By Ekema Njoku .M.
Joseph Ndocko and his girls triumphed over the Eaglets of Mali on a 4-2 parity joining Nigeria and South Africa to represent Africa for the women’s global jamboree in France 2019.
A brace from Therese Abena and goals from Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and Captain Christine Mani sealed victory for the Indomitable Lionesses, cancelling goals from Fatoumata Diarra and an own goal from Aurelle Awona for the Eaglets at the Cape Coast Stadium.
With this win over Mali, Coach Ndocko and his squad secured the last available ticket for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, joining the Super Falcons of Nigeria and the Bayana Bayana of South Africa the AWCON finalists.
Four changes were made to the Cameroonian side that lost to Nigeria on penalties in the Semi-finals by JB Ndocko. Augustine Ejangue, Charlene Meyong, Therese Abena and Jeannette Ngock took the places of Yvonne Leuko, Gabrielle Onguene, Gaelle Enganamouit and Ngo Mbeleck.
For the Eaglets of Mali, kani Konte, Lala Dicko and Fatoumata Diarra were the new faces in Mohamed Saloum Houssein’s starting XI, replacing Sebe Coulibaly, Yakare Niakate and Djenaba Baradji.
As early as the third minute into the Game the Lionesses went knocking for an opener when Nchout Ajara’s shot went wide after being played through on goal by Charlene.
At the other end of the pitch Bassira Toure also hit a shot wide from inside the box after taking control of a loose ball.
The first goal came at the 32nd minute of play when Marlyse Ngo drove her way into the box and released a wonderful cut-back for Abena who planted the ball into the net from close range.
Therese Abena added salt to injury when she put the Lionesses 2-0 up in the 40th minute with a tap-in, following a brilliant left-foot cross from Claudine Meffemetou.
Barely a minute to the break Fatoumata Diarra pulled one back for Mali pouncing on a cut-back by Bassira Toure and sent a shot beyond the Cameroonian Shot-stopper Ngo Ndom.
The Malians levelled scores after the recess, when Aurelle Awona attempted a defence clearance but directed the ball into her own net after Fatoumata delivered a cross shot on goal.
Cameroon, however, got back her lead when last AWCON’s best player Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene, dispossessed Salimata Diarra off the ball outside the box and drove a wonderfully coined shot into the net.
Bassira Toure wasted a clear opportunity to bring Mali on level terms with Cameroon on 75 minutes, when she sent a close range-shot over the bar after being setup up by Niakate.
Then came the opportunity for Cameroon to extend her lead through a long range free-kick and Captain Mani took it catching the Malian Goalkeeper of guard making it four goals for Cameroon and two for Mali.
With this victory Coach Joseph Brain Ndocko and his girls bounced back from a traumatizing loss to the Super Falcons of Nigeria in the semi-finals, but also made this classification encounter, Cameroon second defeat over Mali in the tournament. So Cameroon joins Nigeria and South Africa as Africa’s representatives for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be hosted by France.