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2023 AFCON Qualifying: South Sudan, Eswatini and Gambia claim wins in the first leg

Four matchups in the preliminary round of qualifying for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations took place on Wednesday and there were no big surprises from the first leg results. 2021 AFCON quarterfinalists Gambia had some struggles with a determined Chad side in Yaoundé, Cameroon but showed their quality at the end with an excellent winning strike from Bubacarr “Steve” Trawally to snatch the win just before full time.

Sagrada Esperança forward Bonginkosi Dlamini opened the scoring for Eswatini in the first half of their 3-0 victory against Somalia, who hosted the opening leg in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Fanelo Mamba and Sandile Gamedze scored in the second half to give the COSAFA member plenty of cushion before hosting the second leg in South Africa.

In a rematch of their preliminary round qualifying clash for the 2019 AFCON, South Sudan look in good shape following a wild 4-2 victory over Djibouti who were hosting in Alexandria, Egypt. Former Gor Mahia and Vipers SC forward Tito Okello, now playing in Iranian football, tallied twice for the Bright Stars to help his side win before heading to Entebbe, Uganda to host the second leg.

Seychelles and Lesotho drew 0-0 in the early match played in Mauritius, and will head to South Africa where favorites Lesotho will host the second leg. Botswana automatically advanced after Eritrea withdrew from the competition and the final matchup involves São Tomé and Príncipe versus Mauritius, who will square off in the first leg tomorrow in São Tomé.

Highlights are below from three of Wednesday’s games.

Seychelles 0-0 Lesotho

Chad 0-1 Gambia

Somalia 0-3 Eswatini

Djibouti 2-4 South Sudan

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