals visit Chad.

Senegal have home advantage over Congo DR and Mali host Cape Verde Islands later today, while there are another ten fixtures Sunday in the penultimate series of qualifiers.