I was lucky enough to watch the first round of Afcon matches in Africa – Ghana to be precise, from where I returned this morning. You can well imagine the local joy at the Black Stars’ performance against Morocco – I’d love to know why a manager whose side that struggles for goals would leave out Felix Afena-Gyan – and especially given the absence of Mohammed Kudus.
But anyway, we digress. Allow me to share one of the highlights of my holiday, formerly the most shazammed song in the world but one that would have passed me by had I stayed in England. It’s a long time since a tune knocked my spots off as this one did, and one of my favourite memories was when I was picking up food, it came on, and the restaurant went off.
Ethiopia, meanwhile, stay in 4-3-3, but bring in Debebe for the suspended Belay at centre-back and Hotessa in for Kebede in attack.
Cameroon make three changes to the team that beat Burkina, Castelleto replacing Onguene, Hongla in for Kunde and Choupo-Moting taking the place of Gwet. By the looks of things, they’re also moving from 4-1-4-1 to 3-5-2.
Cameroon (3-5-2): Onana; Castelleto, Ngadeu, Tolo; Fai, Anguissa, Hongla, Choupo-Moting, Ngamaleu; Ekambi, Aboubakar.
Ethiopia (4-3-3): Shanko; Hamid, Tamene, Debebe, Yusef; Mohammed, Yohannes, Dagnachen; Gebremichael, Nasir, Hotessa.
Afternoon all and welcome to the start of what seems to be known as matchday two!
Cameroon’s first game, the 2-1 win over Burkina Faso which opened the tournament, was an uplifting romp and the sole first-round fixture to yield more than a single goal. Which isn’t to say there’s not been plenty to enjoy – verily there has – but as we settle into things, another belter will be eagerly received.
For that to happen, Ethiopia will have to go some. Their first encounter, a 1-0 defeat to covid-stricken Cape Verde, could scarcely have gone worse, nor so they have the players to rebound from so significant a setback.
Consequently, the intrigue of this match will be the extent to which the hosts can continue marking their territory. They’re not the most talented squad or even that close to it, but if Vincent Aboubakar – who was extremely poor in the last Afcon – has hit a streak, momentum can take them deep.
Kick-off: 5pm local, 4pm GMT