Hosts Cameroon opened Group A of the African Nations Championship with a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe on Saturday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.
Salomon Banga Bindjeme’s goal in the 72nd minute is all that the Indomitable Lions – who struggled against the Warriors – needed in order to open the competition with a win.
Zimbabwe would feel undone by the Banga’s acrobatic goal but have to take pride in how they countered and faced Cameroon as they prepare for the next games against Mali and Burkina Faso.
Before the game, the Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic had claimed witchcraft was at play after a dead bat was found on the pitch before kick-off.
In the second game of Group A, Mali opened with a 1-0 win over their West African counterparts Burkina Faso.
As the scoreline was the same as the Cameroon one, Mali’s goal was also scored almost at the same time as when the Indomitable Lions found the back of the net.
Siaka Bagayoko scored the goal in the 70th minute as his header was enough to settle the encounter in Yaounde.
Cameroon and Mali are now tied at the top ahead of the second group games.
Two games will be played on Sunday with Libya vs Niger being the first one. The Mediterranean Knights are in the tournament as an invited team after their neighbours Tunisia gave up their position citing congested domestic fixtures.
Libya are in Cameroon knowing very well they face a daunting task given their Premier League has been suspended for over two years over the volatility of the security in the country. They will bank on the experience of head coach Zoran Filipovic and his deputy Mohamed Al-Kikli as they hope to register good results.
Filipovic had to pick his 28-man squad from across seven clubs for the bi-annual competition.
On the other hand, Niger – who earned the Chan slot after seeing off Ivory Coast – are making a third appearance in the competition. They reached the quarter-final in 2011 and their ambition would be to go further than they did then.
Niger were third in a pre-Chan tournament that involved the hosts, former Afcon champions Zambia and Uganda.
In the second game, the Democratic Republic of Congo will be up against Congo Brazzaville.