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Cameroon: The Indomitable Lions

By Emmanuel Barranguet
Posted on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 10:04

The Indomitable Lions are hoping to turn back time

HONOURS

World Cup
First round: 1998 and 2002 ?
Finals: 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002
Quarter-finals: 1990 2010

African Cup of Nations
1984, 1988, 2000 and winner 2002 ?

Olympic games
2000 Gold medal?

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

First in Group A, Africa zone

MANAGER

Paul Le Guen

IN GOAL

Carlos Idriss Kameni, Espanyol Barcelona

Souleymanou Hamidou, Kayserispor

Guy Roland N’dy Assembé, Valenciennes

DEFENCE

Benoît Assou Ekotto, Tottenham

Sébastien Bassong, Tottenham

Gaëtan Bong, Valenciennes

Aurélien Chedjou, Lilles

Geremi Njitap, Ankaragücü

Stéphane Mbia, Marseille

Nicolas Nkoulou, Monaco

Rigobert Song, Trabzonspor

MIDFIELD

Eyong Enoh, Ajax

Jean Makoun, Lyon

Georges Mandjeck, Kaiserslautern

Landry Nguémo, Celtic

Alexandre Song, Arsenal

Joël Matip, Schalke

ATTACK

Vincent Aboubakar, Coton Sport

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Nuremburg

Achille Emana, Real Betis

Samuel Eto’o, Inter

Mohamadou Idrissou, Freiburg

Achille Webó, Mallorca

Reaching the heady heights of the quarter-finals in the 1990 World Cup, Cameroon may be hoping to relive the famous Roger Milla-?driven exploits of that year. It will not be easy. They arrive in South Africa with an ageing squad built around star ?striker Samuel Eto’o and wracked with doubt inflicted by an unconvincing run in the recent African Cup of Nations.

This is a first World Cup for coach Paul Le Guen, better known for pilot-ing French club Lyon to league titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005. His thoughts are fixed on exiting a tough group that includes Holland, Japan and Denmark. The trio of quality players that will help him do it are Eto’o, now at Inter Milan, Alexander Song who plays at Arsenal and Stéphane Mbia of Marseille.

But there are serious structural problems in the squad. Uncertainty reigns over who should play in goal, after Idriss Carlos Kameni had a ?terrible ACN between the posts. Ageing talents such as Rigobert Song and ?Geremi Njitap are also a problem. Does the coach rely on their experience or look for fresher legs? Song seems tired, and an error-strewn recent past counts against him. Njitap has similar failings, and an error of his in Angola at the ACN lay at the heart of one of the Egyptian goals that booted Cameroon out of the competition.

Even the talismanic Samuel Eto’o is not without complications: though he is at his best when playing as a dedicated centre forward, he often tends to play in other parts of the field, causing a ?certain tactical imbalance in the team.

For Roger Milla, who was 38 years old at the 1990 World Cup, the argument over Song and Njitap is meaning-less: “They have committed mistakes, but who doesn’t in his career?” he asks. “They are the pillars of the team.”

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