CAPE TOWN: Yoane Wissa scored the opening goal in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 2-0 victory over Mauritania, marking the start of African 2026 World Cup qualifying on Wednesday.
Equatorial Guinea also secured a win as the two-year qualifying process began, while Zimbabwe’s return ended in a draw at Rwanda.
Bongonda sprinted more than half the field to score the second goal in the 81st minute.
DR Congo, formerly known as Zaire, last played in the World Cup in 1974 and will face tough competition from Senegal in their group.
Emilio Nsue, 34, scored the first goal of the qualifying campaign for Equatorial Guinea with a close-range shot, securing a 1-0 win over Namibia.
The former Middlesbrough and Birmingham City forward capitalized on poor defending to give his team a winning start in Group H.
Zimbabwe, returning from a FIFA ban, were held to a goalless draw in Group C in Rwanda.
Because of their lack of an international competition-ready stadium, Zimbabwe’s squad will remain in Rwanda to host Nigeria in their next qualifier on Sunday.
The Group A clash between Ethiopia and Sierra Leone in El Jadida, Morocco was halted at halftime due to heavy mist.
There are nine African qualifying groups, with winners advancing to the 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. The four best runners-up will have a chance to qualify through a playoff system.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)