With the first three of Africa's representatives for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ known, football fans can be excused for a bit of déjà vu as Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon were also at the finals in South Africa 2010.
And with Ghana all-but through against Egypt after a 6-1 win, and Algeria, who have to overcome a 3-2 deficit from the away leg, still in the running, it could well be that Brazil will see all five African qualifiers from South Africa making the finals again.
Match of the day
Nigeria 2 - 0 Ethiopia
Goals: Victor Moses (20 PEN), Victor Obinna (82)
Even though the Super Eagles took a 2-1 advantage from the first leg into the game in Calabar, coach Stephen Keshi warned ahead of the game that they should take nothing for granted against the plucky east Africans, who were hoping for a continuation of their fairy-tale last two years.
A packed crowd could sense the tie was theirs after Moses' penalty, and the African champions clamped down on the match after that. Obinna's well-taken free-kick did enough to set off wild celebrations in the stands and throughout the country. Keshi becomes the first African coach to qualify two different countries for the finals - he led Togo to Germany 2006 although did not coach them there - while his Ethiopian counterpart Sewnet Bishaw was gracious in defeat. "Keshi knows how to organise a team. They will go far in the World Cup."
ElsewhereIn Casablanca, where Senegal played due to a ban on home internationals, the Lions of Teranga came close to stunning Côte d'Ivoire. Alan Giresse's side looked much stronger than in their 3-1 defeat in the first-leg and might have scored earlier than they did. As it was they broke through in the 77th minute when Ivorian star Didier Drogba was adjudged to have brought down Sadio Mane, and Moussa Sow made no mistake to give Senegal the lead in the match.
The Senegalese surged forward in search of a game-winning second goal and came agonizingly close in injury time, but with so many men forward, they left themselves open for the counter. It was the talismanic Yaya Toure who sent Salomon Kalou into space four minutes into injury time, and the Lille player scored the equaliser for a 4-2 aggregate win. Giresse said his players were disappointed, but it might be a turning point in Senegalese football. "Emotionally it will leave traces, but the team and players grew up tonight."
In Yaounde, Cameroon got off to the flying start they were looking for after a scoreless first leg, as Pierre Webo found the net with a shot off the post in the fourth minute. Nancy's Benjamin Moudandjo doubled the lead on the half-hour after finishing a run down the left with a low shot that gave goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia no chance. Tunisian coach Ruud Krol brought on Ahmed Akaichi and Fabien Camus on for the second half and the Carthage Eagles pulled a goal back shortly after the break when Esperance's Akaichi scored with a volley from the edge of the area.
The visitors needed another goal to qualify for Brazil and had to go forward, which allowed Cameroon room in the Tunisian half. Veteran midfielder Jean Makoun gave the Indomitable Lions a two-goal cushion again shortly after the hour, and the Rennes player scored his second a few minutes from the end when he pounced on a rebound after Ben Cherifia pushed a goal-bound shot against the post.
Player of the daySalomon Kalou (CIV)
Leading 1-0 and needing a second goal to advance on the away-goal rule, Senegal threatened the Ivorians all the way to the end of the match. But minutes after a narrow let-off for the Elephants, Kalou found himself with the opportunity to clinch a place in Brazil, and the Lille striker made no mistake with a finish full of poise.
7 -The number of times Cameroon have now reached the FIFA World Cup finals, an African record. Nigeria have qualified five times, all from the last six events, while this will be Côte d'Ivoire's third on the trot.
What they said"It has been my dream to go to the World Cup and I have made it. We might have done a lot better, but the weather was hot and this worked against us," Nigerian striker Ahmed Musa.
Results*16 November *
Senegal 1-1 Côte d'Ivoire
Nigeria 2-0 Ethiopia
*17 November *
Cameroon 4-1 Tunisia
Egypt - Ghana
Algeria - Burkina Faso