African big names back firing amid some surprises
Second round of qualifiers played for 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
Cameroon will host the tournament on 7-30 June next year
Largely successful weekend for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia participants
FIFA.com rounds up the highlights from Matchday 2 of the qualifying competition for the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, which takes place in Cameroon next June. While Africa’s Russia 2018 representatives fared well on the whole, there were also one or two surprises, not least for the host nation of next year’s continental finals.
Senegal, one of Africa’s Russia 2018 qualifiers, were held to a 2-2 draw by Madagascar. Though 83 places separate the sides in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (Senegal lie 24th and Madagascar 107th), they are now tied on four points at the top of Group A.
It is all square in Group F after two rounds of matches. Beaten on the opening day in June, Ethiopia bounced back with a 1-0 defeat of Sierra Leone, while Kenya saw off Ghana by the same scoreline.
Mauritania continued their sudden emergence with a second consecutive win in Group I. Appointed their coach in 2014, Corentin Martins is now reaping the rewards of his long-term planning, with his charges moving a step closer to qualification after scoring twice in three minutes to beat Burkina Faso 2-0.
Comoros and Crvena Zvezda striker Ben Fardou Mohamed ensured a disappointing debut in the dugout for Cameroon’s new coach Clarence Seedorf and his assistant Patrick Kluivert, scoring his country’s goal in a surprise 1-1 draw. Despite the setback, the Indomitable Lions remain top of Group B, ahead of Morocco, who got their first points on the board with a 3-0 win over Malawi.
The scorer of a brace in Nigeria's 2-0 defeat of Iceland at Russia 2018, Ahmed Musa rounded off a fine team move with a thundering volley to put his side ahead against Seychelles. The Super Eagles ran out 3-0 winners to move back into contention in Group E.
Mohamed Salah refused to let two missed penalties affect his form as Egypt cantered to a 6-0 win over Niger. The striker, one of the three contenders for The Best FIFA Men's Player award, was outstanding as he contributed a brace to his side’s big win.