Egypt whipped Uganda 3-0 Wednesday in a World Cup warm-up 450 kilometres from a bloody security forces crackdown on supporters of ex-president Mohamed Morsi.
The friendly between the ‘Pharaohs’ and the ‘Cranes’ went ahead in Red Sea resort El Gouna while politics-induced nationwide violence left nearly 300 people dead.
Democratically-elected Islamist Morsi was ousted by the military after millions took to the streets of Cairo during June demanding his sacking.
Debutant Hassan ‘Koka’ Mahgoub opened the scoring on 22 minutes, Mohamed Salah struck the second just before the hour mark and Ibrahim Said completed the rout.
American coach Bob Bradley used the match to experiment as the stars of Cairo clubs Al-Ahly and Zamalek were absent due to CAF Champions League fixtures this weekend.
The hosts, who have not appeared at the World Cup since the 1990 finals in Italy, also lacked injured Hull City defender Ahmed El Mohamady.
Egypt have secured a place in the World Cup play-offs during October and November ahead of a final qualifier against Guinea on September 10 in Mediterranean city Alexandria.
Uganda face a must-win match three days earlier against group leaders Senegal in Morocco because Dakar is barred from hosting fixtures due to crowd violence there last year.
Substitute striker Asamoah Gyan scored twice as understrength Ghana came from two goals behind to hold Turkey 2-2 in Istanbul.
Trailing by two goals at half-time, Ghana brought former Sunderland star Gyan off the bench on 55 minutes and he halved the deficit almost immediately through a fierce shot.
The United Arab Emirates-based goal poacher, who has been inactive lately because of a break during Ramadan Muslim holy month fasting, levelled off a header 15 minutes from time.
Quarter-finalists at the 2010 World Cup, Ghana host former African champions Zambia during September needing one point to secure a play-offs place.
Zambia made the perfect start against Senegal at Saint Leu La Foret near Paris with Jacob Mulenga scoring after just two minutes, but the ‘Copper Bullets’ had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Dame N’Doye levelled on eight minutes for the ‘Teranga Lions’ in a frenetic start, but both defences quickly tightened and there were no further goals.
The friendly between Cape Verde Islands and Gabon in Lisbon also ended 1-1 with Heldon giving the island state a mid-first-half lead that Bruno Ecuele Manga cancelled out on 50 minutes.
Atusaye Nyondo converted a penalty on the half-hour mark to earn Malawi a 1-0 victory over fellow central Africans Rwanda in Kigali.
Malawi are another country facing a must-win September qualifier — away to African champions Nigeria — as they hunt a play-offs place.