By Etienne Mengnjo Mainimo
The Cameroon U-23 national team has failed to qualify for the 2015 AFCON in Senegal and the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil.
The Olympic Lion’s adventure came to an end last Saturday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium after pulling a 1-1 tie with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.
Physically fit and full of life, Garita, Minala, Yanki and Kenne of Cameroon compelled their visitors to take refuge in their defense.
Authors of a tantalizing game with constant pressing and interesting passes, Cameroon lost their first chance to take the lead as captain Tabi Manga’s strike at the 11th minute went over the cross bar.
Cheered by fans, the lions continue pushing but always coming to a stop. At the 32nd minutes the U-23 Cameroon squeezed their opponent and finally cracked the hard wall for an opener (1-0). The lions would have added the score but it went off target.
With a goal down at the end of the first half, the Leone Stars continued to put more pressure but did not sail through.
The hopes of qualifying for the 3rd round of the qualifiers was already sure for the lions but the Sierra Leonean invade Cameroon camp and in the final second’s stoppage time, a penalty was awarded to the Leone Stars.
Diving and pushing the ball out, goalkeeper Ako Andre of Cameroon could not stopped the second kick that equalized the game and gave Sierra Leone the qualification ticket.
Cameroon played a 0-0 tie during the first leg hosted by Sierra Leone in Cameroon and the lions failed to score a goal. The non-qualification is coming on the hills of another failure to qualify for the All African Games.
The elimination of the Cameroon team has been blame for the lack of calling competent players who can defend the national colours.
Another point has been that there was lack of serious preparation for the squad that was mostly made of Francophones and to an extent, sons from Yaounde. Fans say if nothing is done to solve this problem, the national selections will go no way.