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CHILILABOMBWE, Zambia (AFP) — Dominant Zambia defeated troubled Togo 1-0 Wednesday to boost hopes of a first appearance at the World Cup finals.

France-based Felix Katongo scored on 32 minutes to take the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets) three points clear of second-placed Swaziland in Group 11 and leave shock 2006 qualifiers Togo in danger of elimination.

Minnows Swaziland can regain top spot by winning the final fixture against Togo next month, but Zambia would almost certainly progress anyway as one of the best eight runners-up from the 12 second round mini-leagues.

Togolese hopes of making the 2010 tournament in South Africa rest on overcoming Swaziland at a neutral venue to be decided and snatching one of the runners-up berths.

They are barred from playing at home after post-match violence during an African Nations Cup qualifier last year injured Mali star Frederic Kanoute and a team-mate.

The group winners and best runners-up will be divided into five groups of four with the winners joining the South Africa at the first World Cup to be staged in Africa.

Togo suffered two blows ahead of the match at Konkola Stadium with the resignation of French coach Henri Stambouli followed by the refusal of Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor to leave Lome.

Adebayor, whose goals were pivotal to reaching the 2006 World Cup, reportedly feared the jet carrying the Togolese would crash and refused to travel unless accompanied by the national football federation president.

But Tata Adaglo could not make the trip because he is organising the burial of his mother and sent deputy Gabriel Ameyi to the northern Zambia mining town.

Adebayor was sorely missed with Togo not having a single shot on target and their problems worsened 10 minutes into the second half when goalkeeper Cedric Mensah had to be replaced after a Rainford Kalaba shot struck him in the face.

Copyright © 2008 AFP. All rights reserved.

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