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Bulls Abroad: Cameroon ties Zambia, 1-1, in CAF 2018 World Cup qualifying

A disappointing result for Cameroon, who must now wait nine months for the chance to put things right.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is New York Red Bulls' exiled forward Anatole Abang picked up another cap for his country in Cameroon's latest World Cup qualifying match. The 20-year-old subbed in to the game at half time, playing the entire second half.

The less good news, for Abang and the Indomitable Lions, is his most significant highlight was almost perfectly illustrative of Cameroon's problems on the day: great build-up, underwhelming finish.

Fantastic work by former RBNY man Ambroise Oyongo get that ball into the box, by the way.

When Abang entered the match, Cameroon had recovered from the shock of conceding the first goal to square the match at 1-1.

A clever free-kick routine caught the Lions' defense napping, and Collins Mbesuma put Zambia ahead in the 34th minute. Vincent Aboubakar equalized from the penalty spot in first-half injury time.

But Cameroon could not find a second goal, and gave Zambia a few opportunities to re-take the lead. Ultimately, it was a disappointing and unconvincing performance from the Lions.

The 1-1 draw does not eliminate Cameroon from contention for a World Cup spot, but it does put the team under pressure. Nigeria has opened up a four-point lead in Group B of CAF qualifying for Russia 2018, and Cameroon's next two games are home-and-sway against the Super Eagles. Points will have to be gained against Nigeria, or the Lions will lose control of their destiny in the group (or worse: they will be eliminated).

But the next round of CAF World Cup qualifiers will be in August 2017. It is hard to predict what difference nine months will make to the teams, but they will all certainly be a little changed. Abang, for example, will be 21 and should have just completed his first full season of European club soccer - with Denmark's Hobro IK. And Cameroon, will have competed in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (along with World Cup qualifying group-mate, Algeria).

Head coach Hugo Broos had to field a number of pointed questions from the press after his side dropped points at home to Zambia - thought to be the weakest team in the qualifying group - including criticism of his decision to send the inexperienced Abang in as first sub.

Broos responded by calling out his team's fairweather friends in the media:

I've never had these issues when the results were good. It's very easy to ask such questions when the results are not good.

It will be some time before Cameroon has to play another World Cup qualifier. Broos and Abang have nine months to make the young forward's place in the team less controversial.