Ivory Coast’s World Cup qualifying got off to a good start with a 2-0 win over Gambia, one of five countries that won away matches in group play on Monday. Christian Kouame and Seko Fofana scored the goals for Ivory Coast in Dar-es-Salaam, where Gambia hosted the match due to stadium conditions. Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Madagascar also had away victories, with Mali being held to a surprising home draw.
The Ivorians are now at the top of Group F, tied on six points with Gabon. Kenya moved into third place with three points after their 5-0 win over the Seychelles in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The Seychelles is one of 19 African countries banned from using their home stadiums.
Kenya, recently back from a two-year FIFA ban, scored three goals in the first half and two more in the second to secure the victory over the Seychelles. Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue scored the only goal against 10-man Liberia, putting his team at the top of Group H. Guinea Bissau and Madagascar also secured wins in their Group A and Group I matches.
Mali scored first in their home match against the Central African Republic, but the lead was short-lived, and the match ended in a draw. Only the group winners will advance to the 2026 finals, with the four best runners-up getting a chance to qualify through two playoff tournaments.
Fifteen more qualifiers are scheduled for Tuesday, including Morocco’s first match in Group E against Tanzania in Dar-es-Salaam.