Niger close to African glory as Uganda flop
Niger moved within one victory of a first Africa Cup of Nations appearance after defeating South Africa Sunday while Uganda lost in Angola to squander a chance of qualifying.
Koffi Dankowa and Moussa Maazou scored for the Nigeriens before Andile Jali reduced arrears in a 2-1 Niamey triumph that took them top of Group G and three points against Egypt in Cairo during October will seal first place.
South Africa and Sierra Leone are one point behind Niger and clash at 2010 World Cup venue Nelspruit hoping for maximum points, and that Niger slip up against fallen giants Egypt.
A 2-1 defeat in Sierra Leone Saturday kept Egypt, who fielded a young, experimental team, bottom of the table with just two points from five outings in a pool they were expected to dominate having won the last three Cup of Nations tournaments.
Uganda needed a draw in Angola to secure a return to the biennial African football showpiece after a 33-year absence, but conceded a couple of second-half goals to lose 2-0 in Luanda.
The ‘Cranes’ remain Group J leaders — one point ahead of Angola — and will secure a place among 16 teams in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea next January if they defeat bitter rivals Kenya in Kampala.
Former Manchester United signing ‘Manucho’ headed home an early second-half cross for the ‘Black Antelopes’ and veteran fellow striker ‘Flavio’ added a second as persistent pressure created cracks in the Ugandan defence.
Defender Joseph Yobo has a knack of scoring for Nigeria and struck again late in the second half before an Obinna Nsofor goal wrapped up a 2-0 Group B victory over Madagascar on a poor Antananarivo pitch.
Emmanuel Mayuka scored three minutes from full-time to grab a 2-1 win for Zambia on the Comoros Islands which took his country a point above Libya before an October clash in Lusaka that will decide who wins Group C.
Morocco hit the crossbar and a post and had a goal disallowed during a 0-0 draw in the Central African Republic with the result lifting both teams to eight points in Group D — three clear of Tanzania and Algeria.
Unbeaten Sudan joined 2010 Cup of Nations runners-up Ghana at the Group I summit with a 1-0 victory in Congo Brazzaville courtesy of Bakry Abdelgadir goal 13 minutes from full-time.
Zimbabwe kept alive slim hopes of winning Group A with a 3-0 home win over Liberia while Faty Papy scored in the final minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for Burundi with visiting Benin.AFP
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