Burkina Faso and Senegal booked places at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations Saturday while defending champions Egypt will be shock absentees from the tournament after losing in Sierra Leone.
A goal in each half from Moussa Sow -- leading scorer in the French Ligue 1 last season -- gave the Senegalese a 2-0 home win over the Democratic Republic of Congo and an uncatchable five-point Group E lead.
Namibia upset visiting Gambia 1-0 to leave the Burkinabe with an unassailable six-point Group F advantage and seven-time title holders Egypt remained bottom of Group G after a late penalty condemned them to a 2-1 defeat.
After collecting just two points from four previous qualifiers, Egypt believed they had no chance of reaching a tournament they won three consecutive times since 2006 and sent Olympic and youth team stars to west Africa.
Libya reflected the political changes in the country by wearing a new strip and singing a new national anthem before defeating Mozambique 1-0 in neutral Cairo to replace Zambia as Group C leaders.
Former champions Tunisia took a giant stride toward joining Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Senegal and co-hosts Gabon and Equatorial Guinea at the 2012 finals by forcing a 0-0 draw at closest Group K rivals Malawi.
Cameroon, four times Cup of Nations champions, trounced Mauritius 5-0 in the mini-league won by Senegal to keep alive slim hopes of making the finals as one of the best two runners-up.
The absence of star striker Didier Drogba, who suffered concussion playing for Chelsea last weekend, did not prevent Ivory Coast raising their Group H goal haul to 17 from five games with a 5-0 Kigali drubbing of Rwanda.
Dennis Oliech struck in stoppage time to snatch a 2-1 home win for Kenya over Guinea Bissau in Group J while Algeria came from behind under new Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic to force a 1-1 Group D draw in Tanzania.
South Africa-based midfielder Tangeni Shipahu became the unlikely toast of Burkina Faso by scoring the 83rd-minute winner that gave the home team a rare competitive victory after three consecutive pool losses.
Namibian officials have lodged a protest against Burkina Faso defender Herve Zengue, who they claim is Cameroonian and not eligible to play for the country of his wife, and it will be heard in Cairo later this month.
Sheriff Suma put Sierra Leone into an early lead, Mohsen Marwan levelled on the stroke of half-time and it looked like the 'Baby Pharaohs' would escape with a point until Mohamed Bangura converted an 84th-minute spot kick.
Victory lifted Sierra Leone to eight points and a share of first place with South Africa, who face Niger in sauna-like Niamey Sunday without injured captain and midfielder Steven Pienaar.
Rabi al-Lafi netted on 31 minutes in a game played behind closed doors for security reasons to lift Libya two points above Zambia, who are away to Comoros Islands Sunday.
Tunisia lead Malawi on goal difference in the race to finish runners-up behind Botswana and appear likely to stay second as they host Togo in the final round while their rivals visit Chad.