Cameroon beat Nigeria in Yaounde on Saturday to qualify for the Women’s soccer tournament of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Lionesses defeated the Falcons of Nigeria 4-3 after post-match penalty kicks in the last round of qualifiers for the tournament.
The game had finished 2-1 in favour of Cameroon after 90 minutes, but both teams were tied 3-3 on aggregate since the Nigerians had won 2-1 at home in the first-leg. None of the teams managed to score during 30 minutes of extra-time, ushering a penalty shoot-out to separate them.
It is the first time that Cameroon have defeated Nigeria in a competitive female football game at senior level.
Their victory comes only a few weeks after they won the gold medal at the Women’s Football tournament of the All Africa Games in Mozambique.
These results are a boost to ladies’ soccer in Cameroon which is not given as much attention as the men’s game.
For instance, the Lionesses had not been paid the bonuses they were promised after winning the All Africa Games. They had to threaten that they would not train for (or play in) this vital qualifier against Nigeria before the authorities made moves to appease them. Such a situation would not happen to the men’s senior team – no matter the results they obtain.
Hopefully, this pioneer qualification to the Olympics would be an eye-opener to authorities, so they give equal attention to the various national squads. It should also indicate that women can do more than support football teams – they can also play and win for Cameroon.
Gef’s Football Club says congrats to the Lionesses. It was a great team effort, although there should be particular kudos to their coach/manager Enow Ngatchu.
He has remained dedicated to his task, displaying skills in psychology and negotiation to keep the ladies focused and upbeat despite the lack of attention shown by sports authorities.