Troubled Cameroon could only draw 0-0 at home to Morocco on Sunday and their hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa suffered another blow.
The Yaounde result left the ‘Indomitable Lions’ with a solitary point from two Group A outings and bottom of the table behind Gabon (six), Togo (three) and Morocco (one).
Cameroon hold the African record for World Cup appearances with five, but if they lose away to shock pacesetters Gabon on June 20 they can all but kiss goodbye to featuring in the first to be staged on the continent.
Veteran German coach Otto Pfister quit the ‘Lions’ a few weeks ago after his assistant had been secretly sidelined and replaced by three other local coaches.
Former national team goalkeeper Thomas N’kono, a member of the first Cameroon team to play at the World Cup 27 years ago in Spain, was hurriedly appointed caretaker coach.
But the ‘Black Spider’ watched helplessly from the sideline as Cameroon wasted several good scoring chances against opponents who appeared happy to escape with a point.
Daniel Kome from Spanish second division club Tenerife was the chief culprit when it came to wasted opportunities, failing to score with only goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri to beat as the first half wound down.
Cameroon supporters at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in the capital city of the central African nation got a fright midway through the opening half when Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o had to leave the field through injury.
The three-time African Footballer of the Year recovered and was involved in a penalty appeal before half-time that was ignored by the Mauritian match officials.
Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu silenced his public and media critics at least temporarily with an ultimately comfortable 3-0 victory over Kenya in a Group B Abuja encounter.
After taking a second-minute lead through Ikechukwu Uche, the ‘Super Eagles’ survived several early second half scares before a couple of late goals from young Inter Milan striker Obinna Nsofor settled the outcome.
Nsofor converted a softly awarded penalty on 73 minutes and then unleashed a close range shot that flew over goalkeeper Arnold Otieno after the ‘Harambee Stars’ failed to clear a cross.
Tunisia lead the group with six points and host Nigeria (four) in two weeks while Mozambique (one) and Kenya (none) can forget South Africa and concentrate on third place and a ticket to the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola.
Benin collected their first Group D points thanks to a 1-0 win over poor travellers Sudan in Cotonou with striker Razack Omotoyossi the 21st-minute matchwinner.
The ‘Squirrels’ share first place on three points with group favourites Ghana, who will lack several injured stars when they face Mali in Bamako later Sunday.
Ivory Coast overtook Burkina Faso on goal difference at the summit of Group E after a 2-1 win in Guinea courtesy of goals from Baky Kone near half-time and Koffi ‘Romaric’ Ndri midway through the second half.
Sambegou Bangoura had levelled on 61 minutes for Guinea, whose French coach Robert Nouzaret was told by the military rulers of the west African state to plot a victory or face the sack.
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