Football: Gabrielle Onguene says ‘World Cup without Cameroon is like McDonald’s without fries’
Cameroon’s Gabrielle Onguene says the 2023 Women’s World Cup without her country would be “like McDonald’s without fries”.
The CSKA Moscow forward, 33, came off the bench to score both goals as the Indomitable Lionesses beat Thailand 2-0 in a play-off match on Saturday.
Only Portugal now stand in Cameroon’s way as they target a third consecutive appearance in the finals.
“It’s always a pleasure and a big joy for football players to participate at a World Cup,” she told organisers Fifa after the victory in Hamilton, New Zealand.
“When I went on the pitch, every ball I got I tried to stay as calm as possible.
“Now, we want our third ticket, our third participation, because we believe that a World Cup without Cameroon is like McDonald’s without fries.”
Onguene opened the scoring in the 79th minute at the Waikato Stadium – only five minutes after coming on as a substitute – before doubling the lead three minutes later.
The winners of Wednesday’s match against Portugal will book their place in the finals, to be held in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
But Senegal’s hopes of reaching their first finals ended with a 4-0 defeat to Haiti, who now face Chile in their final play-off game.
Estelle Johnson and Cameroon must overcome the team 36 place above them in the Fifa rankings, Portugal, if they are to reach the finals.
The Indomitable Lionesses return to the Waikato Stadium on Wednesday for the clash with Portugal, who have yet to take part in a World Cup finals.
The Europeans, however, sit 22nd in the Fifa rankings so go into the game as favourites against a Cameroon side ranked 58th in the world.
“Obviously, they are a very strong team,” said Cameroon defender, Estelle Johnson.
“We watched some films on them and we know that they like to attack, and they like to attack quickly.
“So, that is something we definitely have to focus on, and make sure we handle that correctly.
“We are going to give everything on the pitch – do every single thing we can to bring our participation in this World Cup back to Cameroon.”
The West Africans will have to do the job without first choice goalkeeper Ange Bawou who was sent off towards the end of the Thailand game.
“Obviously, not having our first (choice) goalkeeper is tough but we brought three goalkeepers for a reason,” added Johnson.
“We believe that every single person on this team can play and play well in a big match. We have all the confidence in the world that our goalkeepers are going to step up and handle it for us.”
Cameroon are hoping to join South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, and Zambia at the Women’s World Cup, which will feature 32 teams for the first time.