Nigeria wins, SAfrica draws in Cup qualifying
Nigeria scored late to beat Namibia 1-0, while South Africa escaped with a home draw against Ethiopia in World Cup qualifying Sunday.
Libya claimed a 1-1 draw in Togo in the first round of group games, while Mali lost away to Benin in one of the surprises of the weekend.
Spain-based striker Ikechukwu Uche scored in the 80th minute to give Nigeria a Group F victory over resilient Namibia in a game relocated to Calabar because of recent bomb blasts in the Nigerian central city of Kaduna.
Uche's winner took Nigeria, under new coach and former captain Stephen Keshi, to the top of Group F even though it began qualifying without the English Premier League trio of Jon Obi Mikel, Peter Odemwingie and Taye Taiwo.
South Africa needed a 77th-minute equalizer in a Group A game to earn a point after Salahdin Said's powerful shot put the Ethiopians ahead in the 30th at Rustenburg. Striker Katlego Mphela saved a point for South Africa 13 minutes before time ran out, but coach Pitso Mosimane's team has still not won in nine games.
Kalen Damessi put Togo ahead in the eighth minute at Lome. Ahmed Zouay leveled seven minutes later for Libya.
Mali couldn't recover after Razak Omotoyossi scored at Cotonou for a 1-0 win, taking Benin to the top of Group H alongside Algeria with a shocking win over the third-place team at the African Cup of Nations.
Uganda drew 1-1 in Angola after Emmanuel Okwi equalized three minutes from time for the visitors. Niger and Gabon drew 0-0, while Guinea won 1-0 in Zimbabwe thanks to a 25th-minute goal at Harare by Ibrahima Traore.
Zimbabwe interim coach Rahman Gumbo was missing a host of players after they were suspended in a match-fixing scandal that has rocked the game in the southern African country.
After the first weekend of games in Africa's main qualifying competition, Central African Republic is the surprise leader of Group A ahead of South Africa and Ethiopia. Nigeria took control of Group F, with Kenya and Malawi second.
Guinea joined Egypt at the top of Group G. Libya and Togo trail Cameroon in Group I.
The 10 group winners will play off at the end of next year for five places at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.