—- Six African teams made their grand entrance in the first round of CAF qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ on Thursday.

While the logic of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking was respected in the first two fixtures of the day, Somalia (currently the lowest-placed African team at the 202nd spot) pulled off a significant upset by clinching a last-gasp 1-0 success against Zimbabwe (112th), courtesy of a goal by Anwar Sidali Shakunda. The result was the Ocean Stars’ first win in a World Cup qualifying campaign.

Prior to that excitement, the day had kicked off with a first-ever World Cup encounter between Seychelles and Rwanda. The Rwandans’ resounding 3-0 away victory brought an undesirable eight-match winless streak in qualifiers to an end. Ahead of Tuesday’s return leg in Kigali, the challenge facing The Pirates, who have yet to record a qualifying win in 14 attempts (12 losses, two draws), appears daunting.

Sudan, meanwhile, lived up to their status of pre-match favourites against Chad – they had won four of the six previous matches between the countries – by disposing of their western neighbours 3-1 away from home, Ramadan Agab’s impressive hat-trick doing the damage.