VICTORIA-LIMBE, 3 February 2021 – Cameroon were routed by defending champions, Morocco, four goals to zero, in the second semi-finals of the 2020 African Nations Championships.
Mali had earlier picked up the other ticket to the final of the tournament (CHAN2020) by beating Guinea, five goals to four, in post-match penalties.
Morocco, whose winning streak was extended to 12, also became the first team in the tournament to turn down free accommodation offered by Cameroon in Victoria-Limbe, the oil-rich town on the Atlantic coast of the breakaway English-speaking Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia.
Instead, the Moroccans elected to travel from their hotel in Douala, economic capital of French-speaking Cameroon, straight to the Centenary Stadium.
The move is the first recognition by any of the teams that the genocidal violence unfolding in Ambazonia does not offer an appropriate environment for a continental tournament.
Pro-independence campaigners called a boycott of the tournament and declared a lockdown of the region, with residents staying home.
The Morocco versus Cameroon game was awfully one-sided, except for the first 20 minutes.
Morocco dominated play for the rest of the match, taking Cameroon to the dry cleaners and essentially using their semi-final encounter as practice session for the final.
Bouftini put Morocco on the scoreboard at the 29th minute and the floodgates were opened allowing the Moroccans free run through the boulevards in the midfield.
Striker Rahimi scored the second goal for Morocco five minutes before the halt-time whistle and repeated the feat at the 74th minute to put the Atlas Lions of Morocco three goals up.
Ali Bemammer completed the festival of goals at the 82nd minute.
The big joke in Ambazonia at the close of the game was to reference the approximate English of Cameroon’s Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atanga Nji.
Recently – and consistent with his lack of mastery of the Queen’s language – Atanga Nji took same the knife the Biya regime is using to slaughter Ambazonians to the English language.
“Yaounde sent them to the quarter-finals. Douala sent them to the semi-finals. And Victoria-Limbe sent the “boyses” to the bushes,” Ambazonians mocked the losers in social media postings.
After the zero-zero draw at full-time in the first semi-final, Mali were perfect in post-match penalties with all five of their players – Samake, Kyabou, Samabali, Kanoute and Coulibaly – putting their spot kicks out of reach of the Guinean goalie.
Guinea held their own from the spot, with the first four penalty takers – Barry, Camara, another Camara and Bangoura – all scoring their kicks.
Guinea’s hero and forward, Sylla, who scored the winning goal for his side in the quarter-finals, failed to transform from the spot, giving Mali victory.
Guinea and Cameroon will play for the third and fourth positions next February 6 with Mali taking on defending champions, Morocco, next February 7.
CHAN2020 has been ongoing on four stadia – three in Cameroon and one in Southern Cameroons – since last January 16.
The tournament was delayed after Ethiopia (the initial hosts) dropped out and Cameroon stepped in to take over.
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.