The Ivory Coast’s impressive run in World Cup qualifying continued on Monday with a thrilling 2-0 victory over the Gambia. They were one of five countries to secure away wins in group matches, leaving their hosts struggling to keep up. Christian Kouame and Seko Fofana scored the goals that sealed the win for the Ivory Coast in Dar-es-Salaam.
Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, and Madagascar also secured victories on the road on Monday. The Ivory Coast now leads Group F with six points, tied with Gabon. Kenya moved into third place after a dominating 5-0 win over the Seychelles, which was hosted in Abidjan due to safety concerns at home stadiums.
Michael Olunga was instrumental in Kenya’s attack against the Seychelles, scoring twice within six minutes to give his team an early advantage. Emilio Nsue of Equatorial Guinea struck the only goal for his team against 10-man Liberia. Swiss-based striker Mauro Rodrigues led Guinea Bissau to victory against Djibouti with a single goal. And Madagascar won convincingly against Chad with a final score of 3-0.
The Central African Republic almost took an early lead over Mali during their match at home but Geoffrey Kondogbia equalized for Mali just before halftime. Only group winners will advance to the 2026 finals in Canada, Mexico, and the US, while the four best placed runners-up will have a chance for a berth via two playoff tournaments.
On Tuesday, another round of qualifiers will take place, including Morocco’s first appearance in group stages since their semi-final finish at the World Cup last year in Qatar. They will visit Tanzania in Dar-es-Salaam as they look to solidify their spot in Group E.
Overall, Monday’s results showed that teams are adapting to different playing conditions and finding ways to succeed despite safety concerns and logistical challenges. With more matches yet to come, it’s clear that there is still much competition for spots at next year’s tournament in North America.
The other teams that secured victories on Monday include Equatorial Guinea who defeated Liberia 1–0 away from home thanks to Emilio Nsue’s goal after 58 minutes; Guinea Bissau who won away from home against Djibouti 1–0 thanks to Mauro Rodrigues’ strike from close range; Kenya who won convincingly against Seychelles by 5–0 away from home; Madagascar who defeated Chad away from home by 3–0 thanks to Mohamed Amin’s brace.
Tuesday will see another set of qualifiers taking place as nations continue their battle for spots at next year’s tournament held jointly in Canada, Mexico and United States of America