Swaziland lead a quartet of southern Africa minnows seeking to exploit home advantage and upset more powerful opponents in 2010 World Cup South Africa™ qualfiers this weekend.

The Swazis confront Zambia, Botswana play Ivory Coast, Namibia meet Guinea and Malawi face African champions Egypt as the mini-league second preliminary phase reaches the halfway mark.

Goals from Siza Dlamini and Collen Salelwako earned Swaziland a shock 2-1 victory over Germany 2006 qualifiers Togo last Sunday, and only their second success in 10 World Cup ties spanning 16 years.

Togo overcame Zambia, and a Swazi squad guided by former South Africa coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba will believe that if they can beat the team ranked 13th in Africa, they can claim another scalp against a country one place lower.

Even Swaziland did not envisage going far as Mashaba, who serves as manager of leading South African club Orlando Pirates, was given only a caretaker role in charge of the 'Burning Spear'.

He works with locals performing in one of the weakest African leagues and a few "exiles" operating in the South African second division, with none known beyond the borders of the tiny kingdom.

The "Sparrowhawks" of Togo have plenty of time to lick their wounds because the unexplained withdrawal of Eritrea means the West Africans do not play again in Group 11 until September.

Botswana shook off the disappointment of a home draw with Madagascar and disruption of English coach Colwyn Rowe being fired to shock Mozambique 2-1 and will not fear off-form Group 7 favourites Côte D'Ivoire. Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic praised the "ambition and talent" of the Ivorian squad when he succeeded German Uli Stielike as coach, only to criticise the "laxity, individualism and egoism" of some players soon after.

The absence of injured Chelsea strikers Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou and Barcelona midfielder Yaya Toure has not helped, and a narrow win against Mozambique was followed by a goalless stalemate in Madagascar. Pre-2008 Nations Cup no-hopers Namibia held Guinea 1-1 five months ago at the biennial tournament and can realistically expect to do even better in a crucial Group 2 Windhoek showdown.

But the goal-shy "Warriors" must beware struggling Guinea, the only top 10 African team not to have won in the previous two rounds, who could slip out of contention if they suffer a second consecutive reverse.

Malawi began their Group 12 campaign with a 8-1 drubbing of featherweights Djibouti, but new coach Kinnah Phiri probably drew more encouragement from the solitary goal loss in the Democratic Republic of Congo last Sunday.

Kinshasa is one of the hardest venues in Africa and the resilience of the "Flames" in holding out for 75 minutes suggests they are capable of troubling even multi-star Egypt. Traditional poor travellers Egypt followed a narrow home win over DR Congo by firing in four unanswered goals in Djibouti, with midfielder Ahmed Abdelmalek and striker Amr Zaki on target in both games.

There are 10 countries with 100 percent records entering the third series of fixtures and two - Rwanda and Morocco - come face to face in Kigali with the outright leadership of Group 8 at stake. All the others bar Swaziland play away, with Ghana in Gabon, Cameroon in Tanzania, Angola in Uganda, Burkina Faso in the Seychelles, Mali in Sudan, Nigeria in Equatorial Guinea and Egypt in Malawi.

The combined qualifying competition will determine which five countries go to the 2010 FIFA World Cup with hosts and automatic qualifiers South Africa, and the 15 teams who join hosts Angola at the CAF Nations Cup earlier the same year.