Aboubakar stars as Cameroon hammer Cape Verde after chaotic build-up

AFP | Vincent Aboubakar scored twice as Cameroon shrugged off a chaotic build-up to trounce Cape Verde 4-1 on Saturday in a 2026 World Cup qualifier in Yaounde.

The veteran forward hitb two as the Indomitable Lions built a 3-1 half-time lead after Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui had put the home team ahead in a Group D matchday three clash.

Nouhou Tolo netted the only goal of the second half in the Cameroonian capital. Jamiro Monteiro was the lone Cape Verdian scorer.

The showdown between two unbeaten teams was surprisingly one sided given Cameroon are only 14 places higher than Cape Verde in the world rankings.

Cape Verde performed better at the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast, losing to South Africa on penalties in a quarter-final while Cameroon fell to Nigeria in a last-16 match.

Cameroon lead Group D on goal difference from Libya with both teams have accumulated seven points. Angola have five, Cape Verde four, Mauritius one and Eswatini none.

On Tuesday, Cameroon face a potentially trickier fixture away to Angola. Cape Verde will host Libya the same day.

The Cameroonian build-up had been marred by a power struggle between the sports ministry and the football federation, which former Barcelona and Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o heads.

Four-time African Footballer of the Year Eto’o was furious when the ministry appointed Belgian Marc Brys as coach several months ago after the contract of Rigobert Song expired.

– War of words –

While former Liverpool defender Song plotted a play-off victory over Algeria which took Cameroon to the 2022 World Cup, they failed to get past the first round in Qatar.

Eto’o fired Brys, who previously coached clubs in his homeland, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, after heated exchanges ahead of the Cape Verde qualifier only to reinstate him 24 hours later.

Federation officials later temporarily withdrew equipment from the national squad, including kit, as a war of words with ministry counterparts raged.

Amid the chaos, the squad displayed unity to maintain a perfect World Cup record against Cape Verde, having beaten the island nation home and away in qualifiers for the 2010 finals.

New Gambia coach Johnny McKinstry from Northern Ireland made a dream debut as successor to Belgian Tom Saintfiet when his team whipped the Seychelles 5-1 in Moroccan city Berkane.

After the first half ended 1-1, goals from Muhammed Badamosi, Musa Barrow, Yankuba Minteh and Adama Sidibeh delivered a record winning margin for the Gambians in a World Cup qualifier.

Badamosi had opened the scoring on 10 minutes only for Ryan Henriette to equalise soon after for the Seychelles, who have conceded 19 goals.

Despite the huge win, the Gambia remain fifth in Group F with three points, six behind leaders the Ivory Coast. Seychelles prop up the standings after three heavy losses.

Matchday four kicks off on Sunday with top-10 ranked teams Senegal and Tunisia among the nations in action.

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