World Cup qualifiers: Lions roar but fail to conquer.

Lions celebrating goal against Angola

The senior men’s national football team of Cameroon, the Indomitable Lions, have maintained their revived fighting spirit, under head coach, Marc Brys, despite a 1-1 stalemate against familiar rivals, Angola.

The Indomitable Lions shared the spoils with the Palancas Negras Tuesday night, in Match Day Four of the 2026 FIFA World Cup African qualifiers. 

The encounter took place at the Estadio 11 de Novembro Stadium in Luanda, Angola.

It was the first game between Cameroon and Angola, since they drew 1-1 in December 2011. 

The Indomitable Lions were poised for victory to remain atop Group D. 

Marc Brys, who began his tenure as head coach of the Cameroon national football with a convincing 4-1 thrashing of Cabo Verde, last Saturday, made only one change to his starting line up; with Christian Bassogog making a rare start.

Angola was the better side during the opening minutes of the encounter. Randy Nteka came close to finding the breakthrough for the hosts, but his strike was blocked by a last-ditch tackle from Christopher Wooh.

Cameroon defended gallantly and quickly took the lead, when Bryan Mbeumo scored from Vincent Aboubakar's assist in the 11 minutes of the encounter. The Brentford forward later came close to a brace but narrowly missed the target.

Angola dug deep to find an equaliser but struggled to break down the Cameroonian defence. Nteka, Mabululu and Gelson Dala had chances to level scores, but goalkeeper Andre Onana frustrated their efforts.

Angola returned for the second half determined to change the narrative of the game. The hosts levelled scores nine minutes into resumption of play, after Michael Ngadue scored an own goal.

Cameroon responded instantly with Vincent Aboubakar and Olivier Ntcham coming close to restoring the Lions lead. The five-time African champions had chances to win the game but lacked the cutting edge to convert. The score remained unchanged at full time. 



Lions fail to boost hopes to reach World Cup

A win for Cameroon last night against Angola, would have put the team in pole position to qualify from their group.

The Central African nation, who are still unbeaten in the qualifiers, however, consolidated their leadership position in Group D, with eight points after four matches played.

Cameroon are now a point clear from nearest challengers, Libya and Cabo Verde, who sit second and third respectively with seven points.

Angola, who had not conceded a goal since the start of the qualifiers, came close to their first defeat. They also missed the chance to move up to second on the logs and remained fourth with six points.

It is worth mentioning that the qualifiers of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which started in November last year, resumed in June after a six-month break.

Cameroon began the race for the coveted World Cup berths with a 3-0 thrashing of Mauritius in Douala, on November 17, 2023. The Indomitable Lions were later held to a 1-1 stalemate by Libya, on Match Day Two in Benghazi. 

Coach Marc Brys and his boys will next be in action in March next year. They shall wrap up the first phase of the qualifiers with a clash against Eswatini, before beginning the return leg of the qualifiers by hosting Libya.

The Central African nation prides itself as the most capped African team at the World Cup, with a record eight appearances.

Cameroon made history in 1990 by becoming the first African team to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup. Since then, they have failed to reach such heights.

The winner of each of the nine groups will directly qualify for the 2026 World Cup. The best group runners-up on their part will participate in playoffs to determine which teams advance to the inter-continental play-offs.

The expanded 2026 FIFA World Cup is set to take place in the United States of America, USA, Canada and Mexico.



Revisiting Group D actions

Earlier on in the group Tuesday, Mauritius recorded the first win since the start of the qualifiers, after defeating Eswatini 2-1.

Mike Gaspard broke the deadlock on 19 minutes, before Lindsay Rose doubled the lead for the hosts. Andy Junior Magagula pulled one back for Eswatini, but Mauritius held on to secure a vital victory.

The victory ended the team’s three match winless run in the qualifiers. Despite the win, they remain 5th of the 6-nation qualifying group with four points.

In the other Group D game, Cabo Verde narrowly edged Libya 1-0 in Praia, to return to winning ways. Edilson Alberto scored the solitary goal at the 10th minute.




This story was first published in The Guardian Post issue No 3139 of Wednesday June 12, 2024


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