By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon are the first team to seal their spot at the knockout phase of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations after an emphatic victory over Ethiopia this Thursday, January 13, at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.
It was a historic day for Captain Vincent Aboubakar who scored two of Cameroon’s goals to pick up two milestones from an individual perspective. His two goals mean Aboubakar has now scored 30 for his national team which puts him in the fourth position on the all-time scoring chart, behind Patrick Mboma (33) and Roger Milla (43). Aboubakar still has a long way to make it to the summit which is currently being occupied by Samuel Eto’o (56).
29-year-old former Coton Sport FC player Aboubakar who currently plays in Saudi Arabia for Al Nassr has, however, claimed one record that Samuel Eto’o held for the last few years. Since Samuel Eto’o scored in three consecutive AFCON games back in January 2008 (five in total), no player had scored in three consecutive games in the tournament for the Indomitable Lions – a feat Aboubakar has now broken.
Cameroon like in their first game against Burkina Faso had to rally from a goal down to beat Ethiopia 4-1. Dawa Hotessa Dukele opened the scoring for the Ethiopians at just the 4th minute of the game.
That goal seemed to have woken the Indomitable Lions who rallied back and found the back of the net just four minutes after going behind. Karl Toko Ekambi, Cameroon’s leading goal scorer at the 2019 AFCON (2goals) with the equalizer at the 8th minute. Toko Ekambi had been quiet in the first encounter but this time he made no mistake with most of the chances created.
Vincent Aboubakar, a player who continues to receive rave reviews will score two quick goals a few minutes into the second half of play – 2mins to be precise between his first and second goals. The first came through a header from Fai Collins’ cross at the 53rd minute before showing his power in the box for a sliding goal at the 55th minute.
Vincent Aboubakar scores just penalty? The 2021 AFCON is boring with just 1 goal being scored? These were all questions being asked on the AFCON and the Cameroonian captain but all these have now been put to bed. It was a magnificent game for Aboubakar on a third level as he is just a goal away from matching the feat achieved by Odion Ighalo (he scored five goals in the entire competition) at just the group stage.
Olympique de Lyonnais striker Karl Toko Ekambi will then round off the scoring for Cameroon at the 67th minute, to cap off an excellent performance. He, Fai Collins and Aboubakar could any day have walked off as the man o the match but with his two goals, Aboubakar certainly notched it from the others.
Cameroon is now unbeaten in 8th group stage encounters in their history and they will be hoping the feat continues with the last group game coming against Cape Verde on Monday, January 17. The objective is for the national team to claim the title on home soil, something just a handful of teams have succeeded in doing.
All is not lost for Ethiopia; the chance of Ethiopia making it to the next stage of the competition seems lost but that is far from it. The chance might be slim but Ethiopia could still make it to the knockout stage with a victory in their last game.
The Walias were the first to reach Cameroon and are now looking likely to be the first team to be eliminated from the competition. A victory against Burkina Faso on Monday, January 17 will give the side three points and an outside chance to make it amongst one of the third-best teams in the knockout phase.