Afcon 2023: Gambia, Eswatini and South Sudan claim preliminary wins

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The Gambia celebrate Musa Barrow's late penalty against MaliThe Gambia reached the quarter-finals of Afcon 2021 in their debut appearance at the tournament

The Gambia, Eswatini and South Sudan all claimed a first leg advantage as qualification for next year's Africa Cup of Nations began with a series of preliminary ties among the continent's lowest ranked sides.

Looking to build on their impressive run to the quarter-finals at this year's Nations Cup in Cameroon, Steve Trawally scored the only goal as Gambia beat Chad 1-0.

The game, played at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde, was technically a home match for Chad, who have been barred from hosting games due to inadequate facilities.

The return leg will be played in Morocco because The Gambia have received a similar ban.

Somalia's home leg against Eswatini was also played overseas, in Tanzania. Goals from Bonginkosi Dlamini, Fanelo Mamba and Gamedze Sandile gave Eswatini a sizeable 3-0 advantage over the Ocean Stars heading into the return.

There were also plenty of goals in the match between South Sudan and Djibouti.

Played in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, due to a lack of suitable facilities in Djibouti, it was South Sudan who claimed a 4-2 victory - with all six goals coming in the second half.

Elsewhere, there was a goalless draw between Seychelles and Lesotho while Sao Tome and Principe face Mauritius on Thursday.

Botswana have already progressed to the next round of qualifying after Eritrea withdrew.

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