A busy Friday of international action across three continents kicked off in Africa, with two Chelsea players, Baba Rahman and John Obi Mikel, and one Chelsea loanee, Victorien Angban, slated to take part.
Young Baba's Ghana were up first, away to Comoros, who used to be known as the Comoros Islands when I was younger but apparently they're all hip and cool now and just go by the single name. Regardless, they're still not very good at football and considering they have well under a million people total living there, that's perhaps not surprising. What is slightly surprising is that they managed to hang on to a 0-0 draw against Ghana in the first leg of the 2nd round of 2018 World Cup qualifying in the CAF region. Baba played the full 90 as Avram Grant's charges hit the post a few times but were actually quite lucky in the end to not lose. This goal for Comoros was disallowed for reasons I cannot possibly fathom.
Ghana's frustrations were shared by Nigeria who were playing away to Swaziland and who also drew 0-0. In case you're wondering, Swaziland (FIFA ranking: 130) are supposed to be slightly better than Comoros (FIFA ranking: 177) at football, but still not very good. Nigeria even brought on Manchester City's saviour Kelechi Iheancho (for his debut) and Seattle's Obafemi Martins (just his third appearance for the national team in the last five years), but to no avail.
John Obi Mikel started and was the final substitute off for coach Sunday Oliseh in the 70th minute. Neither Victor Moses nor Kenneth Omeruo were part of the squad this time around.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast managed a slightly better result, winning 1-0 away to Liberia. Victorien Angban, who's enjoying a very good season over in Belgium for STVV sat through the full match on the bench.
All three teams will now head home to contest the second legs of these two-legged elimination matches. The aggregate winners move on to the group stages of CAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the losers go home. Nothing's decided yet for any of the three African heavyweights.