Africa’s football powerhouses struggle in World Cup qualifiers. See all the results


Hakim Ziyech’s early penalty set Morocco on their way to a 2-1 win over Zambia in African qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Morocco, the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals at Qatar 2022, were made to sweat by Zambia.

According to BBC, Morocco forward Ziyech, set to return to Chelsea following a loan spell at Galatasaray, had enough pace on his sixth-minute penalty to beat Chipolopolo keeper, Lawrence Mulenga, after Stoppila Sunzu brought down Youssef En-Nesyri.

Eliesse Ben Seghir made it 2-0 to the Atlas Lions midway through the second half in Agadir when he converted Brahim Diaz’s cutback.

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But Edward Chilufya pulled one back with 10 minutes left when his superb low finish crept inside the right-hand post, and Sunzu headed over in the last minute of injury time.

Morocco were only playing their second match after Eritrea withdrew last November on the eve of the qualifiers beginning and are three points clear at the top of Group E.

Zambia would play Tanzania next Tuesday at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola in another Group C World Cup qualifying match.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana’s showdown with the Super Eagles ended in a 1-1 draw, leaving fans on the edge of their seats.

Ivory Coast managed to edge past Gabon with a narrow 1-0 victory, securing crucial points in the qualifiers.

In another encounter, Uganda displayed dominance over Botswana, securing a 1-0 victory and reaching six points in Group G.

Similarly, Madagascar showcased their prowess by defeating Comoros 2-1, with the “Barea” dictating the game’s tempo.

In Cairo, Egypt continued their winning streak in Group A with a 2-1 triumph over Burkina Faso. Trezeguet’s brace secured the victory, although Lassina Traore managed to find the net for the Stallions, keeping the match tense until the final whistle.

Namibia and Liberia battled it out to a 1-1 draw, while Sierra Leone secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Djibouti.

Central African Republic clinched a narrow 1-0 win over Chad, while Togo settled for a 1-1 draw with South Sudan. Malawi breathed new life into their World Cup aspirations with a commanding 3-1 win over Sao Tome e Principe.

Goals from Kaonga Chawanangwa, Nkhoma Lanjesi, and Mphasi Chifundo sealed the crucial victory.

In another fixture, Libya secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Mauritius, while Sudan continued their impressive form with a 2-0 win over Mauritania in Group B.

However, not all matches yielded decisive results, Ethiopia and Guinea-Bissau played out a goalless draw, showcasing their defensive resilience.

On the other hand Ghana managed to edge past Mali 2-1, securing victory with a last-minute goal, while DR Congo fought tooth and nail to secure a 1-1 draw against Senegal in a thrilling encounter.

Unfortunately for Rwanda, their journey in the World Cup qualifiers hit a roadblock as they suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against Benin.

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