Cameroon players celebrate after they won the Group A Africa Cup of Nations 2021 football match between Cameroon and Burkina Faso at Stade d’Olembé in Yaounde on January 9, 2022. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP
Cape Verde beat Ethiopia 1-0
By Valentine Amanze
(with agency report)
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and host of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has kick-started the 2021 edition of the football fiesta in Yaounde with a 2-1 win against the coronavirus-ravaged Burkina Faso team on Sunday January 9, 2022.
The Lions Captain, Vincent Aboubakar, scored a brace of penalties as hosts Cameroon came from behind to win the match.
Gustavo Sangare had given Burkina Faso the lead in the Group A match at the Olembe Stadium, but Aboubakar equalised from the spot five minutes before the interval after a VAR review.
The 29-year-old, who netted the winner in the 2017 Cup of Nations final against Egypt, then scored what proved to be the decider in first-half stoppage time and he was only denied a hat-trick by an offside flag after the break.
It is the perfect start for the Indomitable Lions as they seek to win their sixth continental title on home soil, with Cameroon finally getting to host a tournament that was taken away from them and given to Egypt in 2019 before being postponed a year ago due to the pandemic.
Covid restrictions limited the crowd at the Olembe Stadium to 80 percent of its 60,000-capacity, but that did not spoil the party for the hosts and celebratory fireworks lit up the sky at full-time.
The match and opening ceremony were attended by Cameroon’s 88-year-old President Paul Biya, who has ruled the central African country for 40 years, as well as FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Confederation of African Football supremo Patrice Motsepe.
Also, in another Group A match, Cape Verde defeated Ethiopia 1-0.