AFCON qualifiers: Judgment Day for Song as Cameroon faces Burundi today.

Cameroon’s clash against Burundi at 8pm this evening at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, in the Group C final qualifying match for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, will be a defining moment in the coaching career of Rigobert Song Bahanag.

Since his appointment on February 28, 2022, as head coach of the Indomitable Lions, the former Lions’ captain and football tactician, has never won any match on home soil.

He will therefore be be looking to break that spell tonight and hand Cameroon qualification for next January’s continental football competition to be hosted by Cote d’Ivoire.

Sports analysts are of the strong opinion that the outcome of today’s crucial encounter will decide Song’s fate as Lions’ trainer. 

Speaking in a pre-match press conference yesterday in Garoua, the Lions’ trainer said the entire squad is conscious of the stakes and will do everything it takes to win the match.

“We are not under any form of pressure. We all know the reason we are here. Everything has been done at our level to offer Cameroon victory. We are prepared for the game. I think the conclusion of the episode will be done tomorrow during the match,” Song said. 

“There is no room for errors. This is a very important match. We are always used to playing these kinds of matches. We are aware that Burundi has a very good team. We have much respect for the team, but we are also aware that we must win at all costs tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will be my first home victory, since I took charge of the Lions,” he added. 

Song said physically, mentally and even spiritually, the Lions are ready to overcome the Swallows of Burundi.

Song was accompanied at the press conference by the Indomitable Lions captain, Vincent Aboubakar, who stated that they are ready to roar and make the entire nation proud.

 

Why Cameroon must win

Cameroon and Burundi are both tied on 4 points in Group C of the AFCON qualification tournament.

The away leg match in Bujumbura in June last year, ended on a 1-0 win in favour of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.

A victory for Cameroon this evening will hand them the top spot in the group with 7 points ahead of Namibia that has already qualified after 5 points in four matches. 

But if the Lions were to suffer a defeat at home, they miss out of the AFCON festival which will be in its 34th edition in Cote d’Ivoire.

Tomorrow’s game will not be a walk to the park for the Lions, given that Burundi are also in Cameroon to fight for their second AFCON ticket in four years.

Their first ever participation in the final phase of an AFCON competition was in 2019 in Egypt. The team’s head coach, Etienne Ndayiragije, told reporters in Garoua yesterday that they want to write another page in the country’s football.

“We want to qualify for AFCON again. The team does not have stars, but we are looking forward to capitalising on teamwork and unity against Cameroon,” team captain, Saidou Berahino said.

Thousands of Cameroonians supporters have mobilised to storm the Roumde Adja Stadium to push the Indomitable Lions to victory.

about author About author : Dewah Fabrice Teh

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