Ayew inspires Black Stars, Super Eagles still winless

football10 June 2024 21:12| © Backpage TXT
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Steve Mounie © Backpagepix

Ghana and Nigeria secured the headline results – for very different reasons – as eight African 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers were played across the continent on Monday.

Ghana, in one of three late matches, came from behind to defeat Central African Republic 4-3 in Kumasi and claimed top spot in Group I – thanks in the main to a hat-trick from Jordan Ayew.

The Black Stars looked to be in trouble when they trailed 1-2 at half time to a brace from Louis Mafouta (who also went on to register a hat-trick), but Ayew struck his second and third goals either side of one from Issahaku Fatawu to ensure the hosts claimed all three points and climbed to the top of the standings on nine points.

The Wild Beasts are fifth on four points.

In the afternoon kick-offs, Equatorial Guinea secured their first three points in Group H when they defeated Malawi 1-0 in Malabo – thanks to Iban Salvador’s late strike – while Botswana picked up a second win in Group G when they defeated Somalia 3-1 in Maputo.

Thabang Sesinyi, Mosha Gaolaolwe and Kabelo Seakanyeng netted for the Zebras, who temporarily rose to level first-place on the standings.

However, they ended the day three points off the top thanks to Algeria’s 2-1 win away to Uganda in Kampala in the early evening, as well as Mozambique’s 1-0 triumph over Guinea in El Jadida, which saw the Fennec Foxes and Mambas tied in first place on nine points.

The North Africans had to work hard for their win over the Cranes, recovering from Travis Mutyaba’s opener for the hosts thanks to second-half goals from Houssem Aouar and Said Benrahma, while Mozambique’s victory was secured by an injury-time penalty from Geny Catamo.


The early evening also saw Egypt drop their first points in Group A, as they were held 1-1 in Bissau by Guinea-Bissau (goals from Mama Balde and Mohamed Salah), though the Pharaohs remain a comfortable four points clear of the Djurtus at the top of the log.

Egypt’s advantage could have been eaten into by either Burkina Faso or Sierra Leone in a late match, but they played out a 2-2 draw in Bamako.

The Stallions held a 2-0 lead after first-half goals from Dango Ouattara and Lassina Traore, but the Leone Stars fought back via Augustus Karoso and Amadou Bakayoko to see both teams remain five points off the pace set by the Pharaohs.

In Abidjan, Group C continued to throw up wild results, as Benin came from behind to defeat heavyweights Nigeria and rise to the top of the log.

The Super Eagles appeared to be on course for victory when they opened the scoring through Raphael Onyedika, but the Cheetahs – led by former Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr – struck via Jodel Dossou and Steve Mounie.

Nigeria are second bottom of the log and have failed to win any of their four matches thus far.

The World Cup Qualifiers will continue on Tuesday 11 June with 13 matches across the continent, headlined by South Africa hosting Zimbabwe, Cameroon visiting Angola and Congo tackling Morocco.


Somalia 1-3 Botswana

Equatorial Guinea 1-0 Malawi

Guinea-Bissau 1-1 Egypt

Benin 2-1 Nigeria

Uganda 1-2 Algeria

Burkina Faso 2-2 Sierra Leone

Guinea 0-1 Mozambique

Ghana 4-3 Central African Republic