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North African teams draw first blood in Qatar World Cup 2022 qualifiers

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The eagerly awaited first-leg matches of the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifying matches to determine African qualifiers for the Mundial held across the continent on Friday, was dominated by North African teams with Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia picking crucuial away wins.

Egypt pipped their AFCON 2021 conquerors, Senegal, 1-0, and Algeria replicated same against Cameroon, while Morocco brightened their chances by drawing 1-1 away to DR Congo, and Mali gifted Tunisia a 1-0 away win through an own goal.

However, the much anticipated West African derby between Ghana and Nigeria ended in a 0-0 stalemate in what many fans described as a boring affair but with the return leg on Tuesday in Abuja, the die is cast for the long held ‘Jollof Derby’ to be settled once and for all.

With just five goals scored across the five first-leg matches in Africa’s World Cup qualifying playoffs, the return legs may not be as cagey as the first leg matches showed.

Egypt humbles Senegal

An unfortunate own goal in the 4th minute by Senegal’s Saliou Ciss was all Egypt needed to pip the African champions 1-0 in the first leg of their World Cup play-off in Cairo.

The mistake which forced Ciss to turn the ball pass Eduoard Mendy came from a shot by Mohamed Salah which struck the defender and flew past the Chelsea keeper to nestle in the back of the net.

The game which featured Liverpool’s win strike stars, Salah and Sadio Mane, was touted to be a repeat of the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations final which Senegal won on penalties after a pulsating 0-0 draw, but the match turned out to be a cagey affair with few chances created by either sides.

Algeria pips Cameroon for crucial lead

Cameroon have a mountain to climb when they face Algeria in the second leg after Islam Slimani’s headed goal gave the former African champions a 1-0 away victory to take put one foot in the World Cup in Qatar.

Algeria will host Caneroon in the return tie in Blida on Tuesday, and may well be dreaming of their fifth appearance at the Mundial.

Morocco in the driver’s seat after draw in DR Congo

A brilliant Tarik Tissoudali equaliser late in the game saw Morocco fight back after an earlier missed penalty, to earn a 1-1 draw away at Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Kinshasa.

The draw moves the North African giants closer to a sixth World Cup appearance in Qatar with the second leg billed for Casablanca looking a sure win for the host.

Yoane Wissa had given DRC a credible 12th-minute lead after he beat the offside trap down the left wing, before cutting inside and unleashing a shot from just outside the box that took a slight defection off a Moroccan defender and beating goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to his blind side.

With away goals counting double on the continent, odds favour Morocco to take the day on Tuesday.

Unfortunate Mali hands Tunisia initiative

Malian defender Moussa Sissako, was the villain as his unforced own goal gave Tunisia the away goal.

Sissako scored the bizarre own goal in the 36th minute when his attempt to pass the ball back to his keeper sailed into an empty net.

He was then sent off four minutes later after being adjudged to have tripped a Tunisian attacker as the last man in defense.

Even a goal and a man down, Mali had chances to at least draw level with Yves Bissouma missing two sisters, but in the end, it was Tunisia that smiled last with the second leg looking almost done and dusted.

Drab stalemate in Ghana and Nigeria ‘Jollof Derby’

The matchup between eternal rivals, Ghana and Nigeria had generated so much reviews with the much touted ‘Jollodf Derby’ billed to be the biggest match of the day.

But at the end of 90 minutes, both set of fans were disappointed at the dean barren draw at the packed Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

The only excitement in an otherwise forgettable derby was the the VAR controversy which denied Nigeria a obvious penalty in the second half half after a Ghanaian midfielder, Iddrisu Baba, had scooped the ball with his hands under pressure from Nigerian strikers.

A review of the decision in the closing stages of the west African showdown found that Baba was fouled before he handled the ball.

However, the two countries still have Tuesday to end the ‘Jollof Debate’ at the MKO Stadium in Abuja.

Final Results

Egypt 1-0 Senegal

Ghana 0-0 Nigeria

Cameroon 0-1 Algeria

Mali 0-1 Tunisia

DRC 1-1 Morocco

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Cameroon keeper Onana throws more jibes after World Cup controversy

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Cameroon’s first choice goalkeeper, André Onana, has thrown more jibes on the country’s football authorities following a controversy that rocked the team at the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar which led to his being thrown out of the team camp.

The Inter Milan shot stopper who fell out with coach Rigobert Song and FECAFOOT boss, Samuel Eto’o after Cameroon lost to Switzerland in their first match, took to Twitter on Thursday to share a new cryptic message which has further heightened the scandal that rocked the team at the World Cup.

Onana who returned to Cameroon for his holidays after leaving Qatar following his omission from Cameroon’s starting XI in their 3-3 draw against Serbia, shared a message which many think is a subtle shade on Eto’o, Song and other members of the football federation.

Writing in both French and English, the 26-year-old former Ajax keeper said:

“In a world where lying is the most common thing, telling the truth makes you a revolutionary. But in the end, time will put everything in its place,” he said.

Onana got into trouble when he challenged Song on his team training methods and following an altercation, Eto’o tried to intervene and settle the rift between them failed, he was initially suspended for the Serbia game but after the match, Onana left Qatar in anger.

He later released a statement saying that he didn’t find will ‘on the other side’ to solve problems.

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Cameroonian FA boss, Samuel Eto’o apologises for attacking Algerian cameraman during World Cup

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Football legend and current President of the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT), Samuel Eto’o, has apologised for violently attacking an Algerian cameraman and Youtuber influencer outside a stadium at the ongoing FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

A video of the assault had gone viral on Tuesday where the former Real Madrid and Barcelona star was seen hitting the cameraman in the face after he had requested for an interview with the Cameroonian football boss shortly after Brazil’s 4-1 victory over South Korea in a second round match which was played on Monday.

However, following serious backlash and condemnation from football fans and officials, the former forward took to his official Twitter page to tender an apology.

“On last 5 December, after the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter,” Eto’o wrote.

“I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.

“I pledge to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters. Indeed, since the Cameroon-Algeria match on 29 March in Blida, I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence.

“During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans have been harassed and pestered by Algerians on the same subject. I would like to mention that the scenario of Algeria’s defeat was cruel but perfectly in line with the rules and ethics of our sport.

“All the appeals made by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent jurisdictions have been rejected. I, therefore, call on the Algerian authorities and Federation to take responsibility to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs,” he added.

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