Eight places are at stake for the second round. Five teams, it seems, will take a substantial advantage from the first leg wins into this weekend’s return fixtures.
Morocco, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Niger, Rwanda and Sierra Leone boosted their passage to second round with healthy victories. The first four won convincingly at home but Rwanda and Sierra Leone went one better by wining away from home in Windhoek and N’Djamena respectively.
Zimbabwe “Young Warriors” coach, Jairos Tapera whose team takes a 4-0 lead to Botswana said “This is an entirely new match. I told my players that if we were able to make quite a difference at home why would it not be possible for our opponents to do the same in their own backyard? We are ready but will have to watch out for Botswana turning the tables on us, something they are capable of. "
Mauritanian coach Mody M'Bodj’s side faces the huge challenge of reversing a 5-0 loss to Morocco and will need a miracle to do that. He said “It's been four years since we last had a junior team. This U-20 team was formed hastily in a short time and we have had little preparation.”
Meanwhile Moroccan coach Benabicha Hassan said, “The first leg result allows us to address the second leg encounter with less pressure on ourselves.”
Sharinf the same sentiment is Paul Nkata of Uganda ahead of the trip to Mozambique, “Our goal is to qualify so we go to Maputo with the desire to win. We will be positive and attack minded and not protect our four-goal lead. We must play without worrying too much about the opposition and what they need to do but instead play our normal game.”
Nkata knows that if they qualify to the second round their reward will be an encounter against a different opponent in the form of Ghana.
Sierra Leoneans entertains visiting Chad with the advantage of a 3-2 win from two weeks ago in N'Djamena. Twice they were pegged back to a level score line before taking the victory in the last five minutes thanks to their attacking midfielder Lahai Coker.
Chad tam coach, Julien Toukam Sao knows his team has no room for error and to qualify they have no alternative but to win by two clear goals in Freetown.
Tanzanian takes a 3-1 first leg win to Khartoum and accepted that the two-goal lead is reasonable but the Sudanese scored an away goal and the match still hangs in the balance with Sudan keen to put home advantage to full use and try to win by a margin that will see them through to the second round.
The return match between Libya and Tunisia has been postponed for a week at the request of Libyan officials. The match will take place on Friday, May 11 in Khartoum.