The year 2022 has been one of the most hectic of years for the Cameroonian sporting movement. The country through diverse sports and teams, featured in multiple major continental and planetary sporting gatherings including the Africa Cup of Nations, the FIFA World Cup, the Islamic Solidarity Games and the Commonwealth Games.
The nation also had hectic, narrative changing domestic sporting events including the traditional league seasons in the various sports including the Elite championships in football and similar events in other sports.
In this piece, Team Kick442.Com takes a retrospective look at what has been the most memorable moments of the year 2022 for the Cameroonian sporting movement.
Cameroon launched the year with a successful organization of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations where Africa’s 24 finest football outfits competed for the biggest football trophy on the continent.
The senior men’s national team, the Indomitable Lions bagged home bronze at the close of the event, culminating what had been a hugely memorable experience for the country as Cameroon played host to the continental footballing festival for the first time since 1972.
Like the 1972 campaign, the Indomitable Lions had failed to go beyond the semifinal stages but similarly fought back to win bronze after a massive comeback effort.
Team captain Vincent Aboubakar inspired the five-time African champions to the podium ranking after spanking in eight goals to emerge the tournament top scorer including two within three minutes against the Stallions of Burkina Faso in the third-place fixture held at the Yaounde Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium. The triumoh came day before Senegal dispatched seven-time holders at the Yaounde Olembe Stadium to clinch their first-ever AFCON crown at the end of an event described by African and world leaders as arguably the finest of all AFCON tourneys.
Drama-parked Qatar 2022
The Indomitable Lions who successfully launched the 2022 sporting season with the AFCON 2021 tourney, achieved similar feats to close the year with their dramatic appearance at the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup held in Qatar.
The team’s participation at the Qatar Mundial had the African giants their tentacles to a record extending eighth appearance. This was inspired by a dramatic, unbelievable win over Algeria in Algiers.
The final phase of the competition had the 1990 quarterfinalists ending their campaign at the group stages after ranking 3rd in Group G with 4points behind five-time winners, Brazil and Switzerland.
Despite the group stage exit, the Qatar run entered the books as Cameroon’s best performance in the competition since the 2002 edition in Korea and Japan, coming after two disastrous expeditions in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014,—the team having missed out from 2006 in Germany and 2018 in Russia.
In spite of the memorable Qatar 2022 expedition made more exciting by the Indomitable Lions’ 1 nil win over Brazil in their final group game, the first by an African team over the Samba Boys at the Mundial, Cameroon firmly respected its tradition of World Cup controversies like it did in 1990, 1994, 2002, 2010 and 2014.
Inter Milan keeper, Andre Onana retired from international duties with Cameroon at 26 barely a week after the Mundial after controversies led to the player’s suspension and later exclusion from the Indomitable Lions squad in Qatar. The hugely admired shot-stopper, after the incident, joined the likes of Laurent Etame Mayer and Joel Matip on the list of early retirements by Cameroonian players after a World Cup tournament.
Disappointing Indomitable Lionesses
The year 2022 has been a hugely disappointing though promising one for the women’s national football team.
The Indomitable Lionesses had their campaigned at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations staged in Morocco, abruptly ended at the quarterfinal stages. The four-time vice African champions got eliminated after a heartbreaking 1 nil defeat to record title holders and old foes, the Super Falcons of Nigeria.
The Super Falcons defeat inspired by an early goal from Atletico Madrid Feminina forward, Rasheedat Ajibade followed what had been a predictably tough campaign for team captain, Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and mates. The team finished the group stages ranked second in Group B behind subsequent semifinalists, Zambia with 4points after staggering performances against Tunisia, Togo and the Zambians.
The nonchalant run which was Cameroon’s poorest performance at the biennial event in two decades, had the team missing out from an automatic qualification to the final phase of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in New Zealand and Australia.
Despite that, the team could still qualify for the women’s Mundial, the team having qualified to feature in the Inter-confederation play-offs of the qualifiers where the side will face Thailand on February 18.
A win in the game against the Thai will have the team matching up with fast-rising European giants, Portugal on February 22 with another victory to earn Nchout Njoya Ajara and teammates ticket to the World Cup for what could be the team’s historic third successive qualification to the women’s Mundial after 2015 and 2019 in Canada and France.
Promising domestic football campaigns
The domestic championships also served sporting fans with a reasonable dosage of excitement and suspense.
Giants, Coton Sport of Garoua bounce back to emerge winners of the 2021/2022 Elite One championship, sealing a record extending 17th crown.
The team confirmed the crown after beating Eding Sport of the Lekie in the final held at Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, retaining the league title for the first time since the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The Coton Farmers led by defensive sensation, Che Malone Fondoh Junior, also dispatched Bamboutos Football Club of Mbouda in the final of the 2022 Cup of Cameroon to seal a record-nearing 7th cup crown. The excitement was however short-lived with the team having lost to the West regional outfit barely two weeks later in the Cameroon Super Cup final held at the Kouekong Omnisport Stadium in Bafoussam.
