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FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 play-offs: Cameroon in a period of doubt

Since 2020, the women’s team of Cameroon is going through a complicated period. With a generation of aging players and not very prolific, the qualification for the World Cup 2023 looks hypothetical.

The years follow each other and start to look the same for the Cameroonian women’s soccer team. Long considered the second best nation in Africa behind Nigeria, the country of the Indomitable Lionesses has lost its status. To the point where the girls coached by Gabriel Zabo must now go through the test of the playoffs to hope to play a World Cup finals.

Indeed, after the editions of 2015 and 2019, Aboudi Onguéné and her teammates dream of a third consecutive participation in the World Cup 2023 (July 20 to August 20, 2023 in Australia and New Zealand). But this time, the Cameroonians will have to play the playoffs of the competition. They will face Thailand on February 18 in New Zealand. A match that they must win to then meet Portugal in the final in Group A.

Cameroon lost the flame

The mission will be difficult for the Cameroonians. Already against a team of Thailand, vice-champion of Asia. A team of Thailand that has passed its test on the continental level by totaling 5 wins, a draw and a single defeat. And a total of 16 goals scored against 5 conceded. If the Elephants of war have what to frighten the Lionesses, what about the female selection of Portugal which is even more formidable?

Gabriel Zabo should not have an easy sleep. And for good reason, his players are stuck since the 2020s, in a long desert crossing. In this period of doubt, a lot of diametrically related problems agitate the Cameroonian formation. A team capable of being tied by a small formation of Togo (1-1), but also unable to pass the quarterfinals of the Africa Cup of 2022. A first for nearly 20 years, for the nation eighth finalist of the 2015 and 2019 Worlds. The Lionesses have lost the flame. And it begins to show.

Feverish defense, inoffensive attack

There is indeed not enough regularity in this Cameroonian team. Especially since the key players are beginning to show signs of fatigue. No doubt because of the age that advances. In defense, for example, Estelle Johnson (34 years), Aurele Awona (30 years) and Falonne Meffometou (32 years) do not have the same physical strength. In attack, Aboudi Onguéné (33) and Njoya Ajara (30) are no longer warriors. The first, a player of CSKA Moscow, has scored only 5 goals at club level and none in the national team during the year 2022. The second, playing for Inter Milan, has only scored 5 goals for club and 3 for national team in 2022.

In the locker room as on the field, Cameroon is in limbo. And it is not the lack of confidence of the first-choice goalkeeper, Ange Bawou, which will fix things. The Indomitable Lionesses have been slowing down lately and will have to improve. At the risk of playing the World Cup on the… PlayStation. SNA

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