South Africa sealed their place at the 2015 African Nations Cup with a 2-1 win over Sudan in Durban.
Goals from Thulani Serero (38) and Tokelo Rantie (53) sealed the win and Bafana Bafana held on despite Ibrahim Salah Mohamed Soliman’s late consolation.
The match took place in the hometown of the late Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot and killed last month. South African players stripped off their team jerseys to show white T-shirts with messages dedicated to Meyiwa.
“Well, I just wish he was here with us,” said new South Africa goalkeeper Darren Keet, who replaced Meyiwa in the lineup. “That’s what makes it the most emotional. He’s not here with us and everything is done.”
South Africa’s players also wore black armbands and there was a moment’s silence before the game for Meyiwa. The Sudanese team even held up a picture of the popular player before kickoff at Moses Mabhida Stadium in their own tribute.
Also in Group A, African champions Nigeria gave themselves a fighting chance as they went level on points with Congo after a 2-0 win.
Ikechukwu Uche opened the scoring and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama then saved a penalty from Thievy Bifouma before Aaron Samuel sealed the win to hand the Super Eagles a chance to qualify if they beat South Africa on Wednesday.
In Group D, unbeaten Cameroon erased some of the memories of their horror show at the 2014 World Cup by sealing their progress to the final tournament with a 1-0 over Democratic Republic of Congo thanks to Vincent Aboubakar’s strike on 71 minutes.
Cameroon have earned the top spot in the group, while Ivory Coast, who beat Sierra Leone5-1 on Friday, are also in good position to advance.
Senegal joined Tunisia as the teams to advance from Group G.
Stoke City striker Mame Biram Diouf scored the only goal as Senegal held off Egypt1-0, meaning the 2010 champions will miss the finals entirely.
On Friday, Tunisiawere held to a goalless draw away to Botswanabut still lead Senegal by a point at the top of the group.
Burkina Faso and Gabon both advanced from Group C on Saturday.
Jonathan Pitroipa scored three minutes into the match as Burkina Faso won 1-0 at Lesotho, while the point Gabonearned from a 0-0 draw at Angolawas enough to ensure they also reach the finals.
Zambia, the 2012 champions, also secured their passage in Group F with a 1-0 victory over Mozambique. Given Singuluma sent the Chipoloplo through.
Cape Verde, who had already qualified for the finals, defeated Niger 3-1 to ensure the top spot in Group F.
Group E remains up for grabs with all four teams still eligible to advance or miss out on the finals.
Savio Kabugo’s early goal was enough for Ugandato beat Ghana1-0, while Guineawon 4-1 at Togo.
Ghana lead the group with eight points, while Uganda and Guinea — who face each other on Wednesday — both have seven points, and Togo have six.
Malawi defeated Mali 2-0 on goals from Robert Ng’ambi and Essau Kanyenda to go even on points with their opponents in Group B. One of those teams will join Algeria, who beat Ethiopia3-1 on Saturday, in the finals after Wednesday’s final round of qualifiers.
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