The road to Canada
Although Cameroon have been omnipresent at the African Women’s Championship (AWC), Les Lionnes had not yet made it to the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals until qualifying for Canada. They qualified for the AWC finals in Namibia by beating Senegal 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in Ziguinchor and a 1-0 victory at home in Yaounde in the return leg. They got their campaign in Namibia off to a winning start as Raissa Feudjio’s late goal gave the west Africans a 1-0 victory against a fancied South Africa. A 2-0 win against Algeria in their second match ensured their progress into the semi-finals ahead of their final Group B game against Ghana.
Having already been assured of first place in the group and thereby avoiding top favorites Nigeria in the round of the last four, Cameroon could even afford a 1-0 defeat against the Black Queens in their last group match. In the semi-finals Cameroon needed extra-time to beat Côte d’Ivoire’s Les Elephantes 3-1, thereby guaranteeing themselves a first-ever place at the World Cup finals. A 2-0 defeat against Nigeria in the championship match denied them a first AWC title, but having earned the World Cup ticket was consolation enough.
Strengths and style
Unlike the team that beat them in the final, Nigeria, whose success is built on attack, Cameroonian coach Enow Ngachu’s team wins their matches from the back. Annette Ngo Ndom, who has played UEFA Champions League football with her Slovakian club Nove Zamky, won the goalkeeper of the tournament award in Namibia, while captain Christine Manie led a defence that leaked just four goals in the five games they played.
Upfront, the star player is Gaelle Enganamouit, who scored three of the five goals that Cameroon scored in Namibia. Ngachu has a highly experienced squad, most of whom play their club football outside Cameroon and many of them have already appeared on the world stage after representing Les Lionnes at the London Olympics.
Enow Ngachu is a highly experienced coach who was in charge of Les Lionnes at the AWC finals in Equatorial Guinea in 2012 and also led the team to London 2012 – the first time the west African country qualified for the Olympics.
FIFA Women’s World Cup record
– This is Cameroon’s maiden appearance at a senior Women’s World Cup
What they said
“A continental trophy would have been good for Cameroon, but we broke several positive records in the Cup of Nations. We have in our ranks the best goalkeeper and two of our players won player of the game awards. We ended the competition with a silver medal and we had a good competition. We are looking forward to having an impact at the World Cup,” Enow Ngachu, Cameroon coach