Shock Nations Cup wins for African minnows
- Wired World
- 24 Mar 2016 04:58 (South Africa)
by David LEGGE African football outsiders Sao Tome e Principe and Guinea-Bissau achieved rare Cup of Nations victories Wednesday as seven days of qualifying kicked off.
A couple of late goals gave Sao Tome a dramatic 2-1 triumph over Libya while Guinea-Bissau spoilt the debut of Kenya coach Samuel Okumbi with a 1-0 win.
New FIFA president Gianni Infantino saw South Sudan fall 2-1 at home to Benin while wasteful Zambia were held 1-1 by Congo Brazzaville.
Reigning Africa-based CAF Footballer of the Year Mbwana Samatta was the match-winner as Tanzania triumphed 1-0 in Chad.
Faisal Al Badry scored for Libya -- ranked 20 places higher than Sao Tome in Africa -- midway through the first half at the Estadio 12 de Julho in Sao Tome.
But the team representing the tiny, Portuguese-speaking island state stunned the visitors with two goals within five minutes during the closing stages.
Ahmed Al Terbi deflected a shot into the net on 82 minutes and Luis Leal struck the winner against opponents guided by former Spain coach Javier Clemente.
Sao Tome and Libya started the game pointless after losing to co-leaders Cape Verde and Morocco in previous Group F matchdays.
Hopes than Okumbi could succeed where Scot Bobby Williamson constantly failed were dashed as Idrissa Camara headed a 19th-minute winner for Guinea-Bissau, 18 places below Kenya in the African rankings.
Having begun their Group E campaign by holding Congo away, Kenya have suffered successive defeats against Zambia and Guinea-Bissau to prop up the standings.
Wild finishing cost Zambia maximum points at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola as they dominated for long spells before a late Congo rally almost delivered victory.
Constant threat Winston Kalengo fired the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) ahead on the hour after holding off a defender to steer the ball into the far corner.
Jordan Massengo levelled 15 minutes from time by poking the ball past Kennedy Mweene from close range during a goalmouth scramble.
Congo and Zambia have five points each in Group E, Guinea-Bissau four and Kenya one.
Infantino, who succeeded Sepp Blatter as boss of scandal-tainted FIFA last month, saw Benin go top of Group C by winning in Juba after draws against Equatorial Guinea and Mali.
South Sudan backed Infantino in the presidential race despite the African Football Confederation (CAF) encouraging their 54 member states to vote for Asian football chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Infantino inaugurated the South Sudan Football Association offices in Juba before the game against Benin, whose goals came from Frederic Gounongbe and Steve Mounie.
Samatta, who moved from African champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Belgian club Genk this year, netted after 30 minutes in N'Djamena.
Victory lifted Tanzania to four points in Group G, level with Nigeria and two points behind record seven-time Cup of Nations winners Egypt.
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