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Which Indomitable Lions will turn up in South Africa?

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Piers Edwards | 17:37 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010

On 14 June 1990, in the Italian port of Bari, a goalless and unremarkable Group B game between Cameroon and Romania was turned on its head just after the hour, and the fortunes of African football turned with it.

On came a little-known 38-year-old, his gap-toothed smile familiar to few outside Cameroon, France or those who closely followed the Indomitable Lions' previous World Cup appearance in 1982.

Seven months earlier, Roger Milla had been winding down his playing days in the island paradise of Reunion, his boyhood dream of using his footballing prowess to "make Cameroon great" having seemingly been reached when he helped them to a second Nations Cup in 1988.

But two things changed all that. A home visit to play a testimonial in December 1989 brought a sprightly two-goal display, highlighting his continuing powers, and a Milla-less Cameroon made an early Nations Cup exit just months later.

President Paul Biya issued an extraordinary decree - that the 1976 African Footballer of the Year must be included in coach Valeri Nepomniachi's final World Cup squad.

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"I got a warm welcome from the younger players but the older ones, who ganged up against me, were not so happy," Milla has since said.

That all changed as he found the Romanian net 15 minutes after coming on - the World Cup's oldest scorer showing little sign of age as he wiggled his hips. Minutes later, his iconic celebration was burning into the global psyche again as Milla lashed home the winner.

After the stunning opening-day win against Argentina, the no-hopers had made the second round - and Milla an 'overnight sensation' after a quarter of a century in the game.

But more was to follow, as the super-sub scored twice against Colombia before briefly turning the quarter-final against England, winning a penalty for Cameroon's equaliser before teeing up the goal that had his side seven minutes away from the semis.

Though it was not to be, Milla had announced sub-Saharan Africa's World Cup arrival - comprehensively righting the wrongs of Zaire's 1974 disaster - with Cameroon's ground-breaking trip to the last eight helping turn the trickle of African talent to Europe into a flood.

"Thanks to football, many African countries have stability and greater representation throughout the world," Milla recalled as we met in Cape Town.

In 1990, he certainly achieved that, while also fulfilling a boyhood dream inspired by grainy images of Pele twenty years earlier.

"Back then, we didn't have TV but we did watch the reels in the local cinema," Milla smiles. "Seeing what Pele did for Brazil in 1970 gave me the desire to become a footballer and do my best to play in a World Cup. It made me want to make Cameroon great."

In time, the teenager's wild flight of fantasy eventually became so real that his hero named him as one of football's 125 all-time greats.

And like Pele, Milla had also inspired - most notably a nine-year-old entranced by the euphoria sweeping Cameroon in 1990.

Samuel Eto'o freely admits Milla was his hero and, like his inspiration, he has won the Nations Cups and the African Footballer of the Year title but - despite a sparkling array of Olympic and Champions League medals - Eto'o's World Cup CV lacks shine.

His 1998 appearance was notable for his tender age (just 17), while his solitary World Cup goal may have sunk the Saudis 1-0 in 2002 - Cameroon's sole victory since 1990 - but on both occasions the Africans crashed out early.

"What's obvious, even though no one talks about it, is that we haven't done anything since 1990," says former keeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

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So can Eto'o inspire Cameroon like Milla did in 1990? It's a moot point because for all his qualities, the Indomitable Lions skipper seldom carves open defences single-handedly as his icon did so smoothly.

What's more, coach Paul Le Guen seems unsure how best to use him.

At the Nations Cup, Eto'o played in a different attacking formation every game, sometimes playing point man, sometimes second striker - which didn't work.

With Pierre Webo and Mohamadou Idrissou lacking finishing prowess, the Inter man must surely resume his Barcelona role, especially with Achille Emana so well-suited to play behind.

But Le Guen is battling to find his best XI - his confusion clear from the nine uncapped players in his provisional squad - and forthcoming friendlies against Slovakia, Portugal and Serbia must cement his vision for a team that has constantly changed this year.

