World Ranking: 19
Best World Cup finish: Quarter-finals (1990)
Manager: Paul Le Guen
Probable starting eleven
Backs: Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Nicolas N’koulou, Stephane Mbia, Sebastien Bassong
Midfield: Eyong Enoh, Jean Makoun, Alexandre Song
Striker: Samuel Eto’o, Pierre Webo, Mohamadou Idrissou
Key Subs: Eric Choupo-Moting, Joel Matip, Landry N’Guemo, Emana
The Indomitable Lions have been among the best in African football since the early 1990’s in World Cup matches. From 1990, Cameroon clinched a second round birth once where they scored a team high seven goals in five games.
After qualifying for four straight World Cups, they were ousted from qualifying for the compeition by Egypt and Cote d’Ivoire in 2006. But the Lions return to the world stage this year after winning four consecutive matches to ensure their participation in South Africa.
Coach Paul Le Guen believes this team has a chance to outdo the 1990 group and make it past the quarter-finals.
“Today I am proud to say I have a team which is efficient, the players are in good condition,” Le Guen told Telegraph News. “ I am optimistic we will go far, and why not beyond the quarter-finals?”
For this to happen, the stars on Cameroon have to be just that, stars. Samuel Eto’o, who lead Inter Milan to the Champions League, will be counted on to shoulder the offensive load after producing 14 goals and three assists in 45 games.
In four World Cup qualifying matches, Eto’o scored three goals and has been touted as the best African talent in this tournament.
The participation of the Inter forward was in jeopardy after Cameroon football alum Roger Milla criticized Eto’o for his play when representing the gold and yellow.
But since, the striker has played in a friendly with Portugal which solidifies his commitment to the Lions.
In the same boat as Eto’o is Eric Choupo Moting who tallied five goals in 27 games with Bundesliga of the German League. Moting used his German citizenship to represent the under-19 and -21 teams of Germany.
The forward is considered one of the players to watch in the World Cup because of his immense talent and young age.
The strong midfield anchored by Alexandre Song and the talent in the forwards are considered the strengths of Cameroon. Whether they’re playing a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2, the smooth passing has been a positive for the Lions and this will be key to their success.
Also, with Carlos Kameni manning the fort in net, Cameroon has a confident and extremely talented goalkeeper to rely on.
On the flip side, the age of some of their veterans coming off the soccer season could be a factor as games pile up. Players like Rigobert Song, 33, and Geremi, 32, could slow down if the Lions can advance to the second round.
The Indomitable Lions went 0-2-2 in their four pre-world cup matches; however Le Guen booked competitive matches against tough opponents so his team would be put under pressure.
Regardless, Cameroon will have a chance to silent their critics on June 14 when they can take on Japan in their first game of round robin play.