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Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Friday, 8 April 2011 17:59 UK

Ghana clinging to Olympic dream

Ransford Osei (left) and Jonathan Mensah
Osei and Mensah were part of Ghana's Fifa U20 World Cup-winning side

Ghana face an early exit from the 2012 Olympic Games qualifying competition, as they head for Sudan this weekend trailing by one goal.

A country that has made six Games appearances and won Africa's first football medal (bronze in 1992) was not expected to be too troubled by the Sudanese.

But Sudan, who scraped through the previous round after a solitary-goal success over war-ravaged Somalia, triumphed 1-0 in Accra a fortnight ago thanks to an injury-time strike.

In response, Ghana called up senior Black Stars Dominic Adiyiah, Lee Addy, David Addy, Andre 'Dede' Ayew, Samuel Inkoom, Ransford Osei and Jonathan Mensah - but only the latter pair will be in Sudan.

Cameroon and South Africa are other leading football nations in uncomfortable positions after failing to maximise home advantage against Tanzania and Libya respectively.

A Mark Pangwoh brace earned Cameroon a 2-1 home victory over Tanzania, but the 2000 gold medallists may rue conceding a late first-half goal and missing a penalty.

WEEKEND FIXTURES (first leg scores in brackets)
Libya (2) v South Africa (4)
Mozambique (0) v Morocco (2)
Malawi (0) v Tunisia (2)
Congo (0) v Uganda (1)
Angola (0) v Senegal (0)
Guinea (0) v Mali (0)
DR Congo (2) v Burkina Faso (1)
Eq. Guinea (0) v Nigeria (5)
Swaziland (1) v Gabon (3)
Madagascar (0) v Algeria (3)
Sudan (1) v Ghana (0)
Botswana (0) v Egypt (2)
Tanzania (1) v Cameroon (2)
Postponed: Liberia (0) v Ivory Coast (4)
Already through: Benin, Zambia

South Africa were cruising midway through the second half at home to Libya with a four-goal advantage, but a bizarre own goal and a last-minute strike halved their advantage.

This tie will be staged in the Malian capital Bamako as conflict rages in Libya.

South Africa's squad has been boosted by the return of midfielders Thulani Serero and Andile Jali, who both missed the first leg as they were on national duty with Bafana Bafana.

"We conceded two goals at home, so we cannot go and play defensive football, we have to play our attacking game but also be cautious in the process," said South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba.

Southern Africa's other contenders enjoy home advantage but Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland must all cancel two-goal deficits against Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Gabon respectively.

Malawi will be without Junior Flames captain Limbikani Mzava and striker Harvey Mkacha, who have both been ruled out with injury.

"This is a sad development," said coach Alex Masanjala. "With a two-goal deficit, we need a very attacking side and the missing players could have been influential."

Angola are better off, having held Senegal to a goalless draw in Dakar, while the Congo-Uganda is wide open after the Ugandans' 1-0 win at home in the first leg.

After Algeria defeated Madagascar 3-0 in the first leg, it is hard to see the islanders turning the tables in Antananarivo while DR Congo look a safe bet having triumphed 2-1 in Burkina Faso.

The 'bankers' of the 14-match schedule must be Nigeria, runners-up to Argentina at the 2008 Beijing Games, who thumped Equatorial Guinea 5-0 at home and rendered the return leg largely meaningless.

Elsewhere, Zambia are already through to the third round after completing a 3-0 overall victory over Rwanda in Kigali last weekend while Benin received a bye when The Gambia withdrew.

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see also
Ivorian Olympic qualifier delayed
08 Apr 11 |  African
Nigeria stay local for Olympics
08 Apr 11 |  African
Ghana stars in Olympics call-up
07 Apr 11 |  African
Ghana triumphant at U20 World Cup
16 Oct 09 |  African
2012 Olympic qualifying tournament
14 Jan 11 |  African

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