Zimbabwe starts off with win at 2017 Afcon qualifiers

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The Group L opening qualifier match for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations ended in a victory for Zimbabwe. They managed a 2-1 defeat over Malawi in an away game.

Cuthbert Malajila opened the scoring after 23 minutes but the hosts hit straight back and Davi Banda restored parity a minute later.

Zimbabwe’s winner came seven minutes before the end when Khama Billiat converted. Victory is a huge boost for Zimbabwe following their problems over players’ match fees that had put the fixture in doubt.

The squad had initially refused to travel, citing concerns that they would not receive their money from the cash-strapped Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa). Walter Magaya, the Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader, stepped in to cover the $42,000 needed to cover the trip to Malawi.

In Group D, Uganda also got off to a perfect start by beating visitors Botswana 2-0. Both goals came after the break, with Geoffrey Massa opening the scoring on 55 minutes and Brian Umony making sure of the points by doubling the advantage 11 minutes later.

Angola made a strong start to their qualification campaign, beating Central African Republic 4-0 in their Group B opener. Gelson struck the first goal on 36 minutes and the lead was doubled 11 minutes after the interval when Dolly Menaga slotted home from the penalty spot. On 63 minutes Gelson grabbed his second goal and the win was completed in added time when Gilberto scored his side’s second penalty of the game.