The Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon
By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Three days after Cameroon joined South Africa as Africa’s representatives at next year’s Women's Olympic Football Tournament in London, Zouga Edoa, the player who made that feat possible by scoring the first goal for the Indomitable Lionesses is still in cloud nine.
Edoa said Monday that the victory and the chance to play at the Olympiad at the expense of six-time African champions, Nigeria was too sweet to forget so soon.
“Our joy is immense,” she admitted. “What gives us the most pleasure is that we achieved this against Nigeria, who stopped us from reaching the last World Cup final. Today, we have avenged that defeat and is now our turn to be at the world stage,” gushed Edoa.
Interestingly, before the match, Cameroon coach Enow Ngachu had warned her wards that it was going to be mostly a “psychological war between the two teams.”
“It was not easy for us to qualify even when they were reduced to ten,” said Ngachu. “But the result is there. We qualified, and I am proud of my daughters.”
Behind 2-1 from the first leg in Abuja at the end of August, the Cameroonians won by the same scoreline result in the second leg to level the aggregate score at 3-3. They then held their nerve in the shoot-out at the Amadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde to send her countrymen and women into wild celebration.
The Falcons have long been the dominant women’s side on the continent with Ghana and South Africa traditionally chasing, but Equatorial Guinea and now Cameroon have made great strides to close the lead held by Nigeria.
Just last year, the Lionesses were humbled 5-1 by eventual champions Nigeria in the semi-finals of the Women's Football Championship in qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. But Cameroon won the All Africa Games gold medal in Mozambique last month, defeating Banyana Banyana and Ghana in the knockout rounds.