Eto'o aside, the certain starters seem to be keeper Carlos Kameni, Monaco centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou - with Spurs duo Sebastian Bassong and Benoit Assou-Ekoto also expected to feature - while the lynchpin is Alex Song who, along with Rigobert, may form only the second uncle-and-nephew combination to play together at a World Cup.

For such a relatively small and infrastructurally-deficient country, Cameroon have - fittingly for such a physical side - punched above their weight: winning four Nations Cups, one Olympics, and more World Cup appearances (six) and Footballer of the Year titles (10) than any other African nation.

But which Indomitable Lions will turn up in South Africa - those who regularly exit in the group stage or the ones who dazzled the world in 1990?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good blog. Would be nice to see Cameroon do well, they have a few able stars. I can see them reaching the second round easily

  • Comment number 2.

    Great article there!
    I remember watching Cameroon beating Colombia in 1990 and I was 12 years old but will never forget that game.It was the first time I saw my dad jumping on the couch! Roger Milla certainly became an icon after that game, not only on the african continent but worldwide also.Now,can Eto'o emulate Milla?I don't think one player can make such an impact nowadays as the modern game has become more team-work oriented rather than one individual carrying the whole team.
    I hope Cameroon can make it to the semis at least.They are the most established african team and they have to show to the world the reason why they're established.
    This is going to be my first World Cup ever,I'll be at the games watching in Durban,so Piers if you wanna chat more,let me know!

  • Comment number 3.

    Cameroon's performances at Italia 90, particularly against Argentina, were one of the highlights of a rather overrated tournament. They were also very unlucky against England.

    As for this time, they should get out of the group, but how much further they go may depend on whether the draw is kind to them.

    http://footballfutbolfitba.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 4.

    Any chance to shoe-horn in another England win - even a jammy one.

    The description of Le Guen is strangely familiar to citizens of the West of Glasgow as he led them on a tragically comical campaign with a seeming inability to understand who to play in what position (and alienating their best players).

    I fear for Cameroon....

  • Comment number 5.

    Cameroon certainly have the talent to make an impression at the World Cup but they must be at the top of their game if they are going to achieve anything of note. Eto'o needs to have a really good tournament too.

    http://the-fa-premier-league.blogspot.com

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree completely Piers! Very good blog Piers, as always!

    Le Guen is maddening - he seems to not know what he wants to do. In nations cup, he played Eto almost in midfield which is crazy! I know Eto sometimes plays behind Milito at Inter, but that is Milito. Cameroon does not have a Milito and so Eto, who is a great #9 in his own right, has to be the goal poacher. So Eto has to be #9 FOR EVERY GAME, full stop, end of story! Any other position is a waste!

    Le Guen better not have Iddrisou, Geremi and the great Rigobert Song anywhere on that pitch in starting 11. Not at all! If I see any of them I will scream. Rigobert is past it but he has put in his time in Cameroon colors. Time to step aside.

    For me, here is the starting 11:

    Kameni

    Bong Nkoulou Bassong Assou-Ekotto

    A. Song

    Makoun Mbia

    Emana Eto Webo

    This is a tough well-balanced formation of attackers and defenders, size, power, speed and experience. I really do hope Le Guen does not play the others at least for starting 11!!!!

    Piers, send Le Guen a message for us Lions fans will ya? No Iddrissou, no Geremi, no Rigobert, no Chedjou, no Bedimo...these should not have even been called up frankly but at least don't put them anywhere on the pitch in the first 11. Only in the event of injury!

    The reserves should be

    Goalkeepers:
    Guy Roland N'Dy Assembe (Valenciennes)

    Defenders:
    Patrick Abouna (Astres Douala)
    Aurelien Chedjou (Lille)
    Rigobert Song (Trabzonspor)

    Midfielders:
    Enoh Eyong (Ajax Amsterdam)
    Georges Mandjeck (Kaiserslautern)
    Joel Matip (Schalke 04)
    Marcel Ndjeng (Augsburg)
    Landry Nguemo (Celtic)

    Strikers
    Eric Choupo-Mating (Nuremburg)
    Dorge Kouemaha (Club Bruges)
    Jacques Zoua (Basle)

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello Piers,
    Ha Cameroon! I tipped them as potentially the African team of the World Cup and I am sticking to that. I'll come back to my reasons why.

