WORLD U-20 champions Ghana took a major stride towards having the right to defend their African title when beating Benin 2-0 in Cotonou on Sunday.
The Black Satellites - who became the first African team to win Fifa’s global U20 title last year - won thanks to goals from Enoch Ebo Andoh and Richmond Boakye Yiadom.
14 teams are currently playing out the last round of qualifiers to see who will join hosts Libya in next year’s African Youth Championship.
The second legs of this final round of qualifiers will be played on the weekend of October 22-24.
Cameroon, who lost the 2009 African final to Ghana, also recorded an encouraging away win as they beat 2007 champions Congo 1-0 in Brazzaville.
Elsewhere, Senegal beat three-time champions Egypt 1-0 in Dakar thanks to Moussa Konaté’s first-half strike.
Meanwhile, minnows Lesotho, who have invested plenty into youth football in recent years, saw the fruits of their policy rewarded with a 1-0 against Kenya in Nairobi.
The tiny southern African nation won thanks to a Lebata Tsebang goal.
Having already beaten South Africa to make the final round, Lesotho captain Kenneth Basia believes home advantage in Maseru next month will cement only their third qualification for the event.
Another away team to record a convincing victory were five-time champions Nigeria, who defeated Mauritius in Bambous.
Stanley Okoro and Bright Ejike netted for the Flying Eagles ahead of next month’s second leg in Abuja.
“It wasn’t very easy because we knew Mauritius had defeated Zambia in the last round so we knew they must be good,” said Nigeria coach John Obuh.
“I’m very happy with the result away from home and we’ll try to defend our lead in the home leg.” In the remaining game, Gambia defeated Ivory Coast 1-0 at home.
Finally, the match between Mali and Gabon in Bamako was postponed until October 2 because the West African nation celebrated its 50th anniversary since independence this weekend.