Wissa scores in DR Congo World Cup victory

DR Congo scorer Yoane Wissa (R) playing for Brentford against Liverpool (Paul ELLIS)
DR Congo scorer Yoane Wissa (R) playing for Brentford against Liverpool (Paul ELLIS)

Brentford forward Yoane Wissa scored for the Democratic Republic of Congo in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Mauritania on Wednesday.

Wissa put the hosts ahead after 62 minutes at a packed 80,000-seat Kinshasa stadium and substitute Theo Bongonda increased the lead nine minutes from time.

DR Congo triumphed in Group B on the opening day of qualifying in Africa for the 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Wissa broke the deadlock in the Congolese capital with a clinical close-range shot past goalkeeper Babacar Niasse after a long clearance and two slick passes set him free in the box.

A long throw from Congolese goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi reached Bongonda in the centre circle and he dashed forward, rounded Niasse and netted to seal victory.

Goals were scarce on the opening day of a 263-match schedule that stretches to November 2025, with all nine group winners guaranteed qualification.

Former Premier League forward Emilio Nsue scored on 67 minutes to give Equatorial Guinea a 1-0 win over Namibia in Group H in Malabo.

Zimbabwe drew 0-0 away to Rwanda in Butare as they returned to international football after being barred by FIFA from 2024 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying due to political interference.

The Zimbabweans came closest to winning the Group C clash with a Prince Dube shot rebounding off the post during the first half.

Ethiopia and Sierra Leone drew 0-0 in a Group A match interrupted three times by fog in the Moroccan coastal city of El Jadida.

The match was moved from Ethiopia because they do not have an international-standard venue. They are among 19 African countries who must play home qualifiers at neutral venues.

A further eight qualifiers will be played on Thursday, with powerhouses Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria in action.