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Morocco win but other heavyweights humbled in World Cup qualifiers



Amine Harit and Youssef en Nesyri of Morocco celebrate victory at the end of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers between Tanzania and Morocco

Ghana and South Africa both suffered embarrassing defeats in World Cup qualification on Tuesday while top contenders Cameroon, Guinea, Senegal and Zambia also found it tough on the road as they all dropped points.

On a busy day of 15 matches across the continent, there were also wins for Burkina Faso, the Cape Verde Islands, Morocco, Namibia, Tunisia and Uganda.

But it was the Comoros, with a population of around a million, and Rwanda, ranked 140 in world football, who tore up the form book in beating Ghana and South Africa respectively.

Ghana’s loss in Moroni was a harsh reminder of their humiliation almost two years ago when the Indian Ocean islanders beat them at the African Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon to send then home early. French-born attacker Myziane Maolida scored the game’s only goal this time, his second in successive matches.

Earlier South Africa were beaten 2-0 in Rwanda on a water-soaked pitch in Butare as a 12th-minute opener from Innocent Nshuti was followed by a second for Gilbert Mugisha 14 minutes later.


It was Rwanda’s first victory in their last 11 home matches and took them top of Group C, where they lead not only South Africa but also Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Senegal, who have qualified for the last two World Cups, went top of Group B despite being held to a goalless draw in Togo while Guinea lost 1-0 away to Botswana in Group G, where Uganda also picked up points by beating Somalia 1-0 after scoring early through Rogers Mato.

In Group D, Cameroon were held to a 1-1 draw by hosts Libya while Mauritius drew 0-0 at home with Angola but the Cape Verde Islands won 2-0 away at Eswatini.

Zambia lost 2-1 away against Niger in Group E after conceding two early goals before captain Patson Daka pulled one back in the second half.


Morocco, semi-finalists at the World Cup in Qatar a year ago, overcame 10-man Tanzania 2-0 in front of a 60,000 strong crowd in Dar-es-Salaam, scoring with a long-range effort from Hakim Ziyech that the home team’s debutant goalkeeper spilt and an own goal in the second half.


Burkina Faso recorded the largest victory margin of the day with the English-based pair of Bertrand Traore and Dango Ouattara both scoring in the 3-0 away win over Ethiopia.

Tunisia’s captain Youssef Msakni converted a penalty two minutes from time to secure a 1-0 away win over Malawi in Lilongwe and make it two wins out of two in Group H where Namibia picked up their first points by beating Sao Tome e Principe 2-0.

The next round of African qualifiers will be played in June, with the continent now turning its focus to January’s Cup of Nations finals in the Ivory Coast.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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