World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana cruised to a 3-0 victory over little Swaziland Sunday in an opening-round 2012 African Nations Cup qualifier.
From the moment the fixtures were released last February the only question being posed about this one was how many goals the ‘Black Stars’ would win by at Somhlolo Stadium in Lobamba.
Midfielder Andre Ayew, a son of African football legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, put Ghana ahead on 13 minutes, striker Prince Tagoe struck the second midway through the second half and defender Hans Sarpei completed the rout.
Ghana are ranked second by FIFA in Africa and Swaziland 35 so the result was entirely predictable and took the winners to the top of Group I on goal difference from Sudan, who defeated Congo 2-0 in Omdurman late Saturday.
Zambia were also in the mood for goals, scoring four without reply against international rookies Comoros Islands in Lusaka to take an early lead in Group C after Mozambique and Libya fought a goalless Maputo draw.
Comoros, a group of islands off south-east Africa and competing in the qualifiers for only the second time, admitted before a game delayed 24 hours by the late arrival of the Eritrean match officials that they had little hope.
And their defensive resistance lasted just five minutes before Rainford Kalaba gave Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) a lead that Fwayo Tembo and James Chamanga added to before half-time.
Zambia found it more difficult to carve openings in the second half and supporters had to wait until seven minutes before full-time to see the net bulge again as Emmanuel Mayuka completed the scoring.
Mozambique will be disappointed not to have taken maximum points off Libya at Machava Stadium on the outskirts of capital Maputo with the North Africans making their competitive debut under Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta.
Another new coach, Scotland-born Iffy Onuora, suffered a debut from hell as Ethiopia crumbled 4-1 at home to Guinea, leaving the East Africans with five fixtures to play and virtually no hope of making the finals.
Egypt, seeking a record eighth title and fourth in a row, launch their Group G campaign late Sunday at Cairo Stadium against Sierra Leone and are expected to win comfortably.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea will co-host the 2012 Nations Cup, the first time the tournament has officially been split between two countries since it was launched 53 years ago in Sudan.
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