    First, let me clarify a few things for poster N°6 above.

    Dear Darkandom,
    If you really want to have a go at a coach (insinuating that he is confused), please ensure that what you say is accurate and that your confusion is less.

    1. You've named Jacques Zoua in your squad when it is known since 20 May that he will not be at the World Cup due to injury. He's not in the camp in Austria.
    2. In your starting 11, you have placed Gaetan Bong as right-back when he is a professional left-back and was brought in as back-up for Benoit Assou-Ekotto;
    3. Bong is indeed a man-for-man replacement for Henri Bedimo who wasn't in Le Guen's list but you seem to think he is and should not be at the World Cup.
    4. You insinuate that Le Guen doen't know what he's doing in his choice of players and patterns, then you go on to play 3 holding midfielders in your staring line-up (Alex Song, Jean Makoun and Mbia)
    5. I concede that Makoun has often been used as a n°8 but he has been out of form for both club (Lyon) and Cameroon where he has been sent to the bench by Eyong Tarkang.
    6. By the way Mbia was short-listed as a defender - he finished as a centre-back for Marseilles in the ended season and was earmarked to play as right-back in the national team by Le Guen. He was used in that position against Italy in March.
    7. If you really don't want Eto'o not to play on the right or left of a forward 3, there are a couple of options available but certainly not playing Webo on the flanks. Whereas Eto'o, Choupo-Moting, Emana, and Idrissou (that you dislike particularly) can play on the flanks, Webo is an out-and-out N°9 or second striker.

    Am sure you can agree with Le Guen that putting together a national team isn't about writing-up a list of players based on those one likes or dislikes...it is choosing the right men to create balance and cohesion.

  • Comment number 8.

    wow this is a wonderful blog,i must say Edwards have a mastery of this team,personally i have always said that Cameroon is a team that is not very mediatised and perhaps that is their strenght,their perfomance of late has not been very great but i tell you they will surprise many people,infact i see them at the semis,concerning the players and coach,one thing is clear Geremi, Rigobert Song and Idrissou dont have a place in the starting 11,Paul le Guen keeps underating Achile Emana,i find this very funny,Emana is the most technical and creative player cameroon have now i think he should be played behind Etoo,here is my starting line up,Kameni,Nkoulu,Basong,Ekotto,Mbia,Eyong,Song Alex,Makoun,Emana,Webo and Etoo.Mbia and Eyong are so talented and can fit in either the right flangs or the holding midfield, they have done so many times in thier clubs,on the bench,Souleymanu,Guy roland,Bedimo,Jeol Matip,Nguemo,Chedjou,Mandjeck,Idrissou,Geremi,Rigobert,Chupo,this team is young but when they play they become the indomitable lions,Le Guen has not yet proven himself because its like he does not nkow how to use Etoo,Idrissou to me can come in when cameroon is leading,he has no technical abilities,he may be lucky some times to score,but i think overall he is there to run and delay sometime,if the coach does his home work well i think this team will take the world by storm and as you nkow Cameroon has a funny habit of performing when you least expect them.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi. I'm 21, so during Miller's exertions at Italia 90, I was one year old. But my mom told me about shouting so loud in the living room with dad when Miller scored that my big brother who was 3 started crying!

    Cameroon isn't one of my favourite sides in Africa, but I do have respect for them. Again reminds me of the only AFCON we watched as a family, and maybe as a street, Ghana/Nigeria 2000, there was so much hype for the tournament and it delivered! The final between Cameroon and Nigeria went to penalties, and after Finidi missed a retaken penalty for reasons I don't know till now, the power went off! We had to depend on our neighbour telling us the Cameroon had won...Not so happy, but that used to be a good squad, Mboma, Foe, Job etc.

    Back to the present. If they eliminate those silly errors from Angola in January, maybe they'll get to the 2nd round or something.

    And on the strikers, I prefer Mo Idrissou to Webo. For me it seems Webo's only significant contribution for Cameroon was that hat-trick against Ivory Coast in 05.

  • Comment number 10.

