Cameroon misses out on another African Cup


YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) -The return of Samuel Eto'o wasn't enough for Cameroon, which missed out on another African Cup of Nations on Sunday as Cape Verde held its nerve to qualify for its first major tournament.

Cameroon won their second-leg game 2-1 in Yaounde with striker Eto'o back as captain, but Cape Verde still made history following its 2-0 win at home last month for a 3-2 aggregate victory.

Four-time winner Cameroon also didn't make the last tournament and misses successive African championships for the first time in more than 30 years.

"The Lions have played the way they could, unfortunately they lost," said new Cameroon coach Jean-Paul Akono, who took charge for the second leg after stuttering form led to the firing of Frenchman Denis Lavagne. "But it's important to wish the Cape Verde team good luck."

Ethiopia, African champion 50 years ago, qualified for its first Cup of Nations in 30 years while Alain Traore's very late goal for Burkina Faso - his second on the night - cruelly prevented Central African Republic from being the second debutant in South Africa next year.

Togo qualified for the first time since the gun attack on its team bus in 2010 led to its withdrawal from that tournament.

Malaga's 16-year-old striker Fabrice Olinga scored the winner deep into stoppage time for Cameroon from an Eto'o cross. But many of the 55,000 home fans had already left Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium well before the end of what was another desperately disappointing campaign by one of the continent's former powerhouses.

Cape Verde took a 12th-minute lead through Antonio Pereira. Achille Emana equalized before Olinga's goal on debut. But the team, which is nicknamed the Indomitable Lions, was tamed by one of Africa's minnows, which has risen rapidly in FIFA's rankings to now be among Africa's top 10 teams.

Five government ministers from Cape Verde, led by the Atlantic Ocean nation's sports minister, watched their team's biggest moment as it became one of 15 qualifiers to join the host at the finals in January and February.

Ethiopia turned its tie against Sudan with a 2-0 home win to qualify on away goals after a 5-5 aggregate score. Sudan was set for a place at the Cup of Nations after winning the first leg 5-3, but the Ethiopians struck twice in quick succession in the second half to end a long absence from Africa's top tournament.

France-based Traore's double, either side of a Moumouni Dagano penalty, saw Burkina Faso win 3-1 and go through 3-2 on aggregate. The decisive strike in the 96th minute dramatically and cruelly ousted the Central Africans, who scored first and were ahead on away goals until the final seconds. Burkinabe fans flooded onto the pitch to celebrate at the end.

Former Manchester United striker Manucho scored a precious double in the first 10 minutes as Angola beat Zimbabwe 2-0 at home and squeezed through on away goals having lost the first leg 3-1.

Togo beat Gabon 2-1 to win their tie 3-2 in front of 50,000 in Lome. Dove Wome and Tottenham forward Emmanuel Adebayor netted and the Togolese held on following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal for Gabon in the 77th.

Niger surprised Guinea 2-0 with goals in the last 20 minutes at home by Mohamed Chikoto and Boubacar Issoufou to go through 2-1 on aggregate, Congo beat Equatorial Guinea 5-2 on aggregate and Algeria took the final qualifying place when it beat Libya 3-0 on aggregate in their North African derby later on Sunday.

Seven teams, including defending champion Zambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, qualified on Saturday, leaving Cameroon the one big-name absentee.

Eto'o was reinstated as skipper by Akono after the Russia-based player was suspended for eight months and then went into a self-imposed international exile during the troubled reign of Lavagne.

Yet, Cape Verde shocked the home fans with Pereira's early free kick to make it 3-0 on aggregate. Emana replied and Eto'o hit the goal frame before Olinga's debut goal, but disappointed home fans had already headed for the exits as early as 20 minutes before the end.

Troops and riot police with water cannons patrolled the stadium to prevent a repeat of the crowd trouble that occurred in Senegal on Saturday, when fans rioted and forced the abandonment of the qualifier against Ivory Coast with the home team trailing and set to be eliminated. That game and tie were awarded to the Ivorians.

The African Cup of Nations will be held back-to-back in 2012 and 2013 to move it to odd years and avoid it clashing with the World Cup and European Championship. Next year's tournament kicks off on Jan. 19 in Johannesburg, with the final back at the city's FNB Stadium - formerly Soccer City - on Feb. 10.


2013 African Cup of Nations finalists: South Africa (host), Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia.


Associated Press writers Ebow Godwin in Lome, Togo, Dalatou Mamane in Niamey, Niger and Brahima Ouedraogo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso contributed to this report.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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