Minnows Botswana became the first country to qualify for next year's African Nations Cup today while former champions Egypt and Cameroon saw their chances suffer setbacks.
Jerome Ramatlhkwane was the hero for the Zebras, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Chad in N'Djamena.
The winner came after 50 minutes as Botswana moved onto an unassailable 16 points in Group K.
In the same group, Moses Chavula's goal after 18 minutes helped Malawi stay in contention with a 1-0 win over Togo, who can no longer qualify for the tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The five-team section is the only one in which the top two automatically qualify - only the winners in the other 10 are assured of a spot, while the best two runners-up will also make it through.
South Africa caused the biggest shock of the day as they stunned Egypt 1-0 in Johannesburg.
Katlego Mphela netted in injury time after a close encounter at Ellis Park in which the visitors created the better chances.
The 2010 World Cup hosts again lacked a cutting edge up front and their failure to carve out clear-cut chances looked set to haunt them before Mamelodi Sundowns striker Mphela had the final say.
The win moves Pitso Mosimane's men onto seven points in Group G, while Egypt remain on one at the halfway stage of qualifying.
The other big game of the day also had a late twist as Demba Ba's stoppage-time effort helped Senegal beat Cameroon 1-0 in Dakar.
The win puts the Teranga Lions on nine points, five more than the Indomitable Lions who now have it all to do in Group E.
Elsewhere, the Cape Verde Islands maintained their grip on Group A with a 4-2 win over Libya.
In the other match in the pool, Cheick Diabate netted the only goal for Mali as they overcame Zimbabwe 1-0 in Bamako - a win that keeps them a point behind the leaders.
The Central African Republic missed the chance of moving clear in Group D after losing out 2-1 to Tanzania in Dar es Salaam.
Rwanda managed a first win in Group H with a 3-1 victory against Burundi in Kigali.
Uganda stayed in control of Group J after beating Guinea-Bissau 1-0, David Obua grabbing the only goal.
Kenya climbed to second after fighting from a goal down to beat Angola 2-1 in Nairobi. McDonald Mariga scored a minute into injury time, adding to a Jamal Mohammed's earlier strike.
Burkina Faso thrashed Namibia 4-0 in Ouagadougou to maintain their 100% start in Group F.