Chan 2018 qualification: Madagascar & Mauritius advance
Madagascar and Mauritius moved closer to joining hosts Kenya in next year's African Nations Championship after downing Malawi and Seychelles respectively on Saturday to advance to the second round of qualification.
The two sides have reached the 12-team next stage as they look to represent Southern Africa at the tournament -- which is reserved for players plying their trade in Africa's domestic leagues.
Mauritius advanced 2-1 on aggregate after drawing 1-1 in Saturday's second leg in the Seychelles, with AS Port Louis defender Marco Dorza scoring the decisive opener. Malawi's Flames will have been disappointed to miss out on the continental showpiece after holding Madagascar to a 0-0 draw away in the first leg.
However, it was Les Bareas who advanced when a sole away goal from Nijva Rakotoarimala was enough to take them to the next round.
Three teams will ultimately represent Southern Africa in the tournament, and Madagascar will now have to oust Mozambique to progress while Mauritius need to beat Angola in order to reach the Third Round. The winners of those two double-headers will they play off for the chance to reach Kenya.
In other Southern region second-round ties, the Comoros will square off with Lesotho, Namibia meet Zimbabwe, Botswana face South Africa and Swaziland have been drawn with Zambia. First legs are on July 14th, with the return fixtures taking place a week later on the 21st.
In the preliminary qualifier for the Central-East zone, South Sudan face Somalia on Sunday, with the Bright Star holding a 2-1 advantage after the first leg.
Reigning champions the Democratic Republic of Congo will have to beat neighbours Republic of Congo in a double header in August in order to progress.
Ed Dove is the Soccer Editor for KweséESPN. Follow him on Twitter @EddyDove.