    Piers, in 1990 Roger Milla was not "a little known 38 year old". Roger Milla (save for Salif Keita) was the best African footballer that there had ever been. Anyone following the Afican Cup of Nations would have seen his outstanding abilities. He was present at the 1982 WC as well - surprising that he was not noticed in the UK??
    Samuel Eto is a better player than Roger Milla. Eto is the best player Cameroon have produced to date. Unfortunately the rest of the team is just not as good.
    Cameroon is rather predictable - always trying to make up for their technical limitations by imposing a physical game on their opponents. This works to a certain level. However when they come up against the best teams they inevitably lose. Even teams that they regularly play, Egypt for example, have worked this out.
    Having said that, Cameroon have done African football great things. And there is so much that can be improved upon that one has to say that Cameroon has a bright future. My prediction is that Cameroon will reach the first round of the knock out stages. Eto, good as he is, can not carry this team more than that.

  • Comment number 11.

    Leo Moto:

    Thanks for the detailed response. I concede that I should have left out Zoua but I failed to delete his name when editing. Fine. The rest of your points I disagree with vehemently:

    1. Mbia is a waste at right back. He is an attacker of a player without the flank running ability of Assou Ekotto. If you want to play Mbia in defense, I would rather he partners Basson in the center than right back. For this Cameroon squad, Mbia is much better at midfield than at defense. I firmly believe that. If you take that opinion as true, there is no one for right back in my opinion in the team hence the choice of Bong (I think Geremi is past it to be a starter at right back to mark the likes of Robben!). I have seen Bing play right back even though his position is left back. Nothing prevents a left back from playing right back (Lamm etc do it). He is for me the best choice for that position than any of the Cameroon players. Hence why I put him there.

    2. Bedimo is not in my list but I mention him only to make a point (he was in Nations Cup) - That he has no talent to be near Cameroon's team in my opinion! I was not suggesting he is in camp but that he has no business being near the Cameroon team.

    3. Alex Song, Jean Makoun and Mbia as holding midfielders. Cameroon's defense has been a but shaky so you need to shore it up. Mbia is a box to box player. Same with Makoun. Makoun and Mbia also have big game experience. So you put Song as the true holder, and Makoun and Mbia roam up and down. Mbia for one is very creative in attack from the midfield (his preferred position) and is good with the ball on his feet. That was his role in Nations Cup two years ago if you remember. So him and Makoun provide good support for the attackers while shoring up the defense which is Cameroon's achille's heel. That is why I put that formation. That is the strongest midfield Cameroon can play.

    4. I prefer Makoun to Enoh anyday! Sorry. I am not knocking Enoh as I rate him well but he is not imposing in the midfield as Makoun can be. I agree he is off form but with Song behind him and Mbia next to him, I think he is better than Enoh for that role for Cameroon. Plus Makoun has better experience and a wicked shot. That is why I would play the three of them.

    5. I would not put Idrissou anywhere near the flank. He is an awful flank player for Cameroon. Watch him. he has no crossing ability, he trips over when the wind blows and he does not have a particularly good shot. Sorry. At his size, he should be a good scorer with his head but even that is rare. I know he does ok in Germany, but he has not for Cameroon (yes he scrored but he loses the ball and hurts the team more IMO).

    Cameroon does not have any true wingers and Eto has to be the #9. Any other position is a waste for Eto in Cameroon team. So if that is true, who plays in the flanks?

    Emana certainly on one side. I like Choupo-Moting very much (good talent) but he has not played with Eto enough to form a great partnership as between Eto and Webo. I put Webo on the other flank only because I have seen him play there in Mallorca and have seen him drift there for Cameroon. PLus there is no better partner for Eto in the front line than Webo in this team. Watch their combination. Plus, as you know, Eto likes to change #9 with flank play a lot so in a game him and Webo can switch back and forth to make defenders work. That is why you have to have an attack line of Emana, Eto and Webo.

