Cameroon's Women's World Cup preparations under spotlight

Cameroon women's team
Cameroon's Indomitable Lionesses reached the last 16 of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada.

With less than 100 days to go before this year's Women's World Cup, Cameroon's football federation (Fecafoot) has addressed worries over the team's build-up, promising to organise warm-up games against some of the "best teams in the world" - including Spain.

The World Cup kicks off in France on 7 June and ends on 7 July.

Despite several friendlies falling through due to contractual conflicts, Fecafoot says other fixtures are being lined up for the Indomitable Lionesses.

"We know there are concerns over the team's preparation but Fecafoot is currently negotiating with some of the best teams in the world for warm-up matches," Fecafoot communications director Parfait Siki told BBC Sport.

"Cameroon will play in a tournament in April in China against some tough sides. They are very talented teams and will provide the Lionesses tough opposition as they prepare for the World Cup.

"We've received offers for friendlies from some interesting sides but some of the conditions put forward weren't ideal.

"We have spoken to Spain's Football Association and talks have been fruitful. We're confident there will be a warm-up game between both sides in May," Siki added.

Unlike both Nigeria and South Africa who will also be at the World Cup, Cameroon are yet to play an international friendly since qualifying for France 2019.

The Lionesses, who will play at a World Cup for a second time, wrapped up a three-week training camp last week in Yaounde when they played amateur youth teams in warm-up games.

Former footballer Victorine Fomum, now a coach and analyst, is among those disappointed with the Lionesses' preparation.

"There's a huge disparity between men and women's football in Cameroon. The women's team are always subject to shambolic treatment," Fomum told BBC Sport.

Nigeria v South Africa
Nigeria and South Africa are both involved in the Cyprus Cup tournament as they build up to France 2019.

"The girls haven't been consistent in their preparation. Training should've started a long time ago, not now. There should've been more friendlies. Look at Nigeria and South Africa, they have played several international matches and now both sides are in the Cyprus Cup. We have to do better.

"The Lionesses have a good coach in Alain Djeumfa but things aren't made easy for him. The women's league hasn't started and it's difficult for him to scout for players.

"We have to be pragmatic. I fear with such poor preparation we may have a poor output in France," Fomum added.

Victorine Fomum says she understands the limitations placed on women's coaches at international level.

"As coach of Cameroon's under 17 women's side, I had only 10 days to prepare for an international game and sadly this trend has continued.

"We must understand that it's not about going to the World Cup but putting up a memorable performance. Unfortunately not many are aware of this," Fomum said.

Cameroon are pitted against Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands in Group E at this year's World Cup.

The Indomitable Lionesses will be aiming to reach the quarter finals after their last-16 exit in 2015 in Canada.

Coach Alain Djeumfa

Lionesses' national team coach Alain Djeumfa is set to oversee a second training camp in Yaounde with mostly local players and has called for some changes if the Central Africans are to match their achievement in 2015.

"We started our training camp timidly but the players have improved. We have been working on endurance, individual technique and ball possession. The players have shown great determination and I like what we've been able to achieve this far," Djeumfa said.

"When the sports minister paid us a courtesy visit, I told him I'll like to have all the players available at least a month before the tournament especially those plying their trade in Europe. If we can have all the players before that, it'll be good for us. We have a good team" the 46 year old coach stressed.

"We know how important this tournament is for our country and we want to do our best to make our compatriots and the continent proud," Djeumfa added.

The Indomitable Lionesses are set to resume training on Monday 4 March in Yaounde.

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