Sadio Mane, aged 31, celebrated his 100th cap for Senegal by scoring two goals in a comfortable 4-0 home victory over South Sudan as they kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign.
The Group B match in Dakar saw Mane set up the opening goal for Pape Matar Sarr in the first minute and add a goal himself five minutes later.
Debutant Lamine Camara scored the third just before halftime, and Mane netted his second from the penalty spot in the second half.
Senegal aims to qualify for their third consecutive World Cup, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo expected to be their toughest opponents in the group.
In other results, South Africa secured a 2-1 home victory over Benin in Group C, with Percy Tau and Khuliso Mudau scoring for the hosts, while Tanzania won 1-0 away against Niger in Marrakech, Morocco, with Charles M’Mombwa scoring in his debut for Tanzania.
South Africa now leads Group C, with aspirations of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time since hosting the tournament in 2010. The winners of the nine qualifying groups will advance to the 2026 finals, co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the US.
Five more African qualifiers are scheduled for Sunday, featuring challenging away games for heavyweight contenders Algeria, Egypt, and Nigeria.