Defender Estelle Johnson targets Cameroon success at Women's World Cup

Estelle Johnson
Estelle Johnson was eligible to play for both the United States and Cameroon but chose the Indomitable Lionesses.

Defender Estelle Johnson says she is relishing the chance to help Cameroon succeed at the 2019 Women's World Cup in France, having been inspired by their exploits at Canada 2015.

The centre-back, who is eligible to play for both Cameroon and USA, has decided to pledge her allegiance to the Indomitable Lionesses.

Johnson, who turns 31 on 21 July, has been named in a 26-strong provisional squad for the global showpiece event which will be played in France from 7 June to 7 July.

Cameroon will feature at the Women's World Cup for the second time and their scintillating run to the round of 16 four years ago in Canada sparked Johnson's interest to play for the African team.

"In 2015, I was rooting for Cameroon all the time. The Lionesses were flamboyant and I was amazed by the way they played, the passion and the energy from the team" Johnson, who plays for US club Sky Blue FC, told BBC Sport.

"I loved the resilience and I knew I always wanted to play for them. It's something that had lingered on my mind before but I hadn't given it a serious thought until the 2015 World Cup in Canada.

"I always wanted to represent Cameroon but I didn't have the courage to come out and venture playing for the team.

"Since I joined the squad, I've received so much support. It's been awesome and it's definitely a great motivation going forward. I want to play for the team and make Cameroonians proud.

"I feel very honoured. It means a lot going to the World Cup but it's even more special doing so with Cameroon," she added.

Estelle Johnson
Estelle Johnson currently plays for US club Sky Blue FC in the US National Women's Soccer League

Formerly on the books of Washington Spirits in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), Johnson picked up the outfit's distinction for the best defender for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.

She is keen to translate her club form and experience to Cameroon at the France showdown.

"These past seasons I've had an important role to play at my clubs and for me the goal is to have a good performance. I want to bring my experience to this squad.

"As a team we want to perform better than we did in 2015. We have set the standards pretty high and we know we can achieve something interesting at the World Cup.

"It's not going to be easy, every team in the World Cup will be good. It's down to us to play like we know how to play and I believe everything will fall into place.

"I've always wanted to play on the biggest stage in the world, every footballer wants to play in the World Cup. I've tried to do everything I could to make that happen and I'm glad this has come to fruition.

"So far, I've had some individual recognitions in my career but this doesn't matter now. This is a new challenge and I'm hoping to succeed."

Johnson, who spent several years in Cameroon's northern city Maroua, began her professional career with Philadelphia Independence in 2010 and went on to enjoy stints with Sydney FC, New York Fury, Western New York Flash and Washington Spirits before joining Sky Blue FC earlier this year.

Cameroon are pitted against Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand in Group E of the France World Cup.

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