Cameroon got off their campaign at the Sudan CHAN 2011 with the major upset so far beating holders DR Congo 2-0, whilst Cote d’Ivoire beat Mali 1-0 in Group C on Sunday at the Al Merrikh Stadium in Omdurman.
A goal in each from Joseph Mamosso and an Ousmaila Baba was enough for the Indomitable Lions to beat an ordinary DR Congo side, whilst Kone Zoumana scored the only goal for the Ivorians.
The reigning champions had seven players of continental club champions TP Mazembe namely goalie Muteba Kidiaba, captain Mihayo Kazembe, Kabangu Mulota, Bedi Mbenza, Joel Kimwaki, Kasusula Kiritsho and dangerman Alain Kaluyituka Dioko in the set up, but their presence made no major impact.
Debutants Cameroon were better of the scrappy beginning but their quest was dealt a major blow when forward Valentine Atem suffered an injury on 11 minutes, and his place was taken over by Monkam Arnaud.
However, the exit of Atem, who recently rejoined the local division after sojourn in Europe did not affect their game plan, as they continued to pile pressure on the Leopards who were completely out of sort. On the half-hour mark, Abouna Patrick was unlucky to score the opener as his free-kick missed narrowly.
The Congolese midfield which revolved around Nkanu Mbiyavanga, Salakiaku Matondo and Mbenza was virtually non-existent whilst Kaluyituka was played out by his markers.
The best chance of the opening came the way of the Indomitable Lions on 36 minutes, but with only Kidiaba to beat Joel Babanda shot wide. Five minutes on, Joseph Momasso broke the deadlock by finishing off a solo move with an angled shot that beat Kidiaba.
The tempo of the game soared in the second half with Cameroon maintaining their hold of dominance whilst the Congolese resorted to long balls to trap the Indomitable Lions on the break. Substitute Kasongo Ngandu came close to drawing parity but saw his bicycle flick from Kasusula’s cross miss narrowly.Just went the Congolese were warming themselves into the game, Cameroon doubled the lead through Baba who notched home in the 78th minute from an ensuing misunderstanding between defender Gladys Bokese and Kidiaba. Bokese’s back pass went pass on rushing Kidiaba, leaving Baba with a simple tap into the yawning net.
Later at the same venue, Kone headed home the match winner on 21 minutes from Kouame Konan’s cross from the right to ensure a positive start for the Elephants.
Debutants Mali were sorry in front of goal firing wide when it mattered most from the countable chances that came their way.
Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire share top spot on three points apiece, whilst Mali and DR Congo trail with no points.