Impossible n’est pas Camerounais!.

Cameroon miraculously reached the round of 16 of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations after defeating the Scorpions of The Gambia 3-2 in a nerve breaking encounter last night.

Goals from Karl Toko Ekambi, an own goal from a Gambian defender and a Christopher Wooh thumping header ensured Cameroon picked up all 3 points. The match was played at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake.

It was the Indomitable Lions final Group C game in Cote d’Ivoire and coach Rigobert Song’s boys needed nothing short of victory after a draw against Guinea and a defeat to Senegal in their first two games.

Coach Rigobert Song made three changes to the team that faced Senegal, starting Fabrice Ondoa in the place of Andre Onana. 

Karl Toko Ekambi who was dropped to the bench during the Senegal match returned while Darlin Yongwa was also handed a role at midfield in the starting XI.

After a nail-biting first half which ended goalless with Ondoa called to action on several occasions as The Gambians looked to take the lead. The Central Africans returned for the last 45 minutes more determined.

Karl Toko Ekambi’s glancing header from a George Nkoudou cross, fired the Lions ahead on 51 minutes.

Cameroon looked relaxed after getting the lead and were caught in their own trap, when Ablie Jallow who was left unmarked in the Cameroon defence equalised for The Gambia.

Colley Ebrima silenced Cameroonians supporters on 82 minutes when he punished goalkeeper, Ondoa, to put the West Africans on a comfortable 2-1 lead.

No sooner after The Gambians celebrated the lead, their defender, James Gomez scored an own goal to put the two teams levelled on 2-2 score, with four minutes left to play in regular time.

Christopher Wooh’s spearing header on 90 +1 minutes from a corner kick saw Cameroon regaining the lead.

The Gambian seemed to have equalised on 90 +4 minutes but a VAR checked showed the player pushed the ball into the net with the hand.

The match went on to finish 3-2 in favour of Cameroon, with defender, Christopher voted Man of the Match.

It was the second successive time Cameroon was defeating The Gambia in an AFCON tournament.

During the 2021 tournament in Cameroon played in 2022, the Lions eliminated the Scorpions at the quarterfinals on a 2-0 score.

With yesterday’s victory, the Indomitable Lions thus finished the group stage of the tournament with 4 points behind Senegal who topped group C with 9 points in three matches.

Senegal who are defending champions, defeated Guinea 2-0 in their final group game in Yamoussoukro last night. Cameroon is not set to face Nigeria in round of 16 on Saturday January 27.


Song silences critics 

With yesterday’s win, the head coach of the Cameroon senior men’s national football team, Rigobert Song, silenced his critics who had predicted the team will not qualify for the knock out stage.

Speaking in post-match presser, Song, said: “I congratulate my players. They displayed patriotism and fighting spirit. Today, they begin understanding Cameroonian football is different from others".

Song’s first two matches against Guinea and Senegal weren’t convincing and many had seen Cameroon being eliminated in the group stage.

Song who skippered Cameroon to two AFCON titles in 2000 and 2002 had, before yesterday, never qualified any team he took charge of before, beyond the knockout phase. 

It is thus a historic qualification for the gaffer and his team who are looking to impress in the knockout phase. 


The Gambia coach resigns 

Following yesterday’s defeat to Cameroon, the head coach of The Gambia, Tom Saintfiet, announced his resignation from his role during the post-match press conference.

“This is my last match as coach of Gambia. My contract expires in August 2026 but I step down. Thanks to the FA and my staff. I am forever a Gambian. My daughter is 7, and when I told her I’ll resign, she was not happy. But I believe this is the time,” the gaffer said. 

Saintfiet led The Gambia to the quarter-final of the AFCON on their debut two years ago but failed to repeat the feat. 

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