East African rivals Kenya and Uganda drew 0-0 in Nairobi on Thursday as qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar continued across the continent.
Their first match of Group E was a tight affair with chances hard to come by.
The derby marked a return to the Cranes for Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic who was re-appointed as Uganda coach in July.
Mali are early leaders in the group after their 1-0 win over Rwanda a day earlier.
Also on Thursday, the Democratic Republic of Congo were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanzania in their Group J opener in Lubumbashi.
DR Congo veteran striker Dieumerci Mbokani marked his return to the national team with a goal.
The 35-year-old, who has just completed a move to Kuwait Premier League side Kuwait SC, put the hosts 1-0 up in the 23rd minute.
Tanzania struck back 13 minutes later with an equaliser from Simon Msuva to collect what could be a vital point away from home.
In a later game on Thursday, Madagascar host Benin in the same group.
The countries who finish first in each of the 10 groups will progress to the final round of qualifying with only five African nations progressing to the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022.
On Thursday night, the Cup of Nations title-holders Algeria take an African record 27-match unbeaten run into a home fixture against Djibouti, a country 152 places lower in the world rankings.
Djibouti, although away to the African champions in this round of Group A qualifiers, are amongst eight African countries who will have to host their matches at neutral venues because they lack international-standard stadiums.
Niger and Burkina Faso – the other two teams in Group A – are also both affected. Their match on Thursday will take place in Marrakech in Morocco.
Namibia, who host Congo Brazzaville in Group H on Thursday, must play their games at the Orlando Stadium in South Africa.
In another late kick-off on Thursday, Morocco – who are trying to qualify for their sixth Fifa World Cup finals – begin their Group I campaign at home to Sudan in Rabat.
Credit: BBCCOM/AFRICAN SPORT