LAGOS (AFP) - Nigeria were the biggest casualty as fellow favourites Cameroon and DR Congo qualified for the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) to be hosted by Sudan next year.
For the second time running in the competition designed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to expose players from the local leagues of the continent, Nigeria failed to qualify for the tournament proper after they were upset 2-0 on aggregate by Niger.
Niger won the first leg 2-0 in Niamey before they held the Nigerian home-based Eagles to a goalless draw at a packed Sani Abacha Stadium in the northern city of Kano on Sunday to book their ticket to their first-ever full international competition finals.
Nigeria paraded a much-changed team from the first encounter in Niger in a bid to win by a convincing margin on Sunday, but Niger goalkeeper Lousseni Doumbia Issah pulled off several heroics including saving a 36th minute penalty taken by Chibuzor Okonkwo as the visitors defended till the last minute.
Nigeria failed to qualify for the inaugural tournament in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, last year when they were eliminated by perennial rivals Ghana.
However, Cameroon, DR Congo and Ghana lived up to their billing by booking their places in next year's tournament.
Cameroon, who failed to reach last year's competition, were the first team besides hosts Sudan to qualify for the 2011 edition after a comfortable 3-0 win over Congo in Yaounde.
The first leg ended 1-1 before Cameroon took command in the second half of the return fixture with goals from Eyenga Anicet, Julian and Edgar Momasso Saly to ensure qualification.
Congo will now play Gabon in May for a chance to qualify for the tournament proper after defending champions DR Congo defeated Gabon 3-2 on aggregate at the weekend.
Ghana, who reached last year's championship game against DR Congo, are also through to Sudan 2011 courtesy of a 1-0 win in Accra.
The teams played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg, before Bismark Idan netted the match winner for Ghana in the second leg match.
South Africa will now tackle Zambia in the next round of the qualifiers after they defeated Botswana 2-1 in Johannesburg with a brace from Bloemfontein Celtic striker Moses Spandeel.
Tony Odur grabbed a hat-trick as Uganda trounced Burundi 4-0 in Kampala for a 5-1 aggregate victory.
"It was a difficult game but I'm happy with the display. People shouldn't expect miracles but if we continue playing well, we have a chance," said Uganda coach, Bobby Williamson.
Tanzania recorded an even more convincing 6-0 victory over the Ocean Stars of Somalia in Dar-es-Salaam in a one-off tie after war-torn Somalia could not host a second leg fixture.
The Cranes will now battle Rwanda for a spot in Sudan.
The fairy tale run of Seychelles continued after they were held to a 1-1 draw in Windhoek by better fancied hosts Namibia.
The islanders won the first game by a lone strike before they took the lead in the return leg through Don Anacouza.
Namibia drew level a minute later and even though they had Rachim Padayachy sent off seven minutes from the end, Seychelles held on to advance to the next stage of the qualifying tournament, where they face Zimbabwe.
Malawi were punished for a defensive blunder by hosts Mozambique, who won 1-0 in front of a packed June 25 Stadium in Nampula, but they stay alive in the championship after they won the first leg 3-0 at home.
Togo fell 2-1 to last year's tournament hosts Ivory Coast in Lome. It was a first leg qualifier with the return leg slated for April 11 in Abidjan.
Angola, Mali, Senegal and Zimbabwe were the other teams who this past weekend progressed in the CHAN qualifying tournament, while matches involving Morocco and Tunisia as well as Libya and Algeria have been rescheduled till next month.
|Mancini: Inter need more players|
|Napoli target Soriano ´only wants Milan´ - De Laurentiis|
|Lovren determined to make amends after nightmare showing|
|Llorente laments Sevilla luck|
|Monk: Shelvey worthy of England selection|
|Sabatini apologises to Genoa over Iturbe U-turn|
|MLS Review: Red Bulls keep DC down, Sounders trump Timbers|
|Martinez: Stones didn´t mean to submit transfer request|
|Simeone hails Atletico performance|
|Di Maria: I was impatient to play|
|La Liga Review: Eibar down Supercopa holders|
|Raul Garcia set to join Bilbao|
|Garcia confident Roma are heading in the right direction|
|Serie A Review: Roma punish 10-man Juve, Eder thwarts Napoli|
|Mancini demands killer instinct from Inter after Carpi scare|
|Allegri praises Juve spirit in poor display at Roma|
|Monaco 0 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Cavani up and running as PSG march on|
|Carpi 1 Inter 2: Jovetic double settles lacklustre encounter|
|Sevilla 0 Atletico Madrid 3: Hosts thwarted once again by Simeone|
|Inter land Wolfsburg´s Perisic|
|Shelvey and Vardy named in England squad|
|Montero injury nothing serious - Monk|
|Van Gaal in the dark over De Gea future|