    So I did not pick a team out of confusion but from an analysis of the players and the team's needs and wants. I do believe, as Piers said, Le Guen is confused a bit (I am not knocking him because I like him as a coach and I think he is the right man for Cameroon and will take Cameroon places if he stays for a while. However, the team has limitations in some areas and players who should not be anywhere near the starting 11. So the issue is how do you plug the holes? IMO my team selection is the best way. So mate, I am not confused about the Cameroon team at all!

  • Comment number 12.

    Indomitable Lions Hourahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!

    If I was Paul LEGUEN, I will play this starting XI for Cameroon.


    --------------------- Kameni ----------------------------

    -- Mbia ----- Nkoulou ----- Bassong ----- Assou Ekotto --

    --------------------- Alex Song -------------------------

    ------- Mandjeck ---------------------- Enoh ------------

    ---------------------- Emana ----------------------------

    ------------- Choupo ----------- Eto'o ------------------


    With the following backups

    Kameni --> Souleymanou/Ndy Assembe
    Mbia --> Geremi
    Nkoulou --> Song
    Bassong --> Chedjou
    Assou Ekotto --> Bong
    Alex Song --> Matip
    Mandjeck -- Djeng
    Emana --> Aboubakar Vincent
    Enoh --> Makoun
    Choupo --> Webo
    Eto'o --> Idrissou

    With the following:

    - Emana to take all the free kicks but leave it to Geremi in case he is on the pitch.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think its very hard to tell for this Cameroonian side especially after watching them at the Nations Cup. Like any other team I think they will need a bit of luck to get out of the group but if their top performers like Eto'o turn up and perform well then they have a bit of chance to go out of the group.

    Cameroon is one of the African sides that I expect to get out their group not because they are good but because their group seems like one of the easier ones.

    Full time analysis

  • Comment number 14.

    Cameroon's run to the quarters in 1990 was one of my earliest memories of World Cup football. I can't see them getting that far this time but I see no reason why they can't get out of their group. And I agree with #13, I think the less heralded sides such as Nigeria and Cameroon have a better chance of progress than Ivory Coast and Ghana, purely because they've been drawn in easier groups.

    http://www.worldfootballcolumns.com/

  • Comment number 15.

    Al (#12)

    I can see Le Guen using your formation as well. My only worry though is it brings everything into the middle and no flank play at all. So it narrows the pitch which makes it very easy to defend against. But that really just shows that Cameroon does not have really good flank players so your formation also makes the best of what there is.

    So you also prefer Mbia at right back I take it? I don't know mate but for me that is such a waste of talent. I would rather he plays midfield or central defense if he has to be back there. Maybe he should partner Bassong in central defense instead?

    I really like Choupo in attack so if that is the formation then hopefully he scores a few. What is his goal scoring record, do you know? I could not find it.....

    I really hope though Cameroon never has to play Geremi, R. Song and Chedjou in the back all at once. That would be a disaster!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Darkanddom

    I hope you had an opportunity to watch Cameroon's friendly against Slovakia...

    It seems Le Guen is not ready to take Makoun any day any time ahead of Enoh and the latter paid him in kind by scoring the equaliser for the team. Definitely more direct than Makoun, better vision and does defending and attacking very well...

    Mbia may love to play at midfield but he is very sloppy when it comes to passing. He often abandons his position in the middle in his misguided forays and this caused him to lose his place in the middle at Marseilles to ...Kabore (Burkina Faso) and Edouard Cisse (who is on his way out of football).

    But I admit that he has good ball skills which from behind can help in passing on the ground because of his vision - that is why he shone at centre-back.

    However, Le Guen has a serious problem at right-back. No quality Cameroonian plays in this position in Europe and the option from home, Abouna, looks tactically limited.

    Playing 4-3-3 he needs a right-back who can take the space in-front (like Assou-Ekotto on the left) in order that his right-forward player can cut in-ward into the opposing team's 18 yard (what Eto'o does on the left). This player must be able to track-back and defend effectively.

    Mbia seems to be, in Le Guen's mind,the player with such capacity and he has played in that position for Rennes and even for Cameroon... That is where he obtained his first cap against Holland in 2006.

    Yet, given how good he was at CB, Le Guen is surely tempted to use him with either Nkoulou or Bassong. That shoule explain why he has been testing Marcel Djeng (against Georgia) and Aurelien Chedjou (versus Slovakia)at right back...

