• The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon must bounce back from a testing first leg Olympic Games playoff tie against Chile, to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
By Beng Emmanuel
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon suffered from a frustrating 1-2 defeat to Chile, in the first leg of the Tokyo 2020 inter-continental playoff tie in Antalya-Turkey on Saturday. It is the first time both teams have meet in an international women’s game.
Cameroon’s 16-year-old goalkeeper Michaely Bihina made her debut with the country’s senior national football team and leaked two goals in her side’s defeat-which they must overturn during the return leg fixtures in three days.
Chile expectedly took control of the game when Camila Saez opened the scoring at the twenty-fifth (25) minute. Carla Guerrero doubled their advantage during the second half with a header before Atletico Madrid star-forward Nchout Njoya Ajara halved the deficit.
After missing out from an automatic ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, both teams started the game with some heap of confidence to overturn their misfortunes. But Chile were the most vibrant and positive side in the game. La Roja Feminina broke the deadlock only after 25 minutes with Camila Saez powered her side in-front.
Cameroon fought tirelessly to ensure they produce a necessary response before the break, but never came close to cause a major upset before an efficient Chile team.
The 2016 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations runner-up came out fighting during the second half and showed commendable confidence and character to level scores. Unfortunately, they were unable to build on it and conceded a second goal fifteen (15) minutes to the final whistle.
They were largely culpable of their own downfall when Carla Guerrero headed home comfortably after being left unmarked by Cameroon’s defence.
Troubled by the drop of their standard, coach Alain Djeumfa made two chances in his team with Brigette Omboudou and Michael Akaba stepping-in as potential solutions.
Their efforts were compensated when Nchout Njoya Ajara scored to pull one back. The former Valerenga forward tussled with Chile defence after a patient build-up, before she riffled a shot past the keeper to the far edge. But her goal wasn’t enough to inspire the Indomitable Lionesses to a late comeback.
They spurned several goal scoring chances during the dying minutes of the hugely entertaining clash as Chile rejoiced at the end with a confortable first leg advantage.
The return leg match comes up on the 13th of April at the Arslan Zeki Demirci Sport Complex in Antalya,Turkey. The winner of the double confrontation will qualify for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games this year.
Cameroon must score at least twice without conceding to qualify for the Olympic Games after making their debut in 2012. They missed out from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games but will need to produce a commanding second leg display to mark their return. Chile are bidding for their maiden stint. They have taken a major step to make a dream Olympic Games debut after today’s win.
Tokyo Olympic Games Qualifiers-First Leg
Cameroon 1-2 Chile
[Nchout Ajara 77’/ Camila Saez 25’, Carla Guerrero 75’]