1. Jose Pesero’s lame excuse shows that he is frustrated
“It was a tough, difficult trip from Nigeria in the flight, many hours, the players didn’t rest enough. “First half, very bad, second half, much better”, these were the words of the under-pressure Portuguese coach Jose Pesero. Nigeria came from behind to secure a point after Walter Musona had put the Zimbabweans ahead in the 26th minute with Kelechi Iheanacho snatching the equaliser in the 67th minute. At the Stade Huye in Butare, Rwanda, none of the sides was able to score the winner with Zimbabwe being the happier of the two. Nigeria has just two points and will have to play far better than what they have shown in their last two games in the 2023 AFCON.
2 . Geoffrey Kondogbia’s header shocks Mali
Geoffrey Kondogbia’s 79th-minute header shocked the almost-filled Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako. Brest’s 20-year-old midfielder, Kamory Doumbia put the host in front in the 76th minute but the former France U-20 star, Kondogbia, 30, levelled the score three minutes later.
Expectations in Mali ahead of their first three games in the qualifiers are as high as they planned for Operation 9 points but the plan has gone bad for them.
Eric Chelle will rue the missed opportunity for Mali to record back-to-back wins in this international window.
3. Kwasi Appiah records his first win for Sudan
At the Martyrs of February Stadium in Benghazi, Libya, James Akwaai Appiah’s Sudan recorded their first victory of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers with a 1-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Charles Pickel’s 79th-minute own goal sealed a sweet victory for Sudan which has earned them four points in their two games. This is very astonishing because Akwasi Appiah has been in charge for just three months.
In a group with Senegal, DR Congo, Togo, Mauritania and South Sudan, Sudan has a slim chance but can gather momentum for the 2025 AFCON qualifiers with good performances in the group.
4. Seychelles: Africa’s version of San Marinho
Ranked 195, only better than Somalia in October’s FIFA rankings, Seychelles are true minnows in African football just like UEFA’s San Marinho. 14 goals have been conceded in the two games of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers with Ivory Coast thrashing them by 9-0 and Kenya destroying them 5-0.
Seychelles since 2016 has not beaten any African opponents and has won just two games. These two wins came against Sri Lanka (2021) and Bangladesh (2023). With 23 goals conceded in their last five games, Seychelles are simply Africa’s version of San Marinho.
5. Djamel Belmadi’s Algeria is back to its brilliant best
Riyad Mahrez, Nabil Bentaleb, Islam Slimani, Sofiane Feghouli, Aissa Mandi, Baghdad Bounedjah, Youcef Atal and Ramy Bensebaini remain the core of the Algerian national team. These guys’ experiences can never be measured and Djamel Belmadi has blended them with the youth.
Ramiz Zerrouki, Rayan Ait Nouri, Gouiri, Fares Chaibi, Houssem Aouar, Hicham Boidaoui and Yasser Larouci are the future of the Desert Warriors. A 2-0 win in Mozambique has rounded off a wonderful international break as Djamel Belmadi’s side is back to where they belong after a horrible 2022.
6. Bafana Bafana fails to capitalize on Super Eagles’ slip
In Butare, Rwanda, South Africa failed to take huge advantage of Nigeria’s slip against Zimbabwe as they lost 2-0 to Rwanda. Innocent Nshuti and Gilbert Mugisha’s goals condemned the Bafana Bafana to their first defeat in the qualifiers. A win for South Africa would have helped them take a four-point lead over Nigeria but Hugo Brooks and his lads failed to deliver.
Rwanda surprisingly leads the table with four points after two games.
7. Comoros has proven to be the best in Group I so far
On top of the table With 6 points from two goals, 5 goals scored and 2 goals conceded, Comoros beats every team in Group I on almost every statistic. The Coelacanths are two points above second-placed Mali with Ghana lying in third with just three points.
Comoros shocked the African continent by beating Ghana once again on Tuesday. In the 2021 AFCON, Comoros won 3-2 in Goroua against Ghana. Maolida’s brilliant solo goal sealed the win for Comoros today. Comoros, a very tinny country, is punching above their weight in football.
8. Morocco begins their 2026 World Cup campaign with a win at Benjamin Nkapa Stadium
After resting in the first week due to Eritrea’s decision not to take part in the qualifiers, Morocco travelled to Dar es Salam to face Tanzania. Walid Regragui’s warriors won 2-0 with goals from Hakim Ziyech in the 28th minute and an own goal in the 53rd minute from Lusajo Mwaikenenda after Hakimi had missed a 3rd-minute penalty
Morocco started their consistent back four of Achraf, Mazraoui, Aguerd and Saiss with Bono in post with Amrabat sitting in front of the defence. This is the same back four that prevented Croatia, Portugal, Belgium and Spain from scoring against them at the Qatar World. With Khanous, Harit and Adli all starting as playmakers, Morocco remains tough and remains the team to beat on the continent.
9. Dakonam Djene and co hold Mane, Sarr and Ndiaye to a goalless draw in Lome
Senegal and Sudan both have four points in Group B with Dr Congo on three and Togo with two points after two games.
The back four of Darkonam Djene, Roger Aholou, Romao and Loic Besseile were able to contain the dangerous attack of Senegal. Aliou Cisse started Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Iliman Ndiaye but was never able to score as Togo defended pretty well due to the leadership of Darkonam Djene, the skipper of Getafe.
Senegal resumes the qualifiers next year with a home match against Dr Congo while Togo will welcome South Sudan.
10. Only 44 goals were scored in Week two in the qualifiers
Week one of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers produced 77 goals and 16 wins in 26 matches in Africa.
In Week two, just 44 goals were scored in the same number of matches and 19 wins were recorded.
Week one was much more exciting than Week 2. Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Gabon and Comoros all have 100% winning records having won their two games played so far.
53 countries instead of 54 are fighting for 9 slots in the USA-Canada-Mexico World Cup in 2026. Eritrea is the only country that has decided to not take part.