Open doors for challengers

Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon all work themselves back into contention in the African qualifiers for the for the men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008

Both Morocco and Zambia lost their 100 per cent records in the qualifiers for the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008, opening the door for their challengers in the second half of the campaign. Zambia were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Senegal at the weekend, while Morocco conceded leadership of Group C to Cameroon after losing 2-1 in their top-of-the-table clash in Garoua on Sunday.

Meanwhile, striker Prince Tagoe inspired Ghana to a 3-1 away win in South Africa, which has all but ended the next FIFA World Cup™ hosts' hopes of sending their U-23 team to the Beijing Games next year. Tagoe, who plays his club football in Saudi Arabia, scored twice to put the Black Stars in command before a stunning long-range shot from Obed Ansah made it 3-0 in the closing stages. South Africa did pull one back through captain Lance Davids, but with just one point on the board so far they stand little chance of achieving Olympic progression.

Zambia stayed top of Group B despite the disappointment of a 1-1 draw with Senegal at the Nkhoma stadium. The result allowed Cote d'Ivoire to move to within one point of the leaders courtesy of a second successive win, 3-1 over Mali in Abidjan.

Hungarian-based striker Abraham Guie Guie opened the scoring for Gerard Gili's team after 22 minutes at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium, but Mali were level at 1-1 through Makan Dembele at the interval. Goals from Beko Fofana and captain Gervais Yao Kouassi, from the penalty spot, inflicted another defeat upon Mali which left them bottom of the standings with just one point.

A disciplinary decision is awaited on the outcome of the Group C game between Guinea and Botswana in Conakry, where six of the visiting team's players were sent off, forcing the referee to call off the game with ten minutes to go.

Cameroon, who were gold medal winners in Sydney in 2000, now lead the standings after a 2-1 win over Morocco with all the goals coming in the first half. FC Cologne's Adil Chihi handed Morocco the lead in the 17th minute, but George Ndoum had the hosts level within seven minutes.

Marc Mboua then ensured Cameroon's success with a goal in the 33rd minute. "In a competition like this our ambition is to try and won every game. There are many other solutions, so in every game we try and make sure we take all three points," said Cameroon coach Martin Ndtougou Mpile.