    The coach clearly doesn't trust Geremi to start...although he is the only regular in this position for Club and country.

    Meantime, I did not say Idrissou should play on the flanks. I said he is better than Webo in that position for Cameroon.

    I'll file my preferred 11 for Cameroon once Le Guen announces his squad...

    Bests

  • Comment number 17.

    Hey Leo Moto:

    Yeah....I think there is a real problem at right back. And I agree you need a marauding left and right back for Cameroon as there is no real winger (Emana is not a real winger and as Al (#12) said - I would prefer Emana behind the strikers if there was a real winger). I did not see the Slovakia game so how did Chedjou do there?

    I have read that Geremi replaced him at minute 67? For me Bong is a better defender than Djeng and Chedjou, so maybe he could have tried him there. But like you said, it is probably not going to happen - I get a feeling we will see Geremi back there in games as he does have quality in running up and down and crosses. But his defending is woeful and the Geremi of today, facing real wingers like Robben, Ribery, Ronaldo etc...man that would be cringe-worthy!

    Maybe a back four of Geremi at right back might work IF, AND ONLY IF, Mbia and Bassong take the center in my opinion (Nkolou and Geremi back there, I am not so sure frankly). If you do that, though, then you have to have two holding midfielders (A. Song and Nguemo/Matip).

    I agree that Le Guen will do what you have pointed out and play Eyong Enoh. He is an attacking mid but I think Cameroon should worry more about the defensive part of its game. That is why I favor the midfield trio of A. Song, Makoun and Mbia (but if Mbia goes in defense than I would even bring in Matip) - meaning have two holding type midfielders but one who is a real box to box player. That is my problem with Eyong Enoh (again the lad has skills don't get me wrong but he is too small to be imposing defensively).

    But I still think Mbia at right back is a waste because, as the Italy friendly showed, he did exactly what you have pointed out - make forays infront but does not track back fast enough. At right back facing Arjen Robben, that would be a disaster!!!!!

    Anyway, it is all in Le Guen's hands but this banter is fun though as we wait in nervous anticipation. Some people keep talking about how Cameroon's group is easy...I am not so sure. I think Denmark and Japan are not pushovers.

    What do you think about this Eto'O and Milla blow-out? What is Milla trying to accomplish by needling Eto'O? Maybe he is looking to try to motivate him? But you have to understand Eto'O has a fragile ego because his two big clubs (Madrid and Barca) rejected him even after he shone for them. I personally think Eto is the greatest African footballer EVER and without dispute the most accomplished, but many people still don't give him his due respect. So his ego is very fragile (you can see it from his response to Milla) so I am not sure why Milla does not know this and stop with his criticism 14 days before WC. Ridiculous if you ask me!

  • Comment number 18.

    ## darkanddom

    I have not seen Bong played yet. But if he is really good, then Assou-Ekotto can play right back and Bong Left back. Assou has played couple of games at right back for Spurs this PL season that just ended. But we might run into problems if one gets injured or suspended. So this solve our right back problem.

    For center back, any combination btween these guys: Mbia, Nkoulou, Bassong, will do the job.

    In the midfield I have no fear. Any combination between these guys: Alex Song, Mandjeck, Enoh, Matip, will do the job.

    Eto'o and Choupo should be in front and Emana behind them.

    I think Geremi still has a place in that team. Not in the first XI but he can be a handy sub, and his free kicks are always dangerous.

    Milla vs. Eto'o saga... I think Milla is trying to push Eto'o to perform better in SA. But it looks like Eto'o took it the wrong way and very seriously. But I do condanm Eto'o 's reaction. What he (Eto'o said) was really bad.

  • Comment number 19.

    I think people are massively underestimating Denmark by assuming Cameroun will make the second round. This is a team the outqualified Portugal and Sweden and have experienced campaigners who know what it takes to make it through the group stage of a tournament. Of course Cameroun are capable of getting through especiallt on African soil but they'll probably need to beat the danes who in qualifying have proven incredibally dificult to break down.

  • Comment number 20.

