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Sunday, October 1, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying: Cameroon overcomes Burundi to secure qualification

Photo Credit: @AkezaSports Twitter

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations for the 21st time on Tuesday after defeating Burundi by a 3-0 score at the Stade Roumdé Adjia in Garoua. Following a poor performance in the first half, Bryan Mbeumo scored soon after halftime with goals also arriving from Christopher Wooh and Vincent Aboubakar as the hosts found their stride. Cameroon joins Namibia as the teams who qualify out of Group C while Burundi are eliminated on the final day.

Cameroon, heavy favorites to win the group, left it until the final day and there was plenty of tension and nerves on display from head coach Rigobert Song’s team in the first half. Burundi, led by veteran Simba SC playmaker Saidi Ntibazonkiza, caused issues against a disjointed Cameroonian defense that gave their opponents far too much space. Cameroon goalkeeper André Onana was crucial after making his return from a self-imposed exile, making three important saves in the opening half hour.

The hosts showed signs of a revival soon before halftime and a dream start to the second half carried the Indomitable Lions to victory. Poor passing in the back from the Burundian defense ended with an awful turnover right to Mbeumo who happily fired in past stranded goalkeeper Onesime Rukundo.

Before the hour mark it was two goals for Cameroon after a corner kick fell kindly in the Burundian penalty area for central defender Wooh to fire in his first goal with the national team. Burundi could not recover from their collapse and Aboubakar, who grew up in Garoua, finished the scoring in second half stoppage time with a calm finish.

Video of the goals from the match are below.