JOHANNESBURG: Cameroon began life without Samuel Eto’o with a comfortable 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying victory in the Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday.
Clinton N’Jie scored in first-half stoppage time and another France-based player, Vincent Aboubakar, added the second nine minutes from time.
The Indomitable Lions always looked likely winners against the surprisingly poor Congolese Lions at a subdued Stade Mazembe in the southern mining city of Lubumbashi.
Long-time Cameroon captain, striker and talisman Eto’o, 33, retired from international football last month after bagging 56 goals in an 18-year international career.
Midfielder Alex Song was also absent as he is serving a three-match ban for being red-carded during a disastrous Cameroon World Cup campaign in Brazil.
They lost all three group games and an incident in which Benoit Assou-Ekotto headbutted team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo during the 4-0 defeat to Croatia brought shame to African football.
Repeated bonus rows did not help veteran German coach Volker Finke, who opted to continue his two-year contract despite the World Cup fiasco.
Finke rang the changes for Lubumbashi, dropping 13 of the World Cup squad and introducing several youngsters like N’Jie.
Barcelona youth team goalkeeper Joseph Ondoua made an impressive debut, foiling the Congolese on the rare occasions they threatened to score.
Algeria fielded eight of the team beaten after extra time by eventual champions Germany in the second round of the World Cup when winning 2-1 in Ethiopia.
El Arabi Soudani scored on 35 minutes with a deflected shot and Yacine Brahimi doubled the lead six minutes from time at the national stadium in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia, who spent three weeks in Brazil preparing for the Group B clash, got a stoppage-time consolation goal through a Said Saladin penalty.
Both teams were under new management with Frenchman Christian Gourcuff replacing Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic as Algeria coach and Portuguese Mariano Barreto succeeding Ethiopian Sewnet Bishaw.
Shock 2012 African champions Zambia started disappointingly in Group F as they were held 0-0 by Mozambique at a near-full Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.