Football: African champions Cameroon miss out on Russia 2018, Nigeria on the brink of qualification

Nigeria's goalkeeper Vincent Ezenwa saves the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on Sep 1, 2017.
Nigeria's goalkeeper Vincent Ezenwa saves the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on Sep 1, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

YAOUNDE (REUTERS) - Nigeria are on the brink of reaching next year's World Cup Finals after a 1-1 draw away to Cameroon on Monday which ended the qualifying hopes of the African champions.

Nigeria top Group B with 10 points from four games, six ahead of second-placed Zambia, who visit Algeria on Wednesday.

With only the top team going to Russia, Cameroon have three points from four games and cannot overhaul Nigeria, who had Ghent forward Moses Simon to thank for their goal.

Algeria have only the slimmest chance of overhauling Nigeria, having picked up one point from three games.

Simon gave Nigeria the lead when he blasted home at the back post on the half-hour mark.

Chelsea winger Victor Moses also struck the bar in the second half.

Cameroon equalised with a penalty 15 minutes from time when Vincent Aboubakar converted after Nigeria goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa upended midfielder Arnaud Djoum in the box.

Cameroon had qualified for six of the last seven World Cup tournaments since reaching the quarter-finals in 1990, last missing out in 2006.

They were surprisingly crowned African champions in Gabon this year under Belgian coach Hugo Broos, but have only managed three draws and a defeat in their four World Cup qualifiers.