Daddy Birori was the hat-trick hero as Rwanda stunned Libya 3-0 this weekend in a 2015 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. The 27-year-old striker from Democratic Republic of Congo club Vita struck before half-time in Kigali and twice more within nine minutes midway through the second half.
His goals gave the 'Wasps' a 3-0 overall second-round triumph and they face Namibia or Congo Brazzaville for a Group A slot beside Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan. It was a dream debut for English coach Stephen Constantine, who took charge of Rwanda just two weeks ago having watched the goalless first encounter.
Libya are ranked 12 in Africa and won the African Nations Championship (CHAN) for home-based footballers just four months ago in Cape Town. Rwanda lie 27 places lower and have been largely in the doldrums since their sole Cup of Nations finals appearance ten years ago.
Defeat was a massive setback for Spain-born Libya coach Javier Clemente, whose CHAN success is likely to be forgotten amid the search for scapegoats. Having to play the first leg in neighbouring Tunisia because of post Moamer Kadhafi-era lawlessness within Libya hindered the 'Mediterranean Knights'.
Libya face a long spell without competitive football as they qualify automatically for the 2017 Cup of Nations as hosts and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualification eliminators are two years away.
Among the countries who joined Rwanda in the third round were fellow-east Africans Uganda and Kenya. An early Geoffrey Massa headed goal gave Uganda a 1-0 win over Madagascar in Kampala and success on the away-goal rule. It was a much closer two-leg contest than the rankings suggested it would be with the Ugandan 'Cranes' 32 places above the Malagasy 'Barea'.
Kenya also had a tougher time than anticipated, drawing 1-1 on the Comoros Islands having taken a one-goal advantage into the return match. The team representing a group of east Africa islands had the first-half edge only to fall behind after half-time when Ayub Timbe netted.Yacine Saandi levelled 18 minutes from time, but the target of two further goals proved beyond the hosts in Mitsamiouli.
Malawi scraped through on away goals after crumbling 3-1 in Chad with Rodrique Ninga bagging a brace for the home side and Casimir Rodrigues also scoring. The tie-deciding goal came late in the second half from Malawian Robin Ngalande, who was on the books of Atletico Madrid as a youth.
Having been held goalless in the first leg, Central African Republic slumped 3-1 away to Guinea-Bissau in Bissau. A Cicero Semedo brace plus one from Bacar Balde within 26 minutes had home supporters ecstatic and all the visitors could manage was a Josue Balamandji second-half consolation.
Central African Republic faced a similar handicap to Libya and South Sudan of having to play the home leg in another country because of civil conflict. South Sudan drew 0-0 with Mozambique in Khartoum, but the outcome had been decided two weeks ago when the 'Mambas' (Snakes) built a 5-0 lead.
Sierra Leone, a top-20 ranked African team like Libya and Uganda, found Swaziland stubborn opponents in Freetown with captain Umaru Bangura scoring the lone goal off a late spot-kick. The 1-0 win coupled with a draw in Lobamba took the 'Leone Stars' through to a showdown with the Seychelles, who received a walkover when Gambia were disqualified.