Cameroon misses out on another African Cup

Associated Press Modified: October 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm •  Published: October 14, 2012
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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.

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