By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
Cameroon finds itself at a critical juncture in their AFCON 2023 campaign as they prepare to face Gambia at Stade de Bouaké on Match Day 3. With just one point from their first two games in Group C, Cameroon’s hopes of advancing to the round of 16 hang on securing a victory in this crucial encounter.
The reigning champions of the 2017 AFCON have had a challenging start to the tournament, drawing with Guinea before suffering a defeat against Senegal. Failing to secure a win in this upcoming match would likely extinguish their chances of progressing further in the competition.
This will mark the second meeting between Gambia and Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations, following their clash in the quarterfinals of the 2022 edition. On that occasion, Cameroon emerged triumphant with a 2-0 victory, courtesy of two goals from the talented Karl Toko-Ekambi. Gambia, on the other hand, has struggled against Cameroon in the past, losing all three previous encounters without managing to find the back of the net while conceding five goals.
Gambia’s recent form in the AFCON has been less than ideal. After remaining unbeaten in their first four games in the tournament, winning three and drawing one, they have endured a string of three consecutive losses without scoring a single goal. Meanwhile, Cameroon has also faced challenges, going winless in their last four AFCON matches with three draws and one defeat. This represents their longest winless streak in the competition since 2017.
Defensively, Cameroon has shown vulnerability in the group stage, conceding four goals in their two AFCON 2023 matches. This already surpasses their tally from the entire group stage of the 2010 edition, where they conceded five goals. In their most recent match, Cameroon suffered a 3-1 defeat against Senegal, ending a remarkable streak of 10 consecutive AFCON group-stage matches without a loss. The Indomitable Lions have not experienced back-to-back losses in the group stage since 1990.
Gambia, on the other hand, has struggled to find the back of the net in recent AFCON matches. They have failed to score in their last 24 attempts, with their last goal coming from Musa Barrow against Guinea in January 2022. In the current tournament, Gambia has managed only two shots on target out of 19 attempts, resulting in a mere 11 percent accuracy rate.
As Cameroon and Gambia prepare to clash in this crucial encounter, it is evident that both teams are facing their own set of challenges. For Cameroon, a victory is imperative to keep their AFCON 2023 campaign alive, while Gambia aims to break their goal drought and secure their first win of the tournament. The stakes are high, and football fans around the world eagerly await the outcome of this decisive match.