    "It's a moot point because for all his qualities, the Indomitable Lions skipper seldom carves open defences single-handedly as his icon did so smoothly."

    I'm not sure, but did you forget a 'cannot' in that sentence? :S

    Good blog, anyway. :)

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    hey guys its like my friend darkanddom have to come to terms that Enoh Eyong is presently the best midfielder we have, just look at his performance against slovakia infact if you had noticed he is among the rare players who has played 90mns in all the friendlies,he may not be flamboyant but very efficient, he does his job to the letter he is like Dunga of brazil,when he is in the field you dont see his importance but when he is out then you realise something is wrong in the midfield.i have always said it, Makoun is a disappiontment in the national team,i dont know his problem,Cameroon has had 3 different coaches of late yet makoun has not succeeded in printing his mark,also i think Mbia can be associated with Alex song and Enoh in the middle ,please Idrissou is not fit to be part of this squard,also Chedjou has a problem i think the coach has to talk to him,his performance against Slovakia was not good,he keeps on getting angry, thats not good for the team,then i think souleyman should start and not kameni, truely i was impressed with the overall performance against Slovakia,Etoo is threatening to boycot the World cup because of Milla's remarks,its not good what milla said,but i dont think its enough for Etoo to even think of boycotting the event after all its Milla's opinion,some years back Etoo gave a poor journalist a thrashing of his life in younde for asking him provocative questions,every body was angry but yet Etoo was pardonned,so i think he should understand that he is also not perfect.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think alot of how Cameroon do will be down to the form of Alex Song. I'm aware one player shouldn't be relied on too much, but Song's form in the 2009 ACON was instrumental in their reaching the final, and his absence in the showpiece left Cameroon exposed and well beaten by the Egyptians. Personally I think the biggest weakness of the African teams is their lack of discipline and organisation...hence Egypt having such a great record in the ACON simply by being well organised! In Song Cameroon have a player they can rely on to underpin the midfield and mop up in front of the defence, who has real top flight experience and who has shown in the last couple of years for Arsenal is probably one of the most improved players in the EPL. Yes, they need goals from Eto'o et al, but mostly they need to play compact, tough football and be hard to beat. Song is central to this and, if he has a good tournament, I can honestly see enough in the squad to suggest a 1990-esque run.
    On another Arsenal related point, though, I do think too many people are underestimating Denmark. As per post #19 Denamrk out qualified Portugal and Sweden and have alot of tough, experienced players. But I think the biggest player to watch for is Nicklas Bendtner. Often unconvincing for Arsenal (although did have something of a late season improvement this year), the international game seems to suit him rather well! He's scored 11 goals in a Danish shirt and may be one to watch. Maybe he could be compared to Savo Milosevic? Never overly convincing in league football but a dangerous striker when playing internationally. I could be wrong, of course, but I think he might suprise quite a few of his doubters in the WC...

  • Comment number 24.

    Great article but one mistake - R.Song and A.Song are cousins not uncle and nephew..

  • Comment number 25.

    hello just to correct my friend above tha Rigobert Song is an uncle to Alex Song and not cousins.Infact ALex Song is the son of Rigobert songs senior sister.this should be clear.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hello just to correct my friend above, Rigobert has always been described as the uncle of Arsenal's Alex Song. More recently, an interview establishes him as Song's cousin. Here is the link to that interview; their fathers are brothers.

    http://www.mtnfootball.com/live/content.php?Item_ID=13233

  • Comment number 27.

    .........................Kameni......................
    ....Mbia............Nloulou......Bassong..........Ekotto..
    ...........................A . Song.......................
    ............Matip..........................Enow...........
    ......Aboubaka.................................Eto'o.....
    ............................Idrissou.....................
    Hidden Agenda to surprise them .

  • Comment number 28.

    Rolly......

    I like your formation except 2 deletions: I would play Eto instead of Idrissou at #9 (center forward). I would put Emana instead of Aboubaka at right wing and at left wing I would play Choupo. I think Emana and Choupo have to be in first 11 because the strike force of Emana, Eto and Choupo with Enoh feeding them can be very good!!!

