Zambia and eSwatini snatched dramatic victories and Ugandan Patrick Kaddu scored a hat-trick Saturday in African Nations Championship (CHAN) second round second leg qualifiers.
Favourites after forcing a 0-0 first leg draw in Botswana, Zambia had to come from behind twice to win 3-2 in Lusaka and secure a place in the final qualifying round.
Goals from Omaatla Kebatho and Segolame Boy twice gave Botswana the lead during a pulsating first half and Emmanuel Chabula and Kelvin Kampamba scored equalisers.
Substitute Bruce Musakanya put the home team ahead for the first time on 67 minutes and it proved the goal that won the second leg and the tie.
After two comfortable home wins over Botswana in past CHAN qualifying competitions, this was a much closer call than anticipated for former bronze medalists Zambia.
Few pundits gave eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) much chance of surviving a trip to Angola after being held 1-1 at home last weekend.
But the team from the tiny southern Africa kingdom fought back after trailing 1-0 at half-time to draw 1-1 and won 4-3 on penalties.
The reward for eSwatini, who are coached by experienced Serb Kosta Papic, is a final-round showdown with Zambia and the winners go to the 2020 tournament in Cameroon.
Kaddu scored his hat-trick as Uganda outplayed Somalia 4-1 in Kampala having taken a two-goal lead into the return match to qualify 7-2 overall.
He converted two penalties before half-time and completed his treble three minutes into the second half while Allan Kyambadde was the other Ugandan scorer.
Somalia, a violence-ravaged country making a rare international football appearance, claimed a late consolation goal via Duad Tubal.
Senegal were another country to win convincingly at home, scoring three second-half goals for a 3-0 triumph over Liberia in Dakar.
It was the eighth consecutive home victory by the Senegalese in CHAN qualifying and the fifth straight win in which they have scored three goals.
Jean Louis Barthelemy Diouf broke the deadlock on 50 minutes and Ousseynou Niang and Abdoulaye Ba got the goals that secured Senegal a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Sidi Touda bagged a brace for Mauritania as they defeated debutants Cape Verde 2-1 in Nouakchott to advance on aggregate by the same score after a goalless first leg.
The match was more one-sided than the scoreline suggests with Cape Verde pulling a goal back only in the final minute of regular time.