The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon have made a neat start of their 2008 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a 3-0 away win over Rwanda. It was the first game for new head coach Ari Haan had to wait for almost an hour before having the curtain raiser. His substitution of Roudolphe Douala Mbella, slightly injured, with Guy Feutchine proved very inspirational.
Only after four minutes, Feutchine liberated the team with the long waited curtain raiser in the 56th minutes. As the Rwanda defence organised around Elias Ntaganda struggled to play safe, Feutchine chipped in.
The Rwanda resistance collapsed at the same time. Goalkeeper Ramazani Nkunzingoma who had been very inspirational, making numerous saves during the first half, became a shadow of himself.
Little wonder six minutes later Ntaganda fouled Samuel Eto’o at the entrance of the penalty box. It was a proper distance, about 25 metres, for Geremi Njitap to drive in a neat shot to make it 2-0 for Cameroon.
Thanks to the advantage, the Lions improved on their game and did what they know best, developing from back, passing through an excellent Landry Nguemo, before attempting on goal.
Three substitutions did not helped Rwandan coach Michael Hees. From his bench he shouted instructions which apparently fell on death ears due to fatigue and confusion in the camp of the Amavumbi Stars.
The Wasps failed to hurt their opponents as they found themselves in a very tight corner. The over 25.000 man who had been hoping for just a draw had long been silent.
In his first official game with the Indomitable Lions, Nguemo made his mark. After a beautiful game, organising in the midfield and serving others, he had his chance of icing the cake. Feutchine had an opening on the right flank and serve Nguemo who finished up calmly, with five minutes left to go.
The final score did not surprise any Rwandan fans, not even their president of the republic Paul Kagame who was amongst the fans on the stance.
Michael Hees – Coach of Rwanda
“I am not happy the results, but happy with the performance of my players. No coach can be happy when he loses. My team did a nice job but lost concentration, in front of the very professional Cameroon side. Our opponents were just too strong for us.”
Ari Haan – Coach of Cameroon
“As expected our opponents put up a good resistance and we had to work very hard to get the liberation goal. Once that happened they got confused and opened up space for us. The rest was good. We were able to play our game and take the ball into the half.”
M. Etonge in Kigali, Rwanda