Angola And Ghana Win, Togo Humbled
World Cup giantkillers Togo got a taste of their own medicine on Sunday when crashing 2-1 to minnows Swaziland in a 2010 World Cup-African Cup of Nations qualifier.
International unknowns Siza Dlamini and Collen Salelwako scored in the second half as the 'Burning Spear' proved too hot for the 'Sparrowhawks,' a shock African representative at the World Cup in Germany two years ago.
It was only the second victory in ten qualifying matches spanning 16 years for the tiny southern Africa kingdom whose national team is ranked 44 on the continent, 31 places below Togo.
And the mastermind of the Group 11 success was former South Africa coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba, who inherited one of the toughest tasks in African football only last month when Swiss Raul Savoy was axed.
Adekamni Olufade got a late consolation goal for Togo, whose qualification for the 2006 World Cup at the expense of Senegal, Zambia and Mali triggered shockwaves around the continent.
Swaziland have home advantage again next Sunday when they entertain Zambia, the other team in a mini-league reduced to three by the unexplained withdrawal of Eritrea.
Togo began their campaign last weekend with a victory over Zambia in neutral Ghana after being barred from staging four World Cup fixtures because their supporters assaulted two Malian players after a 2008 Nations Cup qualifier.
Madagascar also made a mockery of the monthly FIFA rankings released last Wednesday by forcing a 0-0 home draw in Antananarivo against Cote d'Ivoire, a team 34 places above them.
Cote d'Ivoire lacked injured stars Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, but a team containing English Premiership trio Kolo Toure, Didier Zokora and Abdoulaye Meite was expected to prove too strong for the Indian Ocean islanders.
The other Group 7 match also delivered an unexpected result as Botswana welcomed new coach Stanley Tshosane with a 2-1 win in Mozambique courtesy of goals from 'Dipsy' Selolwane and Boitumelo Mafoko.
Rwanda (27) and Congo (30) were other countries outside the FIFA top 20 to collect maximum points and keep alive hopes of reaching the third and final qualifying phase.
Olivier Karekezi was the Rwandan hero, scoring the late goal that brought a 2-1 Group 8 victory in Ethiopia, who went ahead in first half stoppage time through Tefese Tesfaye only for Said Makasi to level on 62 minutes.
Congo were the latest team to expose poor travellers Sudan with Wilfrid Endzanga snatching the only goal after 70 minutes of a vital Group 10 match for the 'Red Devils' after losing in Mali last weekend.
Benin were another team to bounce back as they put aside a Group 3 hammering in Angola to triumph 4-1 against Uganda in Cotonou with Sweden-based striker Razak Omotoyossi grabbing two goals.
Angola, Cameroun and Ghana maintained 100 per cent records with away wins over Niger (2-1), Mauritius (3-0) and Lesotho (3-2) respectively while ten-man Senegal held out for a 0-0 Group 6 draw in neighbouring Gambia.
Veteran striker Gilbert Mushangazhike scored in each half as Zimbabwe won 2-0 at home to Namibia while a 75th-minute Zola Matumona penalty earned Demcoratic Republic of Congo a 1-0 victory over Malawi in Kinshasa.
Credit — AFP