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By ESPN Staff

Afcon qualifiers: Ghana beat South Africa; Algeria start defence right

Ghana defeated South Africa in African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Algeria thrashed Zambia 5-0 on Thursday in a successful start to the defence of their continental crown, winning their opening qualifier for the 2021 African Cup of Nations 117 days after lifting the trophy.

Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice, one from the penalty spot, with Ramy Bensebaini, Youssef Belaili and substitute El Arabi Hilal Soudani completing a pleasing performance for the home fans in Blida.

Thomas Partey's long-range shot gave Ghana the lead and 19-year-old debutant Mohammed Kudus added...

African Cup of Nations qualifiers: Nigeria, Senegal win; Cameron draw

Victor Osimhen scored to ensure Nigeria beat Benin in AFCON qualifying.

Senegal showed their teeth on the opening day of qualifiers for the 2021 African Cup of Nations but other continental heavyweights struggled to find form on Wednesday.

Nigeria could only scrape a 2-1 home win over tiny neighbours Benin while Cameroon were held to an embarrassing home draw by the Cape Verde Islands.

Cameroon are hosts of the next finals but are also participating in the qualifying competition.

- Dove: Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers: Road to Cameroon begins

Sanuel Kalu, Victor Osimhen star as Nigeria defeat Benin in Super Eagles' Afcon opener

Nigeria overcame a scare from Benin to eke out a 2-1 home win in their opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Stephane Sessegnon took advantage of sloppy Nigeria defending to put the Squirrels ahead two minutes in, but Victor Osimhen tucked away a penalty, after Ola Aina had been felled in the box, and Samuel Kalu waltzed his way through the defence to find a second-half winner for the Super Eagles.

Benin could have equalised late on, rattling the woodwork with Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi...

Scrutiny on coaches as Black Stars, Bafana Bafana open AFCON 2021 journey

Respective coaches James Kwesi Appiah and Molefi Ntseki will be under intense scrutiny when Ghana and South Africa open their Group C campaigns in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers with a clash at the Cape Coast Stadium on Thursday.

The meeting of the Black Stars and Bafana Bafana is a renewal of a rivalry which dates back 25 years and has seen the teams clash four times in the AFCON finals, though this will be their first game in the qualifiers for the continental tournament.

The match in...

Afcon qualifiers: Meet the air traffic controller directing Cape Verde's footballing ascent

Cape Verde's ascent through African international football over the past decade has been remarkable, and at the heart of their progress is Janito Carvalho, one of two air traffic controllers to have taken an influential role in the tiny island nation's rise through the African game.

Carvalho, along with his friend and fellow coach Luis Antunes, have overseen the progression and sporting education of the country's finest footballing generation, while simultaneously juggling jobs as air traffic controllers,...