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.
|´I like to spend money´ - Wenger|
|´It was beautiful to watch´ - Szczesny after Roma´s 6-1 loss to Barca|
|Simeone: Atletico won´t settle for draw|
|City must believe they can win Champions League - Hart|
|Gerrard confirms Liverpool training return|
|Rooney told to make China move by Eriksson|
|Vanhaezebrouck: Overachieving Gent deserve to advance|
|Barca an ´unbeatable machine´ - Garcia|
|Jokanovic proud of Maccabi progress|
|Luis Enrique wants more after Barcelona hit Roma for six|
|Sevilla in talks to keep hold of Banega|
|Guardiola ´satisfied´ after Bayen brush aside Olympiacos|
|We are thinking about Arsenal now, admits Silva|
|Mourinho plays down Costa row|
|Messi: It feels good to be back for Barcelona|
|Victory will spur us on - Rebrov|
|Arsenal will go through - Dinamo boss Mamic|
|Cahill delighted with Chelsea display in Maccabi win|
|Suarez thrilled to see Messi star on return|
|Bedimo bemoans ´wasteful´ Lyon|
|Layun calls for Porto response after loss|
|Lahm praises Bayern Munich after heavy home win|
|Roma ´lucky´ to lose 6-1 at Barcelona - Maicon|
|Terry a doubt for Tottenham match - Mourinho|
|Wenger: I´ve never seen Ozil in the box so much|
|Zenit have ´moral responsibility´ to beat Gent - Villas-Boas|
|Bellerin backs Arsenal to challenge for Champions League|
|Cocu: I hope United fans don´t boo Moreno|
|Maccabi Tel Aviv 0 Chelsea 4: Mourinho´s men overwhelm 10-man hosts|
|Lyon 1 Gent 2: Stoppage-time strike puts Fournier´s side out|
|Bayern Munich 4 Olympiacos 0: First-half blitz too much for sorry Greeks|
|Porto 0 Dynamo Kiev 2: Visitors stay alive with win|
|Barcelona 6 Roma 1: Messi, Suarez run riot|
|Arsenal 3 Dinamo Zagreb 0: Sanchez stars as Gunners stay alive|
|Silva, Bony could face Southampton - Pellegrini|
|Schmidt annoyed by wasteful Leverkusen|
|Sevilla squad ready to win, insists Emery|
|Nuno: Valencia won´t fail in Mestalla ´final´|
|Celtic and Dundee discussing Stateside fixture|
|Suarez has joined Messi and Ronaldo in world´s top three - Gerrard|
|Pellegrini wants Sevilla repeat against Juventus|
|Navas has belief in Real Madrid team-mates|
|Messi starts for Barcelona in Roma clash|
|Allegri demands Champions League impact from Juve|
|Zenit 2 Valencia 0: Shatov makes it five from five for Villas-Boas´ men|
|BATE 1 Bayer Leverkusen 1: Draw sees Barcelona qualify|
|Van Persie dismisses links to Chelsea and Barcelona|
|Benitez talks up Madrid unity after Clasico humbling|
|Marchisio wary of Manchester City ´backlash´|
|´Cheap´ Mourinho has ´let himself down as a manager and a man´ - Parker|
|Blanc: Ibrahimovic not a machine|
|Qarabag v Tottenham: Rose hails Pochettino with Spurs in peak form|
|Celtic v Ajax: Rogic bullish about progression chances|
|Club Brugge-Napoli fixture to be played behind closed doors|
|Euro 2016 fan zones to go ahead|
|Ibrahimovic: I will retire if I no longer feel good enough|
|Benfica can cope without Luisao and Gaitan - Rui Vitoria|
|Van Gaal wants a winger but won´t be drawn on Robben|
|Man discharged from hospital after White Hart Lane stabbing|
|FC Krasnodar v Borussia Dortmund: Hosts eye qualification|
|Liverpool v Bordeaux: Klopp´s loving touch inspires Mignolet|
|Van Gaal confirms Rooney, Martial fit to face PSV|
|Garcia hints he could end career at Roma|
|Ibrahimovic return will be special, says Rosenberg|
|Materazzi takes swipe at Benitez|
|Schubert determined to pip Sevilla to third place|
|No Napoli fans allowed at Club Brugge Europa League match|
|Rooney, Martial resume Manchester United training|
|De Gea expects Depay to hit top form|
|Platini lawyer claims FIFA Ethics Committee seeking life ban for UEFA president|
|De Jong finding it tough to stay patient at Newcastle|
|Struggling Stuttgart fire Zorniger|
|Yaya Toure: Manchester City want quadruple|
|Manchester United always believed in me - Lingard|
|Mascherano ruled out of Roma clash|
|Barca speculation an honour - Florenzi|
|Ibrahimovic adamant PSG can win Champions League|
