Gabon stunned reigning World Champions, Nigeria, 2-1 in Libreville, Mali humbled Tunisia 2-1 in Bamako whilst Guinea managed a lone goal win over Togo in Casablanca in Sunday’s matches of the first leg of the final round qualifiers.
The three teams join Ghana, South Africa and Zambia, who have a foot each at the final tournament courtesy victories in earlier games on Friday and Saturday.
The Gabonese survived a Victor Osimhen fourth minute opener, rallying back through Horly Moudouhy on 26 minutes before completing his brace on 80 minutes to seal victory.
Ghana and South Africa moved to pole position after claiming victories in the final round first leg qualifiers on Saturday.
Whilst Ghana’s Black Starlets were 2-1 winners away over the ‘Les Lions Cadets’ of Cameroon in Yaounde, the Amajibos of South Africa accounted for the Young Pharaohs of Egypt by a similar scoreline in Rustenburg.
Avoiding defeats in the second leg matches in a fortnight will hand the duo places for next year’s eight nation tournament.
The Starlets, playing for the first time in the campaign following the withdrawal of their opponents at the previous rounds dominated their hosts and deservingly edged them in front of their fans.
On the half-hour mark, the Ghanaians went up through Ernest Agyiri before Issa Abbas scored the second on 40 minutes.
On the stroke of half time, Martin Hongla reduced the deficit with a long range effort that beat Ghana goalie Benjamin Asiedu. However, the Ghanaians held on to cruise to crucial victory.
In Rustenburg, Reeve Frosler broke the deadlock early in the game for the Amajimbos and Walid Attia Mourad restored parity for the Young Pharaohs just before the break. SuperSport United forward Nelson Maluleke scored the winner later in the second half.
At the Coqueiros Stadium in Luanda, Angola were held to a 1-1 draw by Cote d’Ivoire setting the stage for a crunch affair in the return leg.
Kofi Frank Kouao opened the scores for the Ivorians on 77 minutes before Nelson Da Luz equalized for the hosts a minute later.
Earlier on Friday, Zambia overpowered Uganda 2-0 with Nchanga Rangers forward, Patson Daka and Edwin Chipile scoring in either half.
The second leg will take place in a fortnight with the overall winners qualifying for the finals in Niger in March next year.
The winner will qualify for the final tournament scheduled for 15 February – 1 March next year in Niger.
The semi-finalists at the continental championship will represent Africa at the FIFA U-17 World Cup fixed for 17 October – 8 November in Chile.
12-09-2014 Zambia 2-0 Uganda 15H00
13-09-2014 Cameroon 1-2 Ghana 15H00
13-09-2014 Angola 1-1 Côte d'Ivoire 15H30
13-09-2014 South Africa 2-1 Egypt 18H00
14-09-2014 Gabon 2-1 Nigeria 15H30
14-09-2014 Mali 2-0 Tunisia 15H00
14-09-2014 Guinea 1-0 Togo 17H00 (In Casablanca)