Sadio Mane (left)
* Percy Tau and Khuliso Mudau goals gave South Africa a 2-1 over Benin in Durban
* Tanzania won 1-0 away to Niger in Group E as back-to-back qualifiers continue till Tuesday
Saudi Arabia-based star, Sadio Mane bagged a brace while Pape Sarr and Lamine Camara grabbed one each as African champions Senegal cruised to a 4-0 victory over South Sudan on Saturday during their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
In what was a one-sided affair, Senegal wasted no time asserting control, taking the lead inside 60 seconds through Sarr’s composed finish before Mane then doubled the advantage on six minutes, emphatically firing home after Habib Diallo’s clever set-up play.
On 29 minutes, South Sudan were fortunate that goalkeeper Majak Mawith only received a yellow for upending Mane when clean through but the Teranga Lions soon had a deserved third goal as Idrissa Gueye teed up Camara to smash home on the stroke of halftime.
Mane then converted a penalty in the 57th minute to put the result beyond any doubt at 4-0 and the hosts should have added more goals against the overwhelmed South Sudanese but Mane and others were withdrawn once the points were sealed.
Senegal next date Togo on Tuesday, while South Sudan ‘host’ Mauritania in neutral Diamniadio.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Percy Tau and Khuliso Mudau goals gave South Africa a 2-1 victory over Benin in Group C in Durban while Tanzania won 1-0 away to Niger in Group E thanks to Charles M’Mombwa’s second-half strike.
Steve Mounie pulled one back late for Benin to make for a nervy finale, but Bafana Bafana held on.
The African qualifiers continues today with five matches across the continent, headlined by heavyweights Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt tackling Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone respectively.
Other results since Wednesday when Match Day 1 began are:
* Equatorial Guinea 1-0 Namibia
* Malawi 1-0 Liberia
* Tunisia 4-0 São Tomé e Principe
* Côte d’Ivoire 9-0 Seychelles
* Cameroon 3-0 Mauritius
* Ghana 1-0 Madagascar
* Comoros Islands 4-2 Central African Republic
* Egypt 6-0 Djibouti
* Nigeria 1-1 Lesotho
* Algeria 3-1 Somalia
* Gabon 2-1 Kenya
* Burundi 3-2 The Gambia
* Sudan 1-1 Togo * Cape Verde 0-0 Angola
* DRC 2-0 Mauritania
With 40 African sides vying for just nine direct World Cup spots, plus one inter-confederation playoff place, the stakes are enormous from the outset.
The 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup tournament is through a complex qualification as the final — to be hosted jointly by the United States of America, Mexico and Canada — will have 48 participating countries instead of the conventional 32 giving an advantage for Africa to field more teams.
The top team from each group after Match Day 10 shall earn an automatic qualification for the 2026 World Cup finals and additionally, the four best second-placed teams from all nine groups will engage in a continental playoff, determining a single victor who will then proceed to a second and final playoff.
This final stage will comprise six teams from various confederations, with the top two emerging as qualified participants, ultimately making up the 48 competing teams.
The Match Days began this week, November 13-21, 2023 and the next match days will be held on June 3-11, 2024; March 17-25, 2025; September 1-9, 2025; October 6-14, 2025; and November 10-18, 2025.