Musona nets hat-trick, Uganda edge Cape Verde

Knowledge Musona celebrates his goal EPA/Aaron Ufumeli

Ghana returned to goalscoring form as they opened their 2019 African Nations Cup Group F qualification campaign on Sunday with a crushing 5-0 home success over Ethiopia in Kumasi.

Debutant Raphael Dwamena, who played this past season in the Swiss second-tier with FC Zurich, bagged a second half brace after veteran forward Asamoah Gyan had given the home side the lead with his 50th national team goal.

The Black Stars' other strikes came from Turkey-based defender John Boye and 21-year-old Ebenezer Ofori from Stuttgart in the German second division, who netted his first international goal.

Ghana had managed just seven goals in their last 12 internationals, so fans will be delighted with their turnaround in fortunes in the opposition box as they top of their pool on goal-difference from Sierra Leone, who thumped Kenya 3-0 earlier in the weekend.

Knowledge Musona struck a hat-trick for Zimbabwe as they eased to a 3-0 win over Liberia in Harare to get their Group G campaign off to a fine start. The KV Oostende forward had his three goals by the 63rd minute as Zimbabwe also head their pool on goal-difference from DR Congo, who defeated Congo-Brazzaville 3-1 on Saturday.

Cape Verde's slide from the number one team in Africa a little over two years ago to also-rans continued as they lost 1-0 at home to Uganda. Experienced forward Geofrey Sserunkuma netted on 83 minutes in Praia to give the East African side a crucial away win and condemn their hosts to yet another demoralising defeat.

Uganda move to the top of Group L after Tanzania and Lesotho drew 1-1 in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

Experienced Montpellier midfielder Stephane Sessegnon scored the only goal as Benin claimed a 1-0 home success over Gambia in Group D, with the other match in that pool yielding a narrow 1-0 win for Algeria over Togo, Sofiane Hanni scoring with a clever chip over the onrushing goalkeeper in the 24th minute in Blida.

Finally, Salif Keita scored a winner in injury-time as Central African Republic grabbed a 2-1 home win over Rwanda in Group H. CAR took the lead in Bangui through Junior Gourrier, but Rwanda looked to have grabbed a valuable point when Ernest Sugira equalised a minute from time. Keita popped up late on though to seal three points and move CAR level at the top of the pool with Guinea, who stunned the Ivory Coast with a 3-2 away win on Saturday.

Only the top team in each pool advances automatically to the 2019 finals in Cameroon, along with the three best second-place finishers.