In the women’s championship, the Guinness Super League, Awa Filles clinched its second successive crown, maintaining its status as only team to win the league since Guinness sponsorship take over two years ago.
The team achieved the feat after forwards Brenda Tabe, Farida Machia and mates overpowered Amazone FAP and Éclair Filles after a hugely competitive race.
Despite the inspiring domestic campaigns made more exciting by the reintroduction of the Cameroon Balon d’Or Award where Coton Sport man, Marou Souaibou and Éclair’s Monique Ngock both got voted Players of the year, Cameroonian teams struggled at the continental scene.
PWD Social Club of Bamenda had its race at the CAF Confederations Cup ended at the preliminary phase stages.
Awa Filles FC had their chances of qualifying for the CAF Women’s Champions League dashed away following struggling performances against TP Mazembe Feminine of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This, despite an impressive win over 2021 semifinalists, Malabo Kings FC of Equatorial Guinea in their tournament opener in Malabo.
Coton Sport of Garoua however slightly changed the narrative in the CAF Champions League, qualifying for the group stages of the 2022/2023 competition, the first for the team and any Cameroonian side since the 2016/2017 campaign.
2022 National Interpools
The 2022 National Interpools to promote teams into the MTN Elite 2 championship successfully took place in Limbe, South West region of Cameroon.
After 10 days of competition, Aigle of Moungo representing the Littoral region emerged champions and qualified for the elite two while Victoria United of the South West region who finished as runners up also qualified for the elite two championship.
Handball had an exciting 2022 calendar year.
The women’s national team, Handball Lionesses won silver medal at the 2022 African Women’s Handball Championship held in Dakar, Senegal.
The feat had the team qualifying for the 2022 World Women’s Handball Championship for the second successive campaign, a record for the team despite disappointing defeat to record 15-time holders, Angola in the final.
The Cameroon Handball Federation also ended the year in the most dramatic of fashions with a change in its executive body with the coming in of new federation head, Abba Oumate following his election on Thursday December 29 to replace long-serving leader, Senator Raymond Mbita.
Volleyball despite having developed to become one of the most successful sports in Cameroon with three successive African crowns for the women’s team and impressive shows from the senior women’s team, failed to fully impress in 2022.
Both the men and women’s teams struggled during the 2022 world volleyball championships. The men’s teams lost all group games highly competitive group made up of giants Germany and France to get knocked out of the competition at the group stages.
The Volleyball Lionesses had similar struggles, failing to win a single game and losing all five matches by a humiliating 3 sets to 0 scores including a similar sweeping defeat to fellow Africans, Kenya.
Despite the limitations, the junior teams shined in their various categories, giving room for hope in the Cameroon Volleyball Federation. The U21, U19 boys and men’s teams picked either bronze and silver in their categories in various African youth volleyball championships.
Basket, like in recent years, had a tough 2022 calendar year with both the national teams and clubs struggling despite glimpses of bravery.
Basketball Lions failed to qualify for the 2023 FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup after a disappointing campaign. The team almost miraculously warmed its way through to the second round of the African zonal qualifiers despite losing five of its six games in the first round of qualifiers.
The side however had its luck terminated in the second phase where it ranked rock-bottom in Group F after losing five of its seven matches despite huge efforts from the Cameroon Basketball Federation in a qualification campaign that had three separate coaches taking charge of the team.
At club level, FAP men’s basketball team had an impressive participation at the 2021/2022 Basketball Africa League after reaching the semifinals.
The team however failed to qualify for the group stages of the 2022/2023 campaign after a disastrous participation in the zonal qualifiers despite their impressive home campaign where they won both the league and cup titles.
The women’s team, Overdose Up-Station Bamenda qualified for the final phase of the 2022 African Women’s Club Basketball Championship in Mozambique after a spirited fight in the zonal qualifiers held in Yaounde.
The Cameroonian league champions however failed to feature in the final phase of the competition due to lack of funds.
Cameroon emerged winner of the 2022 African Sambo championship staged at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex.
The country achieved the feat after garnering over 15 medals to end the campaign ahead of giants Morocco and Egypt.
Disappointing, promising performances
Cameroon failed to fully inspire in multisport events in 2022 despite spirited fights.
The country won three medals at 2022 African Athletics championship in Mauritius with the likes of recent track and field sensation, Emmanuel Esseme bagging silver in men’s 200m and teenage sensation, Nora Atim winning silver in Discuss throw.
Cameroon had a better performance at the 2021 Islamic Solidarity Games held in Konya, Turkiye this year.
The Cameroonian delegation harvested 13 medals at the event to place 16th on the overall rankings after registering two gold, six silver and five bronze medals, 200m sensation, Emmanuel Eseme bagged gold in the category with Cameroon’s second gold coming through weightlifting
The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England brought disappointment to the country, Team Cameroon having bagged three medals; one gold, one silver, and one bronze at the event.
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