South Africa suffered a shock 3-0 loss to visiting Lesotho on Sunday to bow out of qualifying for the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon.
With clubs refusing to release players as the game clashed with the opening day of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League the hosts were forced to field a young, makeshift side.
Despite fielding under-strength side South Africa were expected to overturn the 3-2 loss away in the first leg of the tie last weekend.
Instead Lesotho scored three second-half goals to compete a 6-2 aggregate win and book a date with Zimbabwe to qualify for the finals in Cameroon next year.
After a goaless first half it was Jane Thaba Ntso with two goals and Hlompho Kalake that secured the win.
Kenya were another casualty after losing 4-1 on penalties in Nairobi following a second 0-0 draw with east African neighbours Tanzania in successive weekends.
Erasto Nyoni, Paulo Nyanganya, Gadiel Michael and Salim Hamis converted spot-kicks for the visitors while only Clifton Miheso was on target for Kenya.
The match attracted a 30,000 crowd to the Kasarani Stadium after Kenyan officials slashed ticket prices up to 80 percent to 100 shillings ($0.96/0.86 euros).
Togo ended an 11-year wait for a first CHAN qualifying win when they edged Benin 1-0 in Lome through a Marouf Tchakei goal on 70 minutes.
It was the only goal of the two-leg tie and earned Togo a crack at 2018 runners-up Nigeria in the final qualifying round during September and October.
In another close encounter, Madagascar needed away goals to squeeze past Mozambique after losing 3-2 in Maputo.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the Mozambicans raced to a three-goal half-time lead through a Luis Miquissone brace and one goal from Dayo Antonio.
But Madagascar netted twice early in the second half via Arnaud Randrianantenaina and Lalaina Nomenjanahary to book a showdown with Namibia.
Prince Dube emulated Ugandan Patrick Kaddu by scoring a second leg hat-trick, which gave Zimbabwe a 3-1 win over Mauritius in Bulawayo and a 7-1 overall success.
Previous editions have been won by the DR Congo (twice), Tunisia, Libya and Morocco.