By Muambo Edward 

Football Writer, Cameroon

The Under 23 Indomitable Lions of Cameroon have braved the odds and secured a ticket for the 2019 U-23 AFCON scheduled to take place in Egypt after a 2-1 loss to Tunisia this Tuesday September 10, 2019 in Rades.

Cameroon defeated Tunisia 1-0 in Yaounde in the first leg game of the third and final round of qualifiers for the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations.

Rigobert Song’s charges went into this game with a slender one goal lead but still made sure of the qualification.

OGC Nice forward Ignatius Ganago comforted Cameroon’s chance of qualifying by giving them the lead at the 15 minute.

The Carthage Eaglets got their equalizer at the 37th minute when Wahji Sehli’s well taken shot went out of the reach of a fully stretched Cameroon goalkeeper Simon Omossola.

The Tunisians were motivated by their huge home support to go after the two goals they now needed to qualify for the competition.
Captain Samuel Oum Gwet and his teammates showed nerves of Steel, but were given a real scare when Tunisia were awarded a penalty of their own at the 72nd minute. Olivier Mbaizo was judged to have brought down a Wahji Selhi in the box and the Egyptian referee Mohamed Abdel who pointed to the spot.

The Habib Wesleti stepped up and made no mistake. With just a goal away from a qualification ticket, they pushed on for the break through, but the Cameroon back line defended with their hearts.

Cameroon has now succeeded to qualify for the U-23 AFCON for the first time since the competition was introduced in 2011.

Indomitable Lions coach Rigobert Song praised the Tunisian team but just like his Tunisian counterpart lamented the fact that they did not have games and competitions at this category.

Elsewhere, South Africa took a five goals cushion into the second leg after beating Zimbabwe 5-0 in the first leg. The return leg ended in a virgin draw which means Bafana Bafana also sealed their place for the tournament
Nigeria overturned a one goal deficit after losing the first leg game 0-1 against Sudan with a sound 5-0 win the return leg.

Zambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast and the host nation Egypt, have all sealed their places for the eight nations tournament.

The three top teams in the eight nation tournament will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Under 23 AFCON will begin in Egypt on November 8, 2019 and the final will be played on November 22, 2019.

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