Soccer-Cameroon put turmoil behind them with emphatic win


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa Conference League - Group D - Besiktas v FC Lugano - Vodafone Park, Istanbul, Turkey - October 5, 2023 Besiktas' Vincent Aboubakar celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya/File Photo

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored twice as Cameroon put weeks of turmoil around their national team behind them to beat the Cape Verde Islands 4-1 in their World Cup qualifier in Yaounde on Saturday.

The victory puts them level with Libya at the head of Group D with seven points from their opening three matches in the preliminaries for the next finals.

Centre back Michael Ngadeu marked his return to the team after a two-year absence to put Cameroon into a 13th-minute lead, rising determinedly to power home Nicolas Ngamaleu’s corner.

The left wing also provided the assist for a second goal 12 minutes later with a strong cross that Aboubakar turned into the net from close range as the opposing defence backed off.

Jamiro Monteiro pulled back a goal in the 37th minute, running in behind the home defence and getting on to the ball before goalkeeper Andre Onana.

But a foul on Ngamaleu three minutes later by Deroy Duarte gave Cameroon a penalty that Aboubakar converted to restore their two-goal lead.

The Indomitable Lions went 4-1 up when a 54th-minute cross into the opposing box was headed forward by Ngadeu and finished off by Nouhou Tolo.

The home side's day was complete when Onana saved a stoppage-time penalty from Kevin Pina.

Cameroon have been to more World Cups than any other African country but their bid for a ninth appearance in North America in 2026 threatened to be derailed in a spat between the country’s football federation and sports ministry.

The government, who pay the salary of the coach, named Belgian Marc Brys as new coach in April to the chagrin of football federation president Samuel Eto’o, who was not consulted on the matter.

He at first rejected Brys, then bowed to political pressure to accept the appointment but wanted some of his own choices added to the technical team. It took several weeks of posturing and power plays, including denying the team equipment to train with, before a compromise was reached.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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