JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Cameroon reserved their best 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying performance for last as they came from behind twice to triumph 3-2 in the Democratic Republic of Congo Friday.
The Group E clash at the 80,000-seat Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa was all about pride as Senegal had already taken an unassailable lead in a pool completed by Mauritius and runners-up Cameroon were out of contention to be among the best two and secure a tournament place.
It was the first match in charge for new DR Congo coach Claude Le Roy, the widely travelled and experienced Frenchman who took the vast Central African country to the 2006 Cup of Nations quarter-finals during a previous spell in charge.
He saw Dioko Kaluyituka put the home team ahead after 12 minutes, record four-time African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o equalise soon after and Deo Kanda revive hope of a Congolese victory with a goal five minutes before half-time.
Cameroon, held at home by DR Congo last October before taking only one point of a possible six off Senegal, scored twice within five minutes to clinch their third group win after home and away successes against the Mauritians.
Matthew Andongcho, who recently quit the United States to join Romanian outfit Dynamo Bucharest, levelled on 75 minutes and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting from German club Mainz snatched the winner.
Another 15 fixtures will be staged Saturday and five Sunday as countries chase 10 places at the biennial African football showcase to be staged between January 21 and February 12 by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Apart from the co-hosts and 2002 runners-up Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and surprise qualifiers Botswana have secured berths at the Cup of Nations while Cameroon and defending champions Egypt will be shock absentees.
Africa Cup of Nations qualifying result Friday:
Democratic Republic of Congo 2 (Alain Kaluyituka 12, Deo Kanda 40) Cameroon 3 (Samuel Eto’o 18, Matthew Andongcho Mbuta 75, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting 79)
Mauritius v Senegal 1300GMT
Standings (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points)
Senegal 5 4 1 0 14 2 13 – qualified
Cameroon 6 3 2 1 12 5 11
DR Congo 6 2 1 3 10 11 7