YAOUNDE — The tiny Cape Verde Islands eliminated former World Cup quarter-finalists Cameroon to win a place at the African Nations Cup soccer finals for the first time despite losing 2-1 in the second leg of their final-round qualifier yesterday.
A country with a population of 500 000 pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history with their 3-2 aggregate triumph after winning the first leg at home 2-0 last month.
Cape Verde had expected a rampant response from Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in yesterday’s return, but were met instead with a nervy and muted showing, allowing them to extend their aggregate lead 22 minutes into the game with a free kick from Portugal-based striker Heldon.
Cameroon were back level minutes later through Achille Emana, but still needed three more goals to overturn the deficit, a task that seemed beyond their dispirited performance.
The hosts got their second goal four minutes into stoppage when 16-year-old substitute Fabrice Olinga came on to score at the end of a cross from Samuel Eto’o.
The return of four-times African Footballer of the Year Eto’o and a change of coach ahead of the second leg did little to resurrect Cameroon’s fortunes.
They now miss out on the Nations Cup for a second successive tournament, suggesting the era of a regular role as one of African football’s superpowers is at an end.
Cape Verde, with a team drawn from their extensive diaspora in Europe, toyed at times with their much-vaunted hosts, passing the ball around at a pedestrian pace in the second half to waste time.
Ethiopia 2-0 Sudan (Agg: 5-5)
Ethiopia go through on away goals.
The Ethiopian Black Lions booked their place at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 30 years as they earned reward for a patient approach in Addis Ababa.
Sudan won a goal-flush first encounter 5-3 thanks to a late Mohamed Al Tahir brace and were barely troubled during the opening half at the National Stadium in the heart of the Ethiopian capital.
But as the hour mark passed without a goal and it was looking good for the visitors, Adane Girma and Saladin Seid scored a goal apiece to turn the match on its head to the delight of a capacity 30 000 crowd.
Fifty years ago Ethiopia won the Nations Cup and now they have won the right to try to do so again.
Meanwhile, Niger beat Guinea 2-0 Guinea and 2-1 on aggregate to qualify for a second appearance in the Afcon finals while Togo beat Gabon 2-1 and 3-2 on aggregate to book their spot in next year’s finals. – BBC Sport