Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Mauritania shock S Africa in Cup of Nations qualifier


Liberia’s Saydee Swen celebrates after their African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Tunisia at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia on Saturday.

Photo: EPA

Mauritania shocked South Africa 3-1, Ghana edged Rwanda 1-0 and Nigeria were held 0-0 by Tanzania on Saturday in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

A blunder by goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune after five minutes cost South Africa a goal in Nouakchott and set the home team on the road to their greatest Cup of Nations triumph.

Khune allowed a long-range Ali Abeid free-kick to slip from his grasp into the net and South Africa had debutant Siyabonga Zulu red-carded after half-time for a last-defender foul.

South Africa equalized midway through the second half when Thamsanqa Gabuza soared above goalkeeper Mohamed Salahdine to nod in a cross.

However, Mauritania, ranked 42 places below their opponents in world rankings, finished strongly and superb individual goals by Boubacar Beyguili and Ahmed Khalil sealed victory. Success lifted Mauritania from the bottom to the top of Group M on goals scored.

Four-time African champions Ghana left it late to succeed in Kigali, with Russia-based Mubarak Wakaso the 87th-minute match-winner.

Ghana were awarded a free-kick just outside the box on a poor pitch and Wakaso curled the ball past the wall and wide of goalkeeper Olivier Kwizeri into the corner.

It was a cruel blow for Rwanda, who fought gallantly in front of a near-capacity crowd and did not deserve to lose the match.

Ghana, runners-up to Ivory Coast in the Cup of Nations earlier this year, lead Group H with six points, three more than Rwanda.

There was no dream debut for new Nigeria coach and former midfielder Sunday Oliseh, as the three-time Cup of Nations title-holders found Tanzania a revitalized side.

Nigeria goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, of English club Wolverhampton Wanderers, made a string of excellent saves in the former capital, Dar es Salaam, on his debut.

Ikeme started after first choice shot-stopper and captain Vincent Enyeama pulled out following the death of his mother.

A point took Nigeria to the top of Group G. English Premier League pair, Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United and Sadio Mane of Southampton, netted as Senegal triumphed 2-0 in Namibia.

Kouyate struck in the first half and Mane in the second half in Windhoek as Senegal maintained a perfect Group K start with a second win. Burundi are second, three points adrift, after a 2-0 victory over Niger in Bujumbura thanks to goals from South Africa-based duo Fiston Abdul Razak and Papy Faty.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni funded the US$210,000 travel costs of his nation’s soccer team to the Comoros Islands, where cash-strapped Uganda triumphed 1-0 against the hosts courtesy of a goal midway through the first half from recalled Iceland-based Tonny Mawejje in their Group D fixture.

In Saturday’s other Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Seychelles and Ethiopia drew 1-1, Botswana beat Burkina Faso 1-0, Liberia edged Tunisia 1-0, Morocco hammered Sao Tome 3-0, Gabon thrashed Sudan 4-0, Equatorial Guinea lost 1-0 to South Sudan and Guinea-Bissau were beaten 4-2 by the Republic of the Congo.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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