Morocco seal big win but Cameroon and Ivory Coast draw

Ayoub El Kaabi scored a hat-trick as Morocco thrashed Congo-Brazzaville 6-0 in African qualifying for the 2026 Fifa World Cup, while Cameroon and Ivory Coast both had to settle for draws away from home.

Azzedine Ounahi, Crystal Palace-bound defender Chadi Riad and Soufiane Rahimi were also on the scoresheet for Morocco in an away game switched to Agadir.

Brentford forward Bryan Mbeumo gave Cameroon an early lead away against Angola, but Gelson Dala’s cross nine minutes after the break was deflected past goalkeeper Andre Onana by Indomitable Lions defender Michael Ngadeu.

Elsewhere, Ivory Coast’s perfect start came to an end as the continental champions were held to a goalless draw away to Kenya and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Gabon come from behind to beat The Gambia.

Comoros, Rwanda and Sudan all went top of their groups while there were also triumphs for Cape Verde, South Africa and Tanzania among 13 matches on Tuesday.

The nine group winners at the end of the 10-match campaign are all assured of a place at the 2026 World Cup, while a 10th African team could qualify via an intercontinental play-off.

African qualifiers for the finals in the United States, Mexico and Canada will resume in March 2025, with preliminaries for the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations scheduled in September, October and November.

Morocco defender Chadi Riad agreed a move from Barcelona to Crystal Palace last month

Morocco are the only side left with a 100% record after three games, although they have played a game fewer than the vast majority after Eritrea withdrew on the eve of the opening fixtures in November.

Congo-Brazzaville are facing Fifa disciplinary action after failing to play their home tie against Niger last Thursday - reportedly after refusing to play in neighbouring DR Congo – and did not even have the advantage of a neutral venue against Morocco after Monday's meeting was moved from Kinshasa.

The Atlas Lions cut through their ‘hosts’ at will, racing into a 4-0 lead inside 40 minutes before Olympiakos striker El Kaabi completed his treble with a 53rd-minute header.

The North Africans are three points clear at the top of Group E ahead of Tanzania, who secured a 1-0 win in Zambia thanks to Waziri Junior’s fifth-minute strike.

Indomitable Lions pass Angola test

Cameroon coach Marc Brys (left) in conversation with an assistant coach
Marc Brys (left) has made an unbeaten start as coach of five-time continental champions Cameroon

Cameroon sit a point clear at the top of Group D following an entertaining 1-1 draw against Angola in Luanda.

The Indomitable Lions have taken four points from their first two games under new coach Marc Brys, whose appointment as boss was initially contested by the country’s football federation.

Cape Verde moved a point behind the Central Africans after Edilson Borges’ goal gave the Blue Sharks a 1-0 home win over Libya, who also have seven points.

Angola remain unbeaten on six points, while Mauritius are on four points after picking up their first win by beating Eswatini 2-1 at home.

In Group B, South Sudan welcomed northern neighbours Sudan to their new stadium in Juba, ending their lengthy exile.

There were emotional scenes before kick-off as the home crowd joined in with the Sudanese national anthem in a show of support for a country in the midst of civil war.

Walieldin Khidir, Yasir Mozamil and Mohamed Abdelrahman netted the goals which gave the visitors a 3-0 win and Sudan have now picked up three wins and a draw from their opening four qualifiers despite a conflict which began in April last year and has seen the domestic league suspended.

Sudan returned to the top of Group B, two points ahead of Senegal and three above DR Congo.

Elephants' charge halted by Kenya

Evan Ndicka in action for Ivory Coast
Image caption,Roma centre-back Evan Ndicka made a crucial goal-line clearance for Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast had won their first three qualifiers by an aggregate score of 12-0 but were perhaps fortunate to come away with a point from their match against Kenya in neutral Lilongwe.

Elephants goalkeeper Yahia Fofana saved from Kenya forward Timothy Ouma late in the second half and Evan Ndicka then cleared a follow up effort from Michael Olunga off the line.

There was still time for Oumar Diakite to hit the Kenya bar from Simon Adingra’s cut-back, but the West Africans remain top of Group F on 10 points despite a subdued performance from the reigning continental champions.

Gabon are now a point behind the Ivorians after coming from 1-0 down to beat The Gambia at home.

Yankuba Minteh's header gave the Scorpions the lead at the break but the start of the second half was delayed by a power outage in Franceville.

However, the long stoppage did not affect Gabon as Jim Allevinah swiftly equalised, Marseille striker Aubameyang fired the hosts ahead and Denis Bouanga made it 3-1.

Ebou Adams pulled one back with 14 minutes left but the Panthers held out to inflict a first defeat on new Gambia coach Johnny McKinstry.

Meanwhile, Burundi are two points further back after their 3-1 win away against Seychelles in neutral Morocco.

Rwanda and Comoros climb to summit

Group C remains wide open after Rwanda and South Africa registered wins to move level on seven points with Benin, with the Wasps top on goal difference.

Jojea Kwizera struck on the stroke of half-time to give Rwanda a victory over minnows Lesotho, who had themselves sat on the summit after three rounds.

South Africa’s game against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein got off to a lively start, with the score 1-1 after just two minutes as Tawanda Chirewa cancelled out Iqraam Rayners’s opener for the hosts.

Thapelo Morena climbed off the bench at half-time to score twice and give Bafana Bafana a 3-1 win.

Goals from Myziane Maolida and El Fardou Ben Nabouhane gave Comoros a 2-0 away win over Chad in Morocco to send the Coelacanths top of Group I, ahead of Ghana on goal difference.

Meanwhile, Mali’s faltering campaign continued with a 0-0 draw against 10-man Madagascar in neutral Johannesburg.

The Eagles, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, had a numerical advantage after Louis Demoleon was dismissed for tugging back El Bilal Toure in the 16th minute but could not break the deadlock.

The West Africans are on five points, four adrift of Comoros and Ghana and two behind Madagascar.

Tuesday's African World Cup qualifying results

  • South Sudan 0-3 Sudan (Group B)
  • Lesotho 0-1 Rwanda (Group C)
  • South Africa 3-1 Zimbabwe (Group C)
  • Angola 1-1 Cameroon (Group D)
  • Cape Verde 1-0 Libya (Group D)
  • Congo 0-6 Morocco (Group E)
  • Zambia 0-1 Tanzania (Group E)
  • Gabon 3-2 The Gambia (Group F)
  • Kenya 0-0 Ivory Coast (Group F)
  • Seychelles 1-3 Burundi (Group F)
  • Mauritius 2-1 Eswatini (Group G)
  • Chad 0-2 Comoros (Group I)
  • Madagascar 0-0 Mali (Group I)

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