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FIFA Women World Cup Playoffs: Cameroon falls to Portugal – Lessons Learnt

njoya ajara

The indomitable lionesses have failed to make it for a 3 consecutive apearance at the women’s world cup after loosing to portugal 2-1 in the playoff final game.

Much regrets from a Cameroon side that came into these playoffs as the least ranked side on the FIFA rankings (58th) and that had given hopes to its fans after beating Thailand (ranked 41st)2-0 but faiuled to pass Portugal (ranked world 22) in a dramatic finish, losing 2-1 in extra time.

The lionesses go home with a bitter souvenir but would have learnt a couple of lessons in this playoff:

1) Cameroon Women football has remained very similar to that of its male counterparts composed of much physicality and less tactics which can work for sometime like against Thailand but has its limits when facing European sides whose football are centered around technical and tactical play. The Portoguese dominated in that domain taking ball possesion to over 70 percent. We need to work on the basis and upgrade our playing style in order not to depend on individual prouesses of Njoya Ajara or Aboudi Onguene.

2) Our line up formation for these playoffs was completeyly different from what was known of the team. A 3-5-2 formation with just 3 defenders was something new experimented in these playoffs. A formation that had its limits as some players were still learning on how to fit into this game play which looked pro;ising against Thailand but was a call for concern against Portugal as our midfield completely disappeared in the game leaving an unbalanced formation. Luckily the readjustment brought in the last quarter of the game coming back into our classical 4-3-3 produced a goal.

3) These playoffs have been a barometer to measure the true level of Cameroon’s footballers both local and foreign based. The local championship needs to be steamed up and players taught the basis of football tactics. Goalkeeper Catherine Biya stood as one of the few satisfactions of the local championship, given that Eliane Bibout was a disappointment against portugal while Brenda Tabe watched the entire playoffs from the bench. Our professionals who play accross Europe in various divisions should equally learn to step up their game so as to meet up with the prevailing international standards.

There’s no spontaneaus generation and countries which have been working hard in the development of women football are reaping the fruits while we stay back and count on our history in the game.

This elimination stands as an opportunity for team Cameroon to rebuild from the grassroots.
It’s high time coach Zabo be given the means and free hand to setup a new generation of players and let go some old players. The page has been turned as the 2025 AWCON should be our netx target.

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