The Warriors were shock losers on the second day of Caf’s qualifying campaign, as the Ocean Stars won their first qualifier in 35 years
Zimbabwe were stunned 1-0 by lowly Somalia in Friday’s African World Cup qualifying campaign, while there were big wins for Rwanda and Sudan as the continent’s teams took their maiden steps on the road to Qatar.
The victory was Somalia’s first in a qualifying game since they defeated Kenya in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying in 1984, their first-ever in a World Cup qualifying campaign, and their first win of any kind since January 2009.
The Warriors, who were eliminated in the group stage of the Afcon in Egypt this summer, were defeated by Bashir Hayford’s Ocean Stars in neutral Djibouti, the designated venue amidst ongoing security issues in Mogadishu, to leave themselves with much work to do heading into Sunday’s second leg in Zimbabwe.
Somalia scored the only goal of the game with an 87th-minute header by Anwar Sidali Shakunda, as the Ocean Stars, ranked 202nd in the world—Africa’s joint-lowest side—defeated the visitors, who are 90 places ahead of them in the Fifa rankings and 27th in Africa.
Zimbabwe were without Kaizer Chiefs attacker Khama Billiat, who missed the clash due to a pelvic injury, although they could still call upon the likes of captain Alec Mudimu, Marshall Munetsi and the returning Terrence Dzvukamanja.
Earlier in the day, Rwanda had bounced back from their disappointment in failing to qualify for Afcon by cruising past Seychelles 3-0.
Stronger sides have struggled on the artificial turf in Victoria, but the Amavubi had no such trouble, with Muhadjiri Hakizimana, Yannick Mukunzi and Meddie Kagere scoring the goals to send them to the brink of the Second Round.
In N’Djamena, Sudan all but ended Chad’s hopes of progression by securing a 3-1 victory to put one foot in the group stage.
Veteran attacker Ramadan Alagab scored a hat-trick during a one-sided contest, before Ezechiel Douassel pulled one back for the hosts from the spot, five minutes from time.
Of the 54 African nations competing for one of five places at the global showpiece, the lowest-ranked 28 teams are contesting two-legged First Round qualifiers, with the 14 winners advancing to join the top 26 sides in 10 four-team groups.
The 10 winners of those groups will then compete in home-and-away ties for places at the tournament in Qatar.
For the first time in history, Fifa is broadcasting all of the Round One matches across the continent live on their digital platforms.
On Tuesday, Tanzania were held by Burundi and Namibia beat Eritrea amidst several qualifiers, while Angola, Togo and Malawi are all in action—against The Gambia, Comoros and Botswana respectively—over the weekend.