Cameroon and Mali qualified for the 2018 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals from Group A on Friday as hosts Ghana were eliminated along with Algeria.
The Black Queens of Ghana drew 1-1 with Cameroon in Accra but the point was not enough for the home favourites as Mali beat Algeria 3-2 in a thriller in Cape Coast.
It means that both Cameroon and Mali have a chance to represent Africa at next year’s World Cup with the top three finishers in Ghana all qualifying for France 2019.
In Accra, Ghana dominated play against Cameroon, keeping a lot of the possession even if their early chances were long range efforts that either went wide or over the bar.
Captain Elizabeth Addo, restored to the starting line-up, had a free-kick saved and then saw a decent strike from a narrow angle hit the post and go for a corner.
On the half-hour mark the hosts took the lead when a Portia Boakye free-kick from the left floated high into the area and Anette Ngo Ndom misjudged the flight of the ball which dropped behind her into an empty net.
Cameroon equalised shortly before half-time when Aboudi Onguene was fouled running down the left wing for a blatant penalty.
Captain Christine Manie calmly rolled the ball to the left with goalkeeper Asantewaa diving the other way.
With the score level at 1-1 in Accra, Ghana looked as though they would progress at the expense of Mali, but the Malians staged a dramatic fight-back after twice going behind to Algeria in Cape Coast.
On Saturday, the focus will be on Group B as defending champions Nigeria face former champions Equatorial Guinea, with Zambia up against South Africa in the other match.
The group is delicately poised as all four sides have a chance to reach the semi-finals and gun for a world cup berth.