Cameroon beat Mali for the second time in the tournament with a 4-2 scoreline on Friday in Cape Coast to finish third and book their ticket for the Women’s World Cup in France next year.
Two goals from Abena Ninon and a spectacular strike by substitute Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene was enough for the Indomitable Lionesses.
Ninon broke the deadlock of the game in the 32nd minute after connecting a pass from Marlyse Ngo Ndoumbouk.
Ninon got herself a brace nine minutes afterwards as she slotted in a cross from the left by Claudine Meffometou Tcheno.
On the stroke of halftime, Fatoumata Diarra reduced the Malians’ deficit with a sublime finish benefiting from a Bassira Toure cross.
Central defender Aurelle Awona put the ball into her own net after failing to clear a cross by substitute Sebe Coulibaly twelve minutes into the second half.
Aboudi climbed off the bench to score to restore Cameroon’s lead in the 62nd minute.
‘Les Aiglons’ nearly broke the hearts of Cameroon but Bassira Toure missed a sitter 15 minutes from full-time.
Mali came very close again but a free-kick on the edge of the box by Salimata Diarra missed the posts by inches.
Seconds away from the final whistle, captain Christine Manie capped off the victory with a stupendous free-kick from a long distance.
Total Woman of the Match: Jeannette Yango (Cameroon)
Joseph Brian Ndoko (Head Coach, Cameroon)
I think it will be ungrateful not to thank you all for this successful. Initially I wanted to win the tournament and against Nigeria in the semi-finals you all saw how it went. I want to congratulate the Malian coach for the wonderful work he has done. This is an indication of the progress in African football.
Cameroon hosted the tournament in 2016 and I believe most of you were present. With this year’s tournament, there were a lot of uncertainties whether we were coming to Ghana or not. Tomorrow it is yes and it’s someway the next day. I think there was poor publicity that’s why most of the stadiums were barely empty during matches. It is two things, either we don’t just like women’s football or something else. I hope things will get better with time.
Positively most teams have improved and progressed. An instance is Mali who made history this year by make it to the semi-finals for first ever time. I remember CAF organized workshops for us ahead of the tournament and I suggest they continue with it.
Mohamed Saloum Houssein (Head Coach, Mali)
First of all I will congratulate my colleague (Joseph Ndoko) for winning the game and to make it to the World Cup this evening. We came into the game with intentions of clinching victory but we fought till the end. What I can say is that experience has taken the lead and advantage.
Maybe Mali snatched Ghana’s joy by making it from the stages. After Ghana’s exit, attendance at stadiums has been very abysmal. But aside that, there have been much improvements and we can see that in some of the results. I will commend the coaches for their efforts. It has reflected in the tournament.
Building up a team, there are some factors to consider. Our team is a blend of the young and experienced. We have realized most of the experienced players will be retiring soon and the upcoming ones are also picking up. We have to note that if there is no league in your country, it is challenging. It is an advantage to have a league because it is easy to get replacements. But when there is no league, you have to pull strings before you get good players for the national team.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)