World Cup: Cameroon reach playoffs

CLEAR PATH::The ‘Indomitable Lions,’ six-time World Cup qualifiers, became the last nation to reach the African playoffs, with Samuel Eto’o threatening to quit


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 - Page 18

Cameroon defender Aurelien Chedjou turned goalscorer on Sunday to sink Libya 1-0 and move his country closer to the World Cup finals in Brazil.

The Yaounde victory sealed first place in Group I for the “Indomitable Lions,” who finished four points clear of their opponents.

Chedjou, who recently signed a four-year contract with Turkish club Galatasaray, netted three minutes before half-time.

Cameroon suffered a blow on the hour mark when new Chelsea signing Samuel Eto’o limped off, to be replaced by Jacques Zoua.

A draw would have been enough for six-time World Cup qualifiers Cameroon, while Libya needed maximum points to keep alive their dreams of a first appearance.

Libya set the pace for much of a six-round mini-league that began in the middle of last year, but Togo did them no favors in June.

The Togolese fielded a suspended player in a 2-0 win over Cameroon, who were awarded a 3-0 victory and three points.

Instead of facing Libya in second place two points adrift, the “Lions” had a one-point lead and home advantage at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

Cameroon were the last nation to reach the playoffs, joining Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal.

A seeded draw, based on the latest FIFA rankings, is to be made on Monday next week in Cairo.

The winners of five two-leg ties scheduled for next month and November, go to Brazil.

Togo finally had cause to celebrate when a stoppage-time goal from Backer Aloenouvo delivered a 2-1 home win over the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Lalawele Atakora put the Togolese ahead during the first half in Lome and Saoule Ebunga equalized nine minutes from time.

Benin completed their Group H campaign with a 2-0 victory over bottom side Rwanda in Porto Novo, through goals from Mickael Pote and Bello Babatuinde.

Kenya ended a five-match win drought in the qualifying competition by edging visiting Namibia 1-0 in Nairobi.

Defender David Owino scored after five minutes to give the “Harambee Stars” maximum points from their final mini-league fixture.

The result meant a change of positions in the final standings, with Kenya climbing to third and Namibia dropping to last place.

African champions Nigeria won Group F on Saturday by defeating Malawi 2-0 in Calabar as they look to qualify for their second straight World Cup after going out in the first round in South Africa.

Zimbabwe and Mozambique drew 1-1 in Harare, leaving the southern African neighbors winless after six Group G matches each.

Captain Masimba Mambare put the home side ahead just before half-time and substitute Maninho leveled on the hour mark.

Egypt were runaway winners of the group and complete their schedule today at home to second-placed Guinea in El-Gouna. Mozambique finished third and Zimbabwe last.

Meanwhile, Eto’o said he would quit the Cameroon national team for “family reasons” after a row with coach Volker Finke over team selection.

The 32-year-old, who also threatened to retire from international soccer in September last year before changing his mind, told teammates in the dressing room after Sunday’s win over Libya that he was ending his 16-year career with the “Indomitable Lions,” according to French newspaper L’Equipe.

His announcement follows a week of tension in the team camp after Eto’o demanded the selection of goalkeeper Carlos Kameni and striker Achille Webo against Libya, with Finke refusing to agree.

Eto’o, four-time African Footballer of the Year, initially suggested he was not fit to play because of a groin injury, but did take part in the match and even wore the captain’s armband before being replaced on the hour mark.

Eto’o, who signed for Chelsea from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala last month, has scored 56 goals in 114 appearances for Cameroon and appeared at three World Cup finals in 1998, 2002 and 2010.