KUNLE SOLAJA, Japoma Stadium, Douala
With a 2-0 away win by the Super Eagles, Central African Republic (CAR) despite putting up on-sportsmanship antics had their wildest dreams shattered.
Part of their antics was to prevent the presence of Nigerian media men as well as supporters. As previously reported by Sports Village Square, drama began to unfold early on Sunday as even Shehu Dikko, the head of the Nigerian delegation to the match said that only 10 Nigerians, composed mainly of administrators would be allowed to watch the game.
Even the Football Federation of Cameroon (Fecafoot) were helpless as the responsibility of the match laid solely on CAF football federation.
While the NFF contacted Fecafoot and CAF to intervene, they were informed that nothing can be done except CAR applied for crowd attendance which could be pegged at 5,000 as was done in the Lagos match.
The Central African Republic officials failed to respond and were even not available when it was directed that both CAR officials and their Nigerian counterparts should meet and strike and agreement.
Thus only the team and just 10 other Nigerians were allowed into the stadium. Even Cameroonian journalists were barred. The tickets for the match were however made available to CAR nationals.
The Cameroon security officials at a point later prevented the CAR ticket holders from entering as the 200-man capacity applicable to zero attendance match had already been surpassed by the CAR citizens.
The followed pandemonium as the fans went wild at the only entry point operated for the match. The whole scene was created to ensure victory for the hosts. But the antics failed.
Prior to facing Nigeria in Lagos, CAR were at the bottom of Group C. But they got an unlikely lifeline following their shock 1-0 win.
It was a big dream for them to take a huge leap from the lowest rung of Group C using Nigeria as the spring board. But it turned sour for them at the end of the matchday 4.
Before the matchday 3, with just one point, they were at the bottom of Group C. But they became contenders for the group leadership after a surprised 1-0 win over the Super Eagles to in Lagos last Thursday.
Another win in the back-to-back encounters would have taken them to the summit of the group and pushed the Super Eagles down by a point as against CAR’s projected seven point haul.
The dream evaporated as they lost their home match 2-0 to Nigeria.