West Bromwich Albion midfielder Stephane Sessegnon carried on where he left off in England by scoring twice for Benin in an CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying victory this weekend. The 29-year-old put Les Écureuils ahead on 80 minutes and converted a last-minute penalty to seal a 2-0 victory away to Sao Tome e Principe.
Benin host the return match over the weekend of 30 May- 1 June and seem set to reach the final qualifying round for the group stage of the continental tournament. Victory in Sao Tome was the perfect start for French coach Didier Olle-Nicolle as he tries to boost Benin's stature. The tiny west African country have failed to build on reaching the Cup of Nations in 2004, 2008 and 2010 and hope Sessegnon can spark a change of fortunes.
Frank Mhango also bagged a brace as Malawi triumphed 2-0 at home to Chad at a packed Kamuzu Stadium in commercial capital Blantyre. His first goal on five minutes came gift-wrapped from the Chad goalkeeper, who spilled a Joseph Kamwendo free-kick into the path of the rising South Africa-based star. The second arrived six minutes from time and was more memorable with Mhango darting through the defence before firing past onrushing Dillah Mbiramadji.
Both coaches remain confident ahead of the return game in N'Djamena. "This was a good start for us," said Malawi coach Young Chimodzi. "We wanted to build at least a two-goal lead and not conceding at home is a bonus. Scoring in Chad is critical and we have two weeks to improve certain aspects of our game -- midfield requires attention."
New France-born Chad coach Emmanuel Tregoat said: "This tie is far from over and I'm confident we can qualify. Maybe we can win by three goals at home, or on penalties. We created chances in Blantyre which is encouraging."
Namibia left it late to edge Congo Brazzaville 1-0 at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek with striker Rudolf Bester grabbing a last-minute winner. Substitute Bester had a headed goal ruled offside before he sprinted on to a long pass and netted for the 'Brave Warriors'.
Mauritania, who triumphed home and away against Mauritius in the only first round qualifier, maintained a perfect record with a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea. The home side dominated a match watched by a large crowd at Stade Olympique in Nouakchott and Ismael Diakite snatched the only goal on 76 minutes.
A further nine qualifiers are scheduled for Sunday, including Tanzania against Zimbabwe at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.