JOHANNESBURG: Kenya and Ethiopia went on scoring sprees on Wednesday as the African football qualifying competition for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan kicked off.
The Kenyans were two goals ahead of Mauritius within 13 minutes in Nairobi and finished 5-0 winners of a one-sided first round first leg match.
Johnstone Omurwa and James Mazabe were the early scorers and Pistone Mutamba netted after 35 minutes for a 3-0 halftime advantage.
Sydney Lokole and Joseph Okumu netted in the second half for Kenya, who travel to Belle Vue in the Indian Ocean island state for the return match this Sunday.
Ethiopia scored twice in each half to build a 4-0 first leg lead in Addis Ababa over Somalia.
Canaan Markneh and Israel Eshetu netted for the hosts during the opening half and Awot Gebremikael and Abubakher Sanni scored within three minutes midway through the second half.
Sanni was later red-carded and will miss the return match in Djibouti next Tuesday.
Uganda left it late to achieve an unexpectedly narrow 1-0 win over South Sudan in Kampala with Mustapha Kizza converting a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
The Ugandans would have hoped to establish a much wider winning margin ahead of potentially tricky second leg in Juba.
Burundi got on top after half-time to defeat Tanzania 2-0 in Bujumbura through goals by Muryango Mabano, from a penalty, and Laudit Mavugo.
Other qualifiers in East Africa were drawn, with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo failing to score in Rubavu and a clash between Seychelles and Sudan in Victoria ending 1-1.
Daouda Camara scored in the final minute of regular time to snatch a 2-1 victory for Guinea over Mauritania in Nouakchott.
The Mauritanians made an encouraging start with El Hassen Teguedi netting on 10 minutes only for Mai Traoré to equalise with 72 minutes gone in northwestern Africa.
Olympic Games football qualifiers are restricted to under-23 footballers with each country permitted three over-age ‘wildcards’ at the finals.
Nigeria (1996) and Cameroon (2000) are the two African countries who won the quadrennial tournament.