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African champions, Cameroon are the spoilers, as they became the first African sides to lose a match in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

The Cameroonians were stunned 1-0 by Tajikistan. Tajikistan’s head coach, Zaynidin Rakhimov, made a perfect pair of half-time subs – Amadoni Kamolov and Rustam Soirov came off the bench and combined to win the penalty kick that sealed the game.


It was a perfect way to start for the Central Asians in their first match on the world stage since 2007, while the Cameroonians were left licking their wounds on their return after a 16-year absence.

Tajikistan showed some resolute defending and strong organisation to survive an early onslaught from a Cameroon side who dominated goalscoring opportunities.

The Tajiks, who relied largely on counter-attacks, took the lead as Rahmatov converted from the penalty spot six minutes after the interval following a foul from Cameroon goalkeeper Manfred Ekoi.


Tajikistan, having had a goal chalked off after a VAR review, were then reduced to 10 men when Shuhrat Elmurodov was dismissed for a second cautionable offence with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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