World Cup 2026 qualifying: Ghana shocked by Comoros, Senegal and Cameroon held

Ghana were beaten 1-0 by Comoros in their Group I contest in Moroni through Myziane Maolida's fine solo effort two minutes before half-time

Ghana and South Africa suffered shock defeats in qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, while Cameroon and Senegal were forced to settle for draws away from home.

Ghana were beaten 1-0 by Comoros in their Group I contest in Moroni through Myziane Maolida’s fine solo effort two minutes before half-time.

Meanwhile, Rwanda pulled off a shock 2-0 win at home against South Africa to move to the top of Group C ahead of Bafana Bafana and Nigeria.

Senegal were held to a goalless draw by Togo in Lome and Libya fought back to draw 1-1 with Cameroon in front of a fervent crowd in Benghazi.

In Morocco’s first World Cup-related match since the 2022 finals, where the team became the first African side to reach the last four, the Atlas Lions won 2-0 in Tanzania.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, there were wins for Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Uganda and Namibia, while Zambia suffered an unexpected defeat in Niger.

Africa will have a guaranteed nine teams at the expanded 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico and the United States, with the chance of a 10th team to qualify via intercontinental play-offs.

The African qualifying campaign resumes in June next year, with attentions on the continent now turning to January’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Black Stars and Bafana Bafana stunned

Ghana were unconvincing as they beat Madagascar in their opener on Friday but boss Chris Hughton dropped Mohammed Kudus to the bench as he chose to restore captain Andre Ayew to the starting XI.

Comoros had beaten the Black Stars 3-2 at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations to dump the West Africans out of the tournament in Cameroon last year, and lightning struck twice as the Coelacanths moved on to six points at the top of Group I, two ahead of Mali and three above Ghana.

Maolida picked up a pass in midfield and beat three defenders to fire in from just inside the area, and Inaki Williams headed over Ghana’s best chance in the second half.

South Africa missed a chance to go four points clear at the top of Group C after falling to an unexpected defeat in Rwanda.

Innocent Nshuti volleyed into the bottom left-hand corner to give the hosts a 12th-minute lead in a wet Butare and Gilbert Mugisha added a second from the corner of the six-yard box just before the half-hour mark.

Rwanda now top Group C on four points, one ahead of South Africa and two ahead of Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Lesotho, who drew 0-0 against Benin in Durban, South Africa as the Squirrels picked up their first point.

Senegal and Cameroon frustrated

African champions Senegal are joint top of Group B with Sudan on four points after a stalemate in Togo, who qualified for the 2006 World Cup from a group which included the Teranga Lions.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse tried to boost his attack late on by bringing on Nicholas Jackson, but the Chelsea forward scuffed an opportunity shortly after his introduction.

Togo came closest to breaking the deadlock in the closing stages, with Yav Annor and Khaled Narey missing good chances and Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy forced into making a late save.

Cameroon took the lead against Libya through Olivier Ntcham’s 34th-minute penalty, but Abdulmunem Aleiyan rifled in an equaliser nine minutes later to extend the North Africans’ unbeaten start in Group D.

Cameroon and Libya are level on four points with Cape Verde, who saw off Eswatini 2-0.

In Tuesday’s late games, Morocco won in Tanzania after goals in each half from Hakim Ziyech and then Youssef En-Nesyri, who both starred at the 2022 World Cup, with Achraf Hakimi missing a penalty.

The Dar es Salaam clash was the Moroccans’ opener in Group E after their first scheduled opponents, Eritrea, withdrew from qualifying and they sit top on goal difference, just ahead of Zambia despite their defeat in Niger.

After the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead before the half-hour, following goals from Amadou Moutari and Boubacar Goumey, Zambia halved the deficit early in the second half through Leicester City’s Patson Daka but could not find an equaliser.

Traore inspires Stallions

Bertrand Traore in action for Burkina Faso
Bertrand Traore has only made six appearances for Aston Villa this season, with all his outings coming as a late substitire

Aston Villa forward Bertrand Traore came off the bench at half-time to help Burkina Faso to a 3-0 away win against Ethiopia in neutral Morocco as the Stallions recorded their first win in Group A.

Blati Toure swept in a Traore corner at the near post in the 69th minute and, after Traore had added a second from the penalty spot nine minutes later, Bournemouth’s Dango Outtara wrapped up the scoring in the final minute.

The West Africans go second in Group A, ahead of Guinea-Bissau on goal difference, and are two points behind leaders Egypt.

A late Youssef Msaki penalty was enough to give Tunisia a 1-0 win against Malawi in Group H, which the Carthage Eagles now top on six points ahead of Equatorial Guinea on goal difference, with Namibia on three points after a 2-0 triumph ‘away’ against Sao Tome e Principe in Agadir.

Uganda picked up their first points in Group G with a 1-0 win ‘away’ to 10-man Somalia, which was played in neutral Berkane, Morocco.

Forward Rogers Mato struck in the fourth minute but, after Abdi Mohamed was sent off for a second booking on the stroke of half-time, Paul Put’s Cranes could not add to the scoreline despite dominating the second half.

In the same group, Botswana beat Guinea 1-0 to register their first win thanks to Kabelo Seakanyeng’s 79th-minute strike in Francistown.

Uganda and Botswana are both three points behind Group G leaders Algeria, who have won their two opening qualifiers.

Tuesday’s African World Cup qualifying results

  • Botswana 1-0 Guinea (Group G)
  • Ethiopia 0-3 Burkina Faso (Group A)
  • Lesotho 0-0 Benin (Group C)
  • Malawi 0-1 Tunisia (Group H)
  • Rwanda 2-0 South Africa (Group C)
  • Somalia 0-1 Uganda (Group G)
  • Eswatini 0-2 Cape Verde (Group D)
  • Comoros 1-0 Ghana (Group I)
  • Libya 1-1 Cameroon (Group D)
  • Mauritius 0-0 Angola (Group D)
  • Sao Tome e Principe 0-2 Namibia (Group H)
  • South Sudan 0-0 Mauritania (Group B)
  • Togo 0-0 Senegal (Group B)
  • Niger 2-1 Zambia (Group E)
  • Tanzania 0-2 Morocco (Group E)


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