2022 AWCON Qualifiers: Ajara scores late winner as Cameroon edge CAR in first leg

By Beng Emmanuel

Nchout Njoya Ajara last gasp winner helped Cameroon to a labored 1-0 win against the Central Africa Republic in the first leg, second round qualifiers of the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco.  

Ajara, 28-who has earned a reputation as a lethal finisher for her country-came to the rescue of her team once again at the 90+1 minute when the game seemed destined to end in a frustrating draw. The former Atletico of Madrid striker had recently scored her first goal for Inter-Milan last weekend in the Italian Serie A.

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A draw would have been much to the delight of their rivals who rather suffered a cruel end and should have plenty of regrets about the outcome.

But it proved to be a difficult day for Cameroon that saw their plans thwarted by the host. They failed to dismiss the challenge with ease and did little to ensure resurgence in the game.  

Cameroon had many stellar names available for the clash except for Estelle Johnson who arrived at camp a few hours to the game and was left on the bench. But the Lionesses failed to live up to the billing and were nowhere near their best.

They began the game with confidence, dominated play with supreme composure but suddenly faded form. Their solidity at the back marshaled by Claudia Dabda and Mambo Lambo as center backs was often void of assurance, creativity was lacking in the midfield and the frontline led by Ajara, Aboudi Onguene and Flora Kameni strangely impotent.

It was not the most dignified game for the Cameroon Women’s team although they recorded their very first win under Gabriel Zabo. It’s been a frustrating start for the gaffer-who until now was winless with the team. Zabo replaced Alain Djeumfa following his failure to qualify the Central African Nation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Central African Republic hosted the game at the Douala Japoma Stadium after its stadiums were considered unfit to host its home games. The return is scheduled for October 24.

The winner on aggregate will qualify for the next round of the 2022 AWCON qualifiers.

FULL TIME

CAR 0-1 Cameroon

Nchout Ajara 91

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