Held to respective draws by Zambia and Mozambique, Egypt and Nigeria failed to live up to their status as continental heavyweights when they made their debuts in the third and final round of qualifying for South Africa 2010.
Game of the day
Egypt 1-1 Zambia
Goals: Amr Zaki 26 (Egypt); Francis Kasonde 56 (Zambia)
Although Zambia have always been inconsistent performers, they remain one of the strongest sides on the continent, as they underlined once more today by holding the reigning African champions to a draw at the Stade International in Cairo.
Despite taking a first-half lead, Egypt were never able to exert control and it came as little surprise when Herve Renard's side equalised and then held on for a point. In doing so, the Zambians put an end to the Pharaohs' record of seven consecutive FIFA World Cup™ qualifying wins. With section rivals Algeria and Rwanda also drawing yesterday, Group C promises to be one of the tightest in Round 3.
Surprise of the day
Mozambique 0-0 Nigeria
Having won six games in a row and surged through to the final qualifying round with the best record on the continent, the Super Eagles travelled to Maputo's Estadio Nacional da Machava in confident mood. Yet, while the Mozambicans had only scraped into the final phase, they made light of the apparent gulf in class to record a notable draw, mounting a valiant rearguard action to deny a star-studded Nigeria side boosted by the return of Obafemi Martins. Try as they might, Shaibu Amodu's charges could find no way through as Nigeria's streak of eight straight FIFA World Cup qualifying victories came to an end.
Player of the day
Prince Tagoe (Ghana)
The centre-forward, who runs out in the Saudi league for Al-Ettifaq, struck in the opening minute to help the Black Stars negotiate a potential pitfall at home to a promising Benin side. Although Milovan Rajevac's side failed to add to Tagoe's early strike, they maintained their record of never having lost a FIFA World Cup qualification match in Kumasi, having now won 11 of their 13 games there and drawn the other two.
Click on the link on the right for all the stats on the Africa Zone and the match reports on Sunday's games.