|Werder Bremen 2 Borussia Monchengladbach 1: Vestergaard seals first win|
|Roma 2 Juventus 1: Pjanic and Dzeko down stuttering champions|
|United could not cope with Swansea - Van Gaal|
|Monk: Swansea are a Premier League force|
|Lyon swoop for Malaga midfielder Darder|
|Tuchel hails table toppers Dortmund|
|No complaints for Neil after Southampton loss|
|Swansea City 2 Manchester United 1: Gomis spoils Van Gaal´s day|
|De Bruyne relieved to complete City switch|
|Koeman stands firm over Mane and Wanyama futures|
|Bahebeck rushed to hospital with chest pains|
|Borussia Dortmund 3 Hertha Berlin 1: Tuchel maintains perfect start|
|Manchester City complete De Bruyne swoop|
|Weihrauch strikes twice as Bayern overpower fans|
|Saint-Etienne 2 Bastia 1: Two sent off in first defeat of the season for visitors|
|Southampton 3 Norwich City 0: Tadic at the double for Koeman´s men|
|Paderborn swoop for Kirch|
|Bayern loan Coman from Juventus|
|Schalke will not rush decision over Wolfsburg target Draxler|
|Fenerbahce secure Markovic loan|
|O´Neill trims Ireland squad to 28|
|Sherwood: I´ve done my hamstring|
|Dante set for Wolfsburg switch|
|Neymar knows nothing of Man United interest|
|Ibisevic leaves Stuttgart for Hertha|
|International break unwelcome for Mourinho|
|Muto a ´perfect fit´ for Mainz|
|Lampard pledges NYC commitment|
|Van Gaal: I listen to Rooney|
|MLS Review: Whitecaps falter, Eastern Conference heats up|
|´I think a yellow would have been harsh´ - Noble baffled by his red card|
|Rodriguez´s quality ´unquestionable´ - Benitez|
|Abdennour chooses Valencia|
|Giovinco to fly to Italy despite injury|
|La Liga Review: Real Madrid, Celta notch big wins|
|Mihajlovic: I feel like I lost|
|Real Madrid 5 Real Betis 0: Rodriguez scores twice in Benitez´s first Bernabeu win|
|Balotelli has a lot of work to do, declares Bacca|
|Luis Enrique delighted with Vermaelen´s form|
|Bundesliga Review: Leverkusen no match for Muller-inspired Bayern, Frankfurt thump Stuttgart|
|Milan 2 Empoli 1: Adriano header seals first league win for Mihajlovic|
|Ligue 1 Review: Fekir hat-trick inspires Lyon, Reims take Lorient apart|
|Barcelona 1 Malaga 0: Vermaelen rewards patient champions|
|Muller denies Van Gaal contact|
|Pochettino not concerned about goalless Kane|
|Martinez hails ´immense´ Stones|
|Flores not concerned by lack of Watford goals|
|Evans completes West Brom switch|
|Howe remains upbeat despite concerning injuries|
|Rash Cattermole frustrating Advocaat|
|Bayern Munich 3 Bayer Leverkusen 0: Muller marks 200th appearance in style|
|Tottenham 0 Everton 0: Howard keeps hosts at bay|
|Sako gives Palace new dimension - Pardew|
|Rodgers rues self-inflicted Liverpool defeat|
|Villa were robbed during Sunderland draw, blasts Sherwood|
|Football League Review: Brighton move top, Orient maintain winning start|
|I wish I had a fourth substitute, says Chelsea boss Mourinho|
|Pulis hails West Brom match-winner Rondon|
|´Gladiator´ spirit is more important than anything - Ranieri|
|Bilic defends ´park the bus´ tactics after Anfield win|
|Pellegrini quiet on De Bruyne after record-breaking win|
|Hughes fumes at Stoke dismissals after West Brom loss|
|Mourinho: Chelsea did not deserve Palace defeat|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Celtic return to the summit as Hearts suffer surprise defeat|
|Liverpool 0 West Ham 3: Defensive woes return for Rodgers´ men|
|Manchester City 2 Watford 0: Sterling opens account as City become record breakers|
|Bournemouth 1 Leicester City 1: Vardy rescues a point|
|Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Late Ward winner seals dramatic victory|
|Stoke City 0 West Brom 1: Rondon gives Pulis win over nine-man hosts|
|Aston Villa 2 Sunderland 2: M´Vila and Lens secure hard-fought point|
|Blackett moves to Celtic on loan|
|McClaren laments ´harsh´ Mitrovic red|
|Wenger: Arsenal ´cautious´ in Newcastle win|
|Sevilla can mirror Atletico strengths - Simeone|
|Ibrahimovic and Di Maria in PSG squad for Monaco clash|
|Newcastle United 0 Arsenal 1: Mitrovic off as Coloccini own goal settles it|
|Barca´s Suarez ends Sevilla loan to make Villarreal switch|
|Allegri confirms imminent Coman departure|
|Garcia demands more ahead of Juve clash|
|Knee injury sidelines Ozil|
|Dortmund boost defence with Mainz´s Park|
|Ruddy hoping to impress Hodgson|
|Wolfsburg proved there is life after De Bruyne - Hecking|
|Van Gaal unsure if Romero will replace De Gea long-term|
|Dzeko wants Totti partnership at Roma|
|No excuses for City - Pellegrini|
|San Jose Earthquakes 1 LA Galaxy 0: Salinas´ header levels Cali Clasico tally|
|Koeman plays down expectations|
|Stuttgart´s Langerak suffers surgery setback|
|Rodgers hails Milner´s leadership, mentality|
|Conte hints at Giovinco recall, doesn´t rule out Balotelli|
|Martinez slams Chelsea over Stones pursuit|
|Leverkusen are title contenders - Guardiola|
|Babel in sexism controversy|
|Pellegrini prepared to wait for Otamendi|
|Sevilla v Atletico Madrid: Llorente hoping to repay faith|
|Veloso back for Portugal|