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Page last updated at 16:52 GMT, Sunday, 10 October 2010 17:52 UK

African champions Egypt shocked by lowly Niger

Egypt react to their failure to qualify for the World Cup
Egypt were defeated 1-0 by lowly Niger

African champions Egypt fell to a shock 1-0 defeat as unfancied Niger earned a famous victory in Niamey on Sunday.

The Menas secured the win in their Group G qualifier for the 2012 African Cup of Nations.

France-based striker Ouwa Moussa Maazou scored the only goal in the 33rd minute after taking advantage of a defensive slip-up.

Maazou profited from makeshift left-back Mohamed Abdul-Shafi's blunder to hand Niger the historic win.

"The players just ignored my instructions and they all did what they wanted," said a disappointed Egypt coach Hassan Shehata.

"I warned them not to underrate the underdog, but all the same I'm responsible for this loss."

The Pharaohs, who are ranked ninth in the world, failed to threaten Niger, who are ranked 154 in the world by Fifa.

The defeat leaves Egypt at the bottom of the group as they suffered a shock in their opening group game last month when they were held 1-1 by unheralded Sierra Leone in Cairo.

Elsewhere in Group G on Sunday, Sierra Leone held leaders South Africa to a 0-0 draw in Freetown.

Without injured midfield star Steven Pienaar, South Africa failed to break through against the Leone Stars - who beat Bafana Bafana in the teams' last meeting in Freetown two years ago.

The draw sees South Africa, who had goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to thank for keeping them in the game, maintain top spot in Group G with four points, one ahead of Niger.

"My players were solid today, the defence was awesome, and the whole team fought like soldiers," said South Africa coach Pitso Mosimane.

And the man who replaced Carlos Alberto Parreira after the World Cup was enthused by Niger's unexpected triumph.

"That is a good result for us - it is unbelievable how these qualifiers go and it shows that you can't take any team for granted.

"These 2012 qualifiers are full of shocks and show there are no weak countries. We have to be extra-careful in our approach to the matches or we will be in serious danger."

Sierra Leone is third with two points from two draws, while Egypt slumps to last place in the group after a draw and a loss in its opening two qualifying matches for the 2012 African Cup in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The Pharaohs will travel to Johannesburg to face South Africa in their next game in March 2011 while Niger host Sierra Leone.

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see also
2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers
10 Apr 10 |  African
Botswana top group as Tunisia win
11 Aug 10 |  African

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