The Mena of Niger have beaten Cameroon’s intermediate 2#1, in a pre_CHAN friendly, in Yaoundé. First half goals from Moussa Adamou Issa and Ibrahim Djibrilla Issa were enough to secure maximum points for Niger, despite a consolation from second half substitute, Jacques Zoua.
Coach Martin Ndtoungou Mpile made six changes to the starting XI that played Uganda on New year’s day. Just five players, Yamkam Basile, Onana Fabrice, Serge Andoulou, Ako Assomo and Alfred Meyong who started against Uganda, were retained in the starting XI against Niger.
It took the Mena just five first half minutes to raise the curtains, when Moussa Adamou Issa benefitted from a defensive error from Cameroon, to punish Goalkeeper Haschou Kerrido.
The intermediate lions struggled to get their feet into the game and the closer they came was when Atangana Amougou’s lovely delivery from a corner kick, was powered to the woodworks by Alfred Meyong.
The intermediate lions were forced to conduct an early substitution, when Alfred Meyong picked a knock and was replaced by Ngon A Tiati.
Niger won all the duels in their defensive area, and relied on counter attacks, with which the successfully executed. In one of such moves, Cameroon gifted them a penalty, when Ndedi Junior handled the ball in his penalty area. Ibrahim Djibrilla Issa stepped forward and got Haschou Kerrido beaten for the second time, to put Niger two goals up.
Bougain Wilfred and Jacques Zoua Daogari were introduced at the start of the second segment, as Bryan Soga and Francis Elimbi made way.
An unsettled Intermediate lions failed to impress in almost all aspects, lacking composure, a panicky defense, a transparent Midfield and little chances created in the final third.
Fabrice Onana and Burinyuy Derrick were Ndtoungou Mpile’s next victims, as he pulled them out and throw in Rostand Moukap and YOSA’s defender Oscar Etoga adapted to a holding Midfielder role.
Goalkeeper Halidou Abdoul Razak gave Niger just that kind of confidence they needed, as he time and again denied the intermediate lions.
2017 AFCON winner, Jacques Zoua Daogari fired in a consolation for Cameroon late in the game, tapping in from close range, after Niger could not perfectly clear off Serge Andoulou’s set piece.
Martin Ndtoungou Mpile’s post match reaction was telling of the mood in the lions Den, as his side is now on a run of four friendlies without a win, since their trip to Douala last week.
It was also the second defeat recorded by the intermediate lions since Martin Ndtoungou Mpile was appointed head coach in October 2020.
His balance sheet now reads 13 friendly games played, six wins, five draws and two defeats.
Ndtoungou Mpile managed the intermediate lions to the quarter finals in the 2016 edition of the competition, the best ever performance by Cameroon at the CHAN. Just about 12 days left to the Kick-off of the tournament, Cameroonians are not convinced if the present intermediate lions squad can win them their first ever CHAN, especially on home soil.
The lions will next play Zambia on Thursday, another opportunity for Ndtoungou Mpile and his boys to prove to Cameroonians that they can be trusted.