Ajara could be crucial in the battle of the Lionesses in France

Following her starring role in the indomitable-Lioness 2-1 defeat of New Zealand, the hopes of the whole nation will once again lay on the shoulders of Nchout Ajara as the west African nation prepares to take face England in the quarterfinals of the women’s world cup in France.

Cameron was on the verge of elimination when the hugely gifted 26-year old forward took matters into her hands, she skipped past a defender before firing home the much-needed goal in the 96th minute, sparking wild scenes of jubilation, The goal saw her country through to face highly-fancied England in the last 16 on Sunday.

England are one of the pre-tournament favorites, and Phil Neville’s side has already put in a string on strong performances to back up their tag as favorites to win the tournament but they will have to deal with the serious threat Cameron poses with Ajara in such fine form. England will begin the match as strong favorites but with the trickery and speed of Ajara, the match in Valenciennes will be far from a walkover for the three-lionesses.

Ajara was born in Njisse, a remote town in the west of Cameroon, the forward, who plays for Vålerenga in Norway, grew up in a society that did not look kindly on women or girls playing football. She carried on playing, however, and showed the kind of drive that has made her Cameroon’s outstanding player.

“I grew up in a Muslim family where it was believed education should take precedence over my passion: football,” she has said. “I insisted and at different stages of my career, I was rebuked by family members. But I remained faithful to my dream and I worked hard. This means more than just making some money. For me, football is my life”

Cameroon’s coach, Alain Djeumfa, builds his team around Ajara and warns that she will only get better. “Ajara is a good player, the past seasons have been great for her and she is an important piece for us at the World Cup.”

The team missed the explosiveness of the lethal attacker in the final stages of the opening game, a 1-0 defeat against Canada, when she went off injured, and in the 3-1 reverse against the Netherlands when she started on the bench.