South Africa and Ivory Coast secure win in Olympic qualifiers

Ivory Coast's national football team players take part in a training session on March 20, 2019 at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan, ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations Group H qualification football match against Rwanda. (Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP)

South Africa and the Ivory Coast secured impressive away wins Friday in second round first leg qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games football tournament.

Portugal-based Luther Singh created goals for Phakamani Mahlambi, Thendo Mukumela and Grant Margeman as South Africa triumphed 3-1 over Angola in Luanda.

Lopez Texeira pulled one goal back for the home side with four minutes left, but they must score at least three goals in Johannesburg this Tuesday to have a chance of survival. 

South Africa have qualified for the Olympics twice, but made first round exits in Sydney in 2000 and in Rio de Janeiro three years ago.

The result thrilled coach David Notoane as Europe-based professionals like Singh arrived in Johannesburg only on Tuesday, giving little time to build team cohesion.

Should South Africa advance to the third round during June, they will face Mozambique or Zimbabwe, who drew 0-0 in Maputo.

Meanwhile, Czech Republic-based Youssouf Dao scored after 75 minutes to earn Ivory Coast a 2-1 victory over Niger in Niamey.

Anderson Niangbo, who plays for an Austrian club, put the Ivorians ahead midway through the first half and Mahamadou Sabo levelled for Niger just before the hour.

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