Africa champion Cameroon misses out on World Cup
The African champion won’t be in Russia for next year’s World Cup.
Cameroon was the first team to be eliminated in the final round of qualifying in Africa after drawing with Nigeria 1-1 at home on Monday.
While the result put group leader Nigeria’s hopes on hold, it definitely ended Cameroon’s, meaning the one-time World Cup quarterfinalist’s revival to win the African Cup of Nations in February was short-lived. The draw that sealed Cameroon’s World Cup fate came three days after it was beaten in Nigeria 4-0, a result that did not befit the African titleholder.
There was one other qualifier in Africa on Monday, when Libya produced a big surprise to beat Guinea 1-0 in a game played in neutral Tunisia.
Libya had a heart-breaking experience in Guinea last week when it fought back from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 only to concede three minutes into injury time as Guinea won 3-2.
This time, Libya scored first through Hamdou Mohamed and held on, playing the last half-hour with 10 men after Mohammed al-Gadi’s red card.
After collecting its first points of the group stage, Libya still has a chance of qualifying for the World Cup — albeit a very, very remote one.
Tunisia leads Group A by three points ahead of Congo. Those two meet on Tuesday.
Nigeria led in Yaounde through Moses Simon’s 30th-minute goal.
Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon’s match-winner in the African Cup final, equalized with a penalty in the 75th.
Cameroon pushed hard in the last 15 minutes as a World Cup place slipped away, with Nigeria goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa pulling off a double save in the dying minutes to deny Arnaud Djoum and Collins Fai.
Nigeria, showing some long-needed consistency, remained unbeaten in the final round of qualifying and will make certain of a place at Russia with a win over Zambia next month in its penultimate qualifying game.
The five group winners will be Africa’s World Cup qualifiers. Tunisia, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Uganda are the group leaders and if that stays the same there will be two World Cup debutants from Africa next year in Burkina Faso and Uganda.
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