Cameroon became the first major casualty of the 2016 Olympic Games football qualifiers in Africa after being eliminated by Sierra Leone this weekend.
The outsiders scored a stoppage-time goal in Yaounde to snatch a 1-1 draw and win the second-round tie on away goals after a goalless first leg last weekend.
Sierra Leone captain Sorie Barrie scored in the 93rd minute, after Joseph Minala (pictured) had put Cameroon ahead.
Minala, the 18-year-old Italy-based footballer caught up in an age storm last year amid claims he was over 40, had put the ‘Indomitable Cubs’ in front in the opening half at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo before Sierra Leone’s decisive equaliser.
Adding to the humiliation of Cameroon – the Sydney 2000 Olympics football gold medallists – was the fact that they had home advantage in both legs of the qualifier restricted to under-23 footballers.
Sierra Leone was not able to host international fixtures because of the deadly Ebola epidemic.
Exiting the Olympics qualifiers at the first hurdle is the latest in a string of woeful performances this year by Cameroonian sides, once among the strongest in Africa.
The Olympic team also flopped in the 2015 All-Africa Games, losing an eliminator in Zimbabwe and drawing the return match.
Cameroon fared dismally at senior level, too, failing to win a match at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and being eliminated after the first round.
Clubs have fared equally poorly with all four representatives going out of the 2015 Caf (Confederation of African Football) competitions in the early stages.
The scene is equally bleak at age-limit level. Cameroon did not qualify for the 2015 African youth championship and failed to get beyond the first round of the junior championship.
Sierra Leone will now face Algeria in the third round of qualifying.
Elsewhere, Ghana’s Black Meteors were also eliminated. They lost the second leg against Congo Brazzaville 1-0 which took the tie to 1-1 overall. Congo then won the subsequent penalty shoot-out 5-4 in front of a home crowd at Pointe-Noire.
Zambia went through with a 2-0 win over Botswana in Lusaka on Sunday, winning 3-1 on aggregate.
Second half goals from Ronald Kampamba and Kelvin Mubanga earned Zambia a meeting with Ivory Coast in the next round.
Adama Niane sealed a 3-1 victory for Mali over Mauritania in Bamako by converting an 88th-minute penalty.
He also scored the opening goal on two minutes, Boubacar Bagili equalised, and Moctar Mohamed Cisse put the Malians ahead again midway through the second half.
Mali, who forced a 1-1 first-leg draw in Nouakchott, advanced 4-2 on aggregate and play reigning African under-23 champions Gabon next.
Uganda secured a showdown with Egypt by defeating Rwanda 2-0 in Kampala to complete a 4-1 overall triumph.
The Ugandan Kobs scored twice within five minutes just past the hour with a John Ssemazi goal followed by one from Faruku Miya.
Tunisia are also through to the third round with a a 2-0 win in Sudan to make it 3-0 on aggregate
Ghailane Chaalali and Yassine Meriah scored a goal in each half to complete the victory and earns their side a third round tie against Morocco.
Zimbabwe also progressed after coming from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw in Swaziland.
That saw Zimbabwe advance on the away goals rule to set up a third round clash with neighbours South Africa.