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AWCON 2018: Can Cameroon avenge Nigeria heartache?

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Can Cameroon finally get their hands on the AWCON?

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Can Cameroon finally get their hands on the AWCON?

The Indomitable Lionesses are heading into the Africa Women Cup of Nations in fine fettle after demolishing Zambia 7-0 in a friendly on Monday.

However, despite their fine form, it remains to be seen whether Cameroon can make up for years of underachievement and rise to the occasion in Ghana.

They've qualified for all 12 editions of the tournament, and have largely impressed - apart from a group-stage exit in South Africa in 2000 - although they've never actually won the tournament.

Only Nigeria, with 10 titles, and Equatorial Guinea, with two, have ever won the prize, while Cameroon have been defeated finalists on four occasions.

Two years ago, they were again the bridesmaids, as they were defeated 1-0 by Nigeria as another opportunity passed them by.

On that occasion, it was a late hit from Nigeria's Desire Oparanozie that broke the hearts of more than 30,000 Cameroonians - including the country's President Paul Biya - who showed up for that game at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

That defeat should only serve to fuel Cameroon's desire to avenge that defeat in Ghana this year.

Two months ago, Cameroon fell short in the COSAFA Championship and lost to South Africa, despite previously impressing in the tournament.

Certainly, they have the assets to make up for that loss in Ghana.

The 21-woman squad named by coach Joseph Brian Ndoko is headlined by all-time leading scorer Madeleine Ngono Mani, while CSKA Moscow's Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene and Nchout Njoya Ajara, who emerged top scorer with her Swedish club IL Sandviken this season with 15 goals, are a fine supporting cast.

In an interview with the Cameroon FA last month, as heard by ESPN, the deputy coach Bernadette Anong, who captained Cameroon in the 2004 final defeat by Nigeria, is quietly confident that the Lionesses can go all the way.

"I am hungry to hold the trophy, and that is the same thing I tell the girls," she began. "Being hungry of the trophy and holding it will take you to the World Cup.

"The pressure on us is to have the title and jubilate with it," she concluded. "With the fans' prayers and support I think we can celebrate.

"Last time we cried, and really I don't want us to do that again."

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