Cameroon senior women’s national team were defeated 2-1 by Chile in the CAF–CONMEBOL Tokyo 2020 Olympics playoff, first leg qualifying match in Antalya on Saturday.
The Lionesses were made to wait 13 months for this chance to return to the Olympics, having earlier lost the Caf’s automatic ticket to Zambia, who are now Tokyo-bound for their debut campaign at the Games this summer.
The first leg encounter at the Arslan Zeki Demirci Sports Complex saw both teams creating several opportunities until Chile found a breakthrough thanks to Camila Saez’s brilliant header in the 27th minute.
The Cameroonians pushed for an equaliser through experienced Ajara Nchout and Gabrielle Onguene but the visitors were rock solid to thwart the pouring attack of Alain Djeumfa’s team before the half time.
The Africans made a fine start to the second half as Nchout and Onguene continued in their superb forms for the hosts but Carla Guerrero’s 75th minute header gave the visitors a crucial two away goal advantage.
After conceding their second goal, Djeumfa’s team became more purposeful with their late attempts to keep their qualification hopes alive until they found the back of the net two minutes later through Nchout’s individual brilliance.
With Nchout’s late consolation, Cameroon have brightened their chances of advancing but they will need to make the best of their chances in the decisive return leg at the same venue in Antalya on Tuesday 13 April.
Despite a 2-1 first-leg defeat at home, a triumph in the second leg will see the Lionesses join Zambia as the second African representative in the Olympic finals draw scheduled for 21 April at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.