Ivory Coast player Salomon Kalou celebrates after scoring the equalizer

Salomon Kalou celebrates after scoring the equalizer

Ivory Coast and Nigeria became the first African Nations to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Ivory Coast were heavily outplayed by Senegal in their second legged playoff in Casablanca but late heroics from Salomon Kalou ensured them a place in the FIFA World Cup 2014.

Ahead 3-1 on aggregate following the first match of this two-legged tie, Nigeria looked in trouble as Senegal took the lead through a 77th-minute penalty by substitute Moussa Sow after Sadio Mane was fouled by Didier Drogba. Another goal would have put Senegal through on away goals but Ivory Coast finished on top when Salomon Kalou drew his team level in stoppage time courtesy of a quick counter attack. With this win, Ivory Coast have reached a third successive World Cup.

Expressing delight on their qualification, Didier Drogba said, “I am proud to be part of a team from a small country which has qualified for three World Cups in a row.”

“We want to do something special at the World Cup. The last two tournaments were difficult.”

“In Brazil, we hope to have a greater chance of at least making it out of the first round.”

Earlier, Nigeria beat Ethiopia 2-0 in the second leg of their playoff for a comfortable 4-1 aggregate victory.

Victor Moses gave the home team the lead after 20 minutes when he converted a penalty after Anyalem Hailu handled the ball inside his box. Substitute Victor Obinna doubled the lead on 82 minutes when he fired home a free-kick to secure the match and the tie.

The reigning African champions have now qualified for their fifth World Cup finals having also featured at the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010 tournaments.