BY KUNLE SOLAJA
The tribe of the fumbling giants continues to grow in the qualifying series of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Apart from the big teams of Nigeria, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan and the emerging power Cape Verde all losing at home, the recent number one team in Africa barely struggled to a 1-0 win over Togo as Match Day 1 series were brought to a close late Sunday night.
Great thanks to the 24th minute goal by Sofiane Hanni, Algeria could have possibly fallen and find themselves struggling when the Match Day 2 opens late March 2018.
Tunisia also managed a 1-0 defeat Egypt in a duel that could have gone either way considering the strong form of both sides.
The formbook now appears very unreliable in the series to the next Africa premier competition. Only Ghana among the football heavy weights in the continent confirmed their ratings by overwhelming visiting Ethiopia 5-0 on Sunday.
The shocks started Friday night with Sudan, always known to be strong at home especially when the oppositions belong to the lesser active football countries.
The Sudanese crumbled 1-3 before capacity home crowd to Madagascar which has never won any championship in Africa. Just like Nigeria tasted their first ever competitive loss to South Africa, another former African champion, Zambia lost at home for the first time to Mozambique.
Then the Cote d’Ivoire team became the next giants to fall at home, losing to Guinea. Cape Verde, which in recent years emerged as a force in the continent lost 0-1 at home to Uganda which had waited 39 years before qualifying for an Africa Cup finals this year.
The signals are out. More shock results are in the offing when the series resume in nine months. Twenty four matches are gone, There are still 120 more in the projected 144-match series.
ALL MATCH DAY 1 RESULTS
Group E: Libya 5-1 Seychelles
Group A: Sudan 1-3 Madagascar
Group B: Malawi 1-0 Comoros
Group C: Burundi 3-0 South Sudan
Group B: Cameroon 1-0 Morocco
Group K: Zambia 0-1 Mozambique
Group I: Botswana 0-1. Mauritania
Group J: Niger 0-0 Swaziland
Group K: Guinea-Bissau 1-0 Namibia
Group F: Sierra Leone 2-1 Kenya
Group E: Nigeria 0-2 South Africa
Group 1: Burkina Faso 3-1 Angola
Group G: RD Congo 3-1 Congo
Group C: Mali 2-1 Gabon
Group A: Senegal 3-0 Equatorial Guinea
Group L: Tanzania 1-1 Lesotho
Group H: Cote d’Ivoire 2-3 Guinea
Group G: Zimbabwe 3-0 Liberia
Group H: Central African Republic 2-1 Rwanda
Group F: Ghana 5-0 Ethiopia
Group D: Benin 1-0 Gambia
Group D: Algeria 1-0 Togo
Group J: Tunisia 1-0 Egypt
Group L: Cape Verde 0-1 Uganda