Sunday Jan 16, 2022. 14:00
Cape Verde will aim to join their final Group A opponents Cameroon in the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations, with the teams set to clash at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on Monday 17 January 2022, kick-off at 18:00 CAT.
Cape Verde come into the match placed third on the log on three points after successive 1-0 results in the opening week of the tournament: a win over Ethiopia and a loss to Burkina Faso.
The Blue Sharks will look for a victory over the AFCON hosts to guarantee progression into the next round, but a draw or defeat may also be enough depending on the result of the other Group A clash between Burkina Faso and Ethiopia (which will be played simultaneously in Bafoussam), as well as possible third-place ranking.
A boost for the Islanders will be the return to the bench of coach Bubista, who missed their first matches after testing positive for Covid-19, but is expected to take charge come Monday evening.
“We have to bring our best because it is a strong team in front of a home crowd. I think some of the guys will be a bit low because we lost the game [against Burkina Faso] but we still have all to play for,” said Cape Verde defender Roberto Lopes.
Cameroon, meanwhile, have already secured progression into the last 16 thanks to back-to-back wins over Burkina Faso (1-0) and Ethiopia (4-1), but they will be looking to at least avoid defeat and ensure that they finish in first place.
Topping Group A would see the Indomitable Lions play a theoretically weaker opponent in the round of 16 (they would face a third-place finisher from one of Groups C, D or E), and also enable them to remain camped in their stronghold of Yaounde for at least one more game.
“We played well going forward, but we still need to improve defensively. Things are only going to get tougher,” said Cameroon coach Toni Conceicao.
In head-to-head stats, Cape Verde and Cameroon have met in six matches across all competitions since their first clash back in 2008. The Indomitable Lions have claimed three wins compared to two for the Blue Sharks, while one game has been drawn.
The teams last met in the qualifiers for this AFCON, in Praia in March 2021, with Cape Verde winning 3-1 at home thanks to strikes from Kuca, Ryan Mendes and an own goal from Macky Bagnack.