    Matip and Song should provide good defensive cover and clean up (which is sorely needed). I am also beginning to wish Mbia to partner Bassong in central defense except that at this time there is really no good right back better than him so he is it (I would have played Bong there, or as Al wrote above, play Ekotto on right back and Bong on left back). That is not going to happen though.

    But otherwise, good formation!

  • Comment number 29.

    darkanddom.....
    Why Idrissou as final striker is because Eto'o doesn't like to play there , As we all know it was only in Barca that he was playing as a final striker he has never played with the national team as final striker .

    Idrissou is technically zero yes its true but his physical strength and and height can pressurize any kind of center backs Especially when he is at his best, I have never seen choupo playing before with the national team so I can't say so much about him . Emana isn't good at the wings but with the few matches of Aboubaka already , I think he and Eto'o are the best options on the wings if we want to play this 4 3 3 formation.But any other formation will be good for Emana .

    I also know that a bassong and Mbia Center back pair will be the best choice , But since the team has a right back problem, let Mbia cover it .

  • Comment number 30.

    ........................Kameni.......................
    ....Mbia.............Nkoulou....Bassong..........Ekotto
    .............A.Song.....................Enow............
    ..........................Emana.........................
    ......ABoubaka..............................Eto'o.......
    .........................Idrissou.......................
    4.5.1 offensive option.Wingers should fall back immediately the team is at the deffensive . Eto'o those it usually with Inter .

  • Comment number 31.

    Just finished watching the Portugal game. Cameroon lost 3-1 but I was not too disappointed. I thought the team played very well. Mbia has to play central defense - he is solid!!!!!!!! Him and Nkoulou did form a nice partnership back there. Choupo looked very good.

    Based on what I have seen so far, I would play:

    Kameni

    Mandjeck...........Nkoulou.............Mbia...................Ekotto
    A.Song
    Emana......................Enoh
    Choupo Webo Eto

  • Comment number 32.

    After watching their friendly with Portugal, I fear for the worst. Same poor tacticts like in Nations Cup. Lack of finishing power and Poor Goal keeping. Portugal 3 Cameroon 1, is nothing to be proud of with just a few days to World Cup.

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes after watching choupo playing I think he is fit to be a starter with the team and I was very happy with the job that Emanna did at the left wing I want to believe that we can use the 4 3 3 formation or the 4 5 1 offensive formation effectively and win . For the right back issue I think Manjeck is the best tested so far . But I strongly disagree with anyone who thinks that Makoun is a starter, the team is loosing because of him in that midfield he is hiding all the time,and can't even creat something, All he knows is to liberate the ball very fast and most of the time to the opponent.Makoun is the only problem left for the team to start wining replace him with matip then the best 11 as follow.
    ..........................Kameni...................................
    ...Manjeck..........Nkoulou(Bassong).....Mbia..........Ekotto..
    ...........A.Song...........................Enow..............
    .........................Matip...............................
    .............Eto'o........................Emanna..............
    .........................Choupo...............................
    Eto'o should discipline himself if not we will have so much problem with the referees .African teams should know that, referees are our first opponent in each match. So the best thing Eto'o should do as a captain is to avoid being send off.That was really poor of Eto'o.

  • Comment number 34.


    What a fine blog.

    Best wishes to Samuel Eto'o and the Indomitable Lions.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

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  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

    According to me Romania has now one more chance to show their power, All the teams are working hard to become superior, & one of the most important thing to discuss is that Competition is rising like petrol prices in the world. We should work hard to win compete with teams now a days, I would like to say that i love all the blogs on BBC Blog and i love Pierse Edwards all the articles.
    Agerwall
    Orkut Scraps

  • Comment number 39.

    Romania is just a shadow of the past. After Hagi, Popescu and Dan Petrescu retirement romanian team is living from memories. They did not have even one memorable winning. And I can tell for sure because a live near termopane Bucuresti area. The only chance for our team is to be coached by the Lucescu senior and to be rebulit.

  • Comment number 40.

    Superb game. I remember the World Cup in 1990 as it was yesterday. I think it was the most exciting football Campiani the past 40 years.
    Stefano -

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