Cameroon keeps World Cup Round 16 qualification hopes alive

Tuesday November 29 2022
Cameroon's midfielder Georges-Kevin Nkoudou

Cameroon's midfielder Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (front) fights for the ball with Serbia's midfielder Filip Kostic during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 28, 2022. PHOTO | ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT | AFP


Cameroon has kept hopes of qualifying for the Round of 16 at the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after coach Rigobert Song’s charges fought back from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Serbia in their second Group G game on Monday.

The five-time African champions opened scores at the 29th minute thanks to a Jean Charles Castelleto, but the Serbs equalised and increased tally just before both teams went into first-half stoppage time at the Al Janoub Stadium.

Back in the Cameroon capital, Yaounde, there was deep silence at the fan zone of the Yaounde City Council as the Cameroonians struggled to fight back. Thousands of fans gathered at the fan zone where they watched the match. Some angry fans immediately started vacating the fan zone when the Serbs scored the second goal.

Read also: Did Cameroon lose Embolo to the Swiss? Well, he’s no Okocha

The fielding of AFCON 2022 top scorer Vincent Aboubakar, who came to reinforce the attack, also revived hopes for the fans there and the Al Nassr forward, nicknamed ‘Abou Chou’ (darling Aboubakar) during this year’s AFCON, did not disappoint his fans. He combined his talent and experience and broke through the defence of the Eagles to net a second for Cameroon, sending fans into ecstasy. Initially ruled as an offside by the assistant referee, VAR validated the goal adding the excitement of the fans back home.

Levelled scores


Later, the talismanic attacker would again have another opportunity to score, but preferred to hand the ball to captain Eric Maxim Choupo Moting who levelled scores to 3-3, sparking wilder celebrations at the fan zone.

Fans sang, danced, some rolled on the ground and others ordered drinks for other fans as a sign of celebration following the leveller by the Bayern Munich attacker.

Jilla Martial, a well-known fan of the team who goes by the popular name “Five-star General Mascot” of the Indomitable Lions, was among the fans at the Yaounde City Council fan zone. With his trademark motor bike covered in national colours and two flags hung on it, he was joined by other fans as they sang and danced.

“The match was not easy but the players tried their best. There were minor errors which they corrected. The World Cup is not easy for everyone,” he told The EastAfrican. The fan said he was hopeful Cameroon will advance to the next round of the global soccer tournament.

“We are not afraid of any opponent…The Lions will win [over] Brazil,” Martial said.

It, however, was a disappointment for Michel Marius, another enthusiastic fan of the team who abandoned his business to come and watch the match at the Yaounde fan zone.

“We expected more from the team. If Andre Onana was there, Cameroon would not have conceded three goals,” he said.

Goalkeeper, Onana who played fulltime during Cameroon’s opening match where they lost 0-1 to Switzerland, was ejected from the squad for what was understood to be a disciplinary sanction.