Like South Africa, Cameroon's women's football team will be first-timers in London. Previous attempts to qualify have failed, even Cameroon officials admit, because the standard of the women's game was simply not good enough. In part, the reason for this was because women's football in the country lacked the same organisation that the men's game enjoyed and this prevented the Indomitable Lionesses from reaching the success that they have now attained.
Although the African continent has won only one match at previous Women's Olympic Football Tournaments, Cameroon travel to London full of hope and optimism. Winning the gold medal at the African Games in Maputo last year has instilled a belief that they can do well. "I believe in this group I have patiently built. We made it to the Olympics by eliminating Nigeria, which is one of the best teams in Africa and even one of the best in the world," said coach Enow Nagatchu. "It is the result of work that we started three years ago. I hope these achievements will increase the interest for women's football in Cameroon," he added.
Last year the Cameroon Football Federation made a commitment to improve the organisation of women's football in the country. Although they have a first and second division, as well as a cup competition, there is still a lot of work to be done. A good performance at the Olympic Games would no doubt generate further interest in women’s football throughout the country.
Facts and figures
Henriette Nzepang, Regine Mvoue, Rita Djob, Manuella Bekombo
Annette Flore Ngo Ndom (goalkeeper), Françoise Josephine Bella (midfielder, captain), Patience Christine Manie (defender), Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene (forward), Michelle Madeleine Ngono Mani (forward)
The West Africans had no trouble overcoming Mali in the first round, winning both games (5-0 and 1-0). They then faced Equatorial Guinea in the next round and lost 2-0 on aggregate. However, they were re-instated into the competition after one of the Equatorial Guinea players was deemed ineligible. In the final round, Cameroon needed a penalty shoot-out to overcome a stiff challenge from Nigeria.
The numbers game
9: The number of goals Cameroon scored en route to qualifying for the London Olympics.
|1||Annette NGO NDOM|
|9||Madeleine NGONO MANI|