Azeris boosted by Cameroon draw

8 May 2017

Hosts Azerbaijan will use the 0-0 draw against Cameroon in their opener to the 2017 Islamic Solidarity Games to improve and win the tournament, their head coach has promised.

"We played well and we want to continue like that to win the Games", explained Yashar Vahabzade after his players managed to fend off the skilled and pacey Africans.

"It was important to not lose the first game. We will try even harder in the next game so we have a chance to top our group", he added.

While Cameroon fielded a very young team, Azerbaijan called up some experienced players such as midfielder Rashad Sadigov (33) or captain Ruslan Abishov (30).

They were instrumental in the dying minutes of the game, when the Lions pushed for a late goal as Azerbaijan fought tooth and nail to hold on to one point.

"It was great facing the home nation. They are a good side who cause us some trouble", admitted Cameroon coach Richard Towa.

"They played their cards right and gave it their all even if, with a bit of luck, we could have won", said the former Düsseldorf player.

With defending champions Morocco and 2005 winners Saudi Arabia alongside the Indomitable Lions, the Azeris aren't exactly the most recognised name in the group.

But that doesn't seem to worry the former midfielder.

"If you come into a game thinking you're going to lose, you are going to lose. You'll have very little chance of winning if you're not confident", said Vahabzade.

The Islamic Games hosts face Saudi Arabia on Thursday before going up against the north African title holders four days later.

A positive result in either of those games would likely see Azerbaijan through to the semi-finals and stir interest in the capital city.

Official Partners
Official Supporters