YAOUNDE, 30 January 2021 – Hosts, Cameroon, beat DR Congo, two-one and Mali beat Congo-Brazzaville, five-four, in post-match penalties to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2020 African Nations Championships.
The results mean the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo-Brazzaville become the first two of four teams who will be knocked out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage.
The Mali versus Congo-Brazzaville match on the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, capital of French-speaking Cameroon, had to be decided by post-match penalties, after a goalless draw.
Congo-Brazzaville’s Mapata missed the first of his team’s five penalties and, essentially, sealed their fate in the process.
Notwithstanding that his four teammates – Ondongo, Banguila, Mokombo and Ndzia – each hit the back of the net from the spot.
Mali’s five penalty takers – Samake, Kyabou, Samabali, Doumbia, and Coulibaly – were impeccable, putting all of their shots past the keeper into the back of the net and making it unnecessary for a second round of penalty shoot-outs to be required.
In the other quarter-final match of the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN2020) played on the Japoma Stadium in Douala, economic capital of French-speaking Cameroon, striker Lilepo was quick in getting the Democratic Republic of Congo on the scoreboard with only 22 minutes on the clock.
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon roared back swiftly, equalizing seven short minutes later thanks to a goal from Ndjeng.
Three minutes before half-time, Tcheoude hit the back of the net to put Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions two-one ahead.
A goalless second half meant Tcheoude’s second goal was all Cameroon needed Saturday to win the only other ticket to the semi-finals.
The opponents of Cameroon in the semi-final will be known Sunday at the end of the quarter-final match between defending champions, Morocco, and Zambia.
The game will be played on the Centenary Stadium in Victoria-Limbe, the oil-rich city on the Atlantic Coast of English-speaking Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia.
A call for a boycott of the games and the genocidal violence against English-speaking Ambazonians by French-speaking Cameroonian forces has led to insecurity leading to a situation where teams are escorted to practice and matches with armored cars.
Mali’s opponent will be the winner of the other quarter final match, Guinea versus Rwanda, which is scheduled to be played on the Reunification Stadium in Douala.
CHAN2020 has been ongoing on four stadia – three in Cameroon and one in Southern Cameroons – since last January 16.
The final will hold next February 7 on the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, considered the temple of Cameroonian football and also the venue, in 1972, of the final of the Africa Cup of Nations which Cameroon lost to Congo-Brazzaville, one goal to nil.
The tournament was delayed after Ethiopia (the initial hosts) dropped out and Cameroon had to step in to the rescue.
Unlike the Africa Cup of Nations, only players in domestic football leagues can participate in the tournament which was last won by Morocco in 2018.