|Pieters open to Stoke renewal|
|Di Maria back for PSG, Pastore and Lavezzi still out|
|De Boer backs Depay to emulate Manchester United great Ronaldo|
|Neville: Manchester City should be walking Premier League|
|Arsenal would take Europa League seriously - Wenger|
|PSG to make further tribute to Paris attack victims|
|Benzema one of the world´s best, says Ancelotti|
|Mourinho: Chelsea can still win Champions League|
|Franjic talks up City´s title chances|
|Gerrard to play with Liverpool legends in Sydney|
|Europa League Preview: Celtic facing crucial clash, Liverpool poised|
|Neville: Vardy must prove form against big teams|
|Ranieri: I beat Van Gaal´s Barca three times in 10 days|
|Pochettino bemoans Tottenham´s busy fixture list|
|Hazard better as a winger - Mourinho|
|Aguero: City ready to challenge for Champions League|
|Zidane is ready for Madrid job - Ancelotti|
|Palace had no answer to defensive Sunderland - Pardew|
|Mamic hits back at Wenger|
|Allardyce: Focusing on defence is the way to go|
|Sunderland deserved good fortune for winner, says delighted Defoe|
|Getafe 1 Rayo Vallecano 1: Jozabed makes up for error|
|Crystal Palace 0 Sunderland 1: Defoe nets vital late winner|
|Garcia not intimidated by brilliant Barcelona|
|Borussia Monchengladbach v Sevilla: Vitolo eager for return to winning ways|
|Perez dismisses Ronaldo exit talk|
|Juventus v Manchester City: Chiellini wary of City after Liverpool humiliation|
|Perez backs Benitez despite Clasico disaster|
|Olympiacos are facing the world´s best, says Silva|
|Chelsea reveal £23.1million loss and drop in turnover|
|Pugh signs new Bournemouth contract|
|Ancelotti backs Benitez but open to Madrid return|
|Dani Alves: Google is more intelligent than my critics|
|Gala reach agreement in principle with Denizli|
|Wenger accuses UEFA of ´accepting doping´|
|Manchester United v PSV: Mata has sights on top spot|
|Nadal expects Rafael to stick with uncle Toni|
|Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid: Benitez seeks response after Clasico humiliation|
|Hernanes out for three weeks with thigh injury|
|No Marcelo or Ramos for Madrid|
|Mertesacker: Bayern win shows Arsenal can progress in Champions League|
|Mourinho blasts lack of respect shown to Madrid|
|Guardiola primed for ´final´ showdown with Olympiacos|
|Madrid hit with Marcelo injury blow|
|Wenger supports Benitez amid Real pressure|
|Proceedings opened against Blatter and Platini|
|Malmo v Paris Saint-Germain: Ibrahimovic relishing return to hometown club|
|Luis Enrique calls for patience over Messi fitness|
|Neuer wary of Olympiacos ahead of crunch clash|
|Ronaldo has to shoulder Clasico blame - Dani Alves|
|Coquelin out for at least two months|
|Perez calls press conference at Real Madrid|
|Atletico Madrid v Galatasaray: Hosts out to finish the job at Vicente Calderon|
|Lukaku to move family out of Brussels home amid terror threat|
|Sissoko thanks Newcastle fans for support after hard week|
|Pires concerned by Arsenal´s remaining Champions League tests|
|Henderson confident he is nearing return|
|Lahm sceptical Guardiola could have more success elsewhere|
|Xavi revels in Barcelona´s Clasico ´lesson´|
|Liverpool starting to believe after City rout, claims Lovren|
|Insigne targets Italy recall|
|´Honest´ Platini can still be FIFA president - Blatter|
|Montella: Sampdoria players need self belief|
|Vardy reveals secrets to record scoring form|
|Milner: City will bounce back from defeat|
|Astana v Benfica: Undermanned visitors eye last 16|
|MLS Review: Timbers, Crew claim first-leg wins|
|CSKA Moscow v Wolfsburg: Prolific Bundesliga side face out-of-form Russians|
|Hazard: Mourinho the best manager for Chelsea|
|Bale: I´ll never say never to Premier League return|
|Zidane dismisses replacing Benitez at Madrid|
|Klopp calls for better home displays|
|Sagna felt unprepared to face Liverpool after Paris attacks|
|Table-topping Inter only fifth favourites for Scudetto - Mancini|
|Delighted Simeone plays down Atletico´s title hopes|