Minnows Cape Verde brew a shocker by eliminated Tunisia from the World Cup Africa zone qualifying competition on Saturday after winning 2-0 in Rades.
The home side Tunisia needed just a draw to win the group by goals from Platini and Nhuck in the first half gave the Blue Sharks the three points that saw them through . Earlier in the day Ethiopia had come from behind to defeat Central African Republic 2-1 in Congo and finish top of Group A with 13 points, two more than 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa, whose 4-1 home win over Botswana in Durban proved futile.
Ethiopia, bottom seeds in a mini-league expected to be dominated by SouthAfrica, join Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria in two-leg play-offs.
Nigeria overcame Malawi 2-0 in Calabar to win Group F with the match settled early in the second half when Victor Moses converted a penalty and Malawian Limbikani Mzava was red carded. Emmanuel Emenike put the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winners ahead in first-half stoppage time against opponents who never threatened to clip the 'Super Eagles' wings.
Prejuce Nakoulma scored nine minutes after half-time to earn Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso a 1-0 Group E win over Gabon in Ouagadougou and top place. Long-time leaders Congo Brazzaville needed maximum points in Niger, but could manage only a 2-2 draw after falling behind twice to goals from Mahamane Cisse and Daouda Kamilou. Fabrice Nguessi levelled four minutes after coming off the bench and Ulrich Kapolongo grabbed the second equaliser for the 'Red Devils' 14 minutes from time.
In another closely fought encounter in Group J , Senegal left it late against Uganda who were down to ten men for all of the second half after Godfrey Walisimbi saw red in the 36th minute. Senegal score a late winner in the 84th minute through Sadio Mane to clinch top spot in the group and ensure passage to the play offs.
Cameroon are at home to Libya Sunday and a win for either country would take them through to the final round with the draw scheduled for September 16 in Cairo.
"Not qualifying for the final round is a huge personal disappointment," admitted South Africa coach Gordon Igesund, "but I am thrilled with the display." Igesund, a highly successful domestic coach with four Premiership titles, succeeded sacked Pitso Mosimane after draws with Ethiopia and Botswana. He led a much-changed team to three victories, but they lost 2-1 away to Ethiopia last June in what proved to be the decisive match.
Minyahel Teshome was an ironic 61st-minute match-winner for Ethiopia in a match switched from Bangui to Brazzaville because of post-C.A.R. coup security concerns. Teshome played in an away win over Botswana when suspended, resulting in Ethiopia being docked three points and having qualification put on hold. Central African Republic, out of the reckoning after four losses in a row,took the lead when Salif Keita scored midway through the opening half in the Congolese capital. After both goalkeepers made outstanding late opening-half saves, Salahdin Ahmed levelled three minutes into the second half.