Tanzania complete strong east Africa showing

Dodoma: Tanzania completed a successful Africa Cup of Nations weekend for teams from the east of the continent by drawing 2-2 in Zimbabwe on Sunday and reaching the third round.

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda also advanced, leaving Burundi and South Sudan as the failures from a region that rarely has cause to celebrate at international level.

It is 10 years since Kenya and Rwanda qualified for the finals, 34 years since Tanzania made it and 36 years since Uganda did so.

All must clear another two-leg qualifying hurdle just to make the group phase, but the Tanzanian `Taifa Stars` have reason to feel proud under new Dutch coach Mart Nooij.

They took a 1-0 lead to Harare only to make the worst start imaginable as Danny Phiri scored for the Zimbabwe `Warriors` within four minutes.

The visitors needed an away goal to soothe nerves and got it midway through the opening half from first-leg match-winner John Bocco.

It got even better for the `Taifa Stars` soon after half-time as Thomas Ulimwengu, who plays for four-time African club champions TP Mazembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo, scored.

Notoriously poor finishers Zimbabwe now faced a monumental task -- three unanswered goals in 41 minutes to salvage a tie rapidly slipping from their grasp.

All the hosts could manage was an equaliser via Willard Katsande, a bone-stinging midfield tackler known as the `Pit Bull Terrier` who plays for leading South African club Kaizer Chiefs.

Tanzania advanced 3-2 on aggregate to face Mozambique from a tie Zimbabwe were slight favourites to win given they lie 11 places above Tanzania on the CAF rankings.

Burundi paid for being held goalless at home by Botswana as they lost the return match in Lobatse 1-0 to a Joel Mogorosi goal.

The `Zebras` midfielder and captain struck 11 minutes after the break to earn his side a match-up with minnows Guinea-Bissau during July and August.

Lesotho were another southern region nation to succeed, overcoming a one-goal first-leg loss in Liberia by winning 2-0 at home.

A blistering start did the trick for the `Crocodiles` with Mabuti Potloane scoring after only four minutes and Tsepo Seturumane adding a second four minutes later.

Not the start Italian coach Roberto Landi wanted to his second spell as `Lone Stars` coach having won just two of eight matches during his first stewardship.

Liberia improved after half-time, but found a Lesotho defence marshalled by captain Moitheri Ntobo impenetrable.

Congo Brazzaville atoned for a first match loss in Namibia with a convincing 3-0 home victory on an artificial pitch in Atlantic oil city Pointe-Noire.

The `Brave Warriors` kept the `Red Devils` at bay until the stroke of half-time when Sylvere Ganvoula broke the deadlock.

Congo edged ahead on aggregate just after the break through Fode Dore and any doubts about the outcome were dispelled on 75 minutes when Ladislas Douniama got a third goal.

West Bromwich Albion midfielder Stephane Sessegnon claimed his third goal of the round as Benin repeated a 2-0 away win over Sao Tome e Principe when they hosted the islanders.

Equatorial Guinea scored twice in the final five minutes for a 3-0 victory over Mauritania in Malabo after entering the match one goal adrift.

Other overall winners included Sierra Leone and Malawi while the Seychelles got a bye after Gambia were barred for two years from all CAF competitions over age cheating.

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