The tiny Red Sea state of Djibouti won a first-ever international match to progress from the preliminary phase in the African region of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers.
In only their 23rd game since becoming a FIFA member in 1994, Djibouti finally broke their duck in arguably their most important outing to date. The 1-0 win over Somalia is new ground for a country playing in only its second ever FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament.
A four-goal romp for Madagascar took their goal tally in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers to ten and, more importantly, ensured them a place in the Preliminary Draw in Durban next weekend. While their progress was expected, what was not was the outcome of the game between Guinea Bissau and Sierra Leone.
Guinea Bissau had a 1-0 deficit to overturn from the first leg of their tie last month in Freetown but found it impossible to break down the visors defence. The goalless draw in Saturday's second leg match in Bissau, the first international played there in four years, condemned the former Portuguese colony to a disappointingly early exit, despite the extensive import of their players from clubs across Europe.
Madagascar had a 6-2 lead from the first leg of their tie and on Saturday won 4-0 in the return in the first ever full international played in the Comoros Islands. There were two goals for Lalaina Nomenjanahary as the side coached by the German Fritz Gerber had little trouble in qualifying for the group phase. The stadium at Moroni, with a new artificial field installed as part of FIFA's 'Win in Africa with Africa' programme, was hoping to for a better debut.
On Friday, Djibouti and Somalia were playing the only match in their tie and, despite being in 200th place on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, now find themselves in among the 48 other African countries who will go into next Sunday's draw in Durban.