Ghana and Cameroon posted comfortable home wins in 2013 African Youth Championship second round, first leg matches at the weekend.
Ghana turned back Morocco 4-1, while Cameroon beat neighbours DRC 2-0.
World champions in 2009, the Black Satellites will now fancy themselves of marching into the tournament proper after the return leg in Morocco in a fortnight.
At last year’s AYC staged in South Africa, Ghana failed to go past the first round, while Cameroon were beaten in the final by six-time winners Nigeria.
There were also three away draws – defending champions Nigeria forced South Africa to a 1-1 draw, while home teams Zambia and Burkina Faso could only manage 2-2 draws with visitors Mali and Gabon, respectively.
Egypt, who finished third at the 2011 AYC, were 2-1 winners at home against Angola.
Benin stopped Senegal 3-1 in Cotonou as they hope to return to the big stage after they hosted the tournament seven years ago and qualified for the World Cup.
The overall winners of these seven second round clashes will in first weekend of October join hosts Algeria in March for the AYC with the semi-finalists earning the right to represent Africa at the FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey in June.
2013 Second Round, First Leg results
Ghana 4 Morocco 1
Cameroon 2 DR Congo 0
Zambia 2 Mali 2
South Africa 1 Nigeria 1
Burkina Faso 2 Gabon 2
Egypt 2 Angola 1
Benin 3 Senegal 1
*Algeria qualify automatically as hosts