|Coach: Paul Le Guen |
FIFA Ranking (Nov 09): 11
Previous Appearances: 5 (1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002)
The all-time African leaders by far in World Cup participation, Cameroon first made it to the big show in 1982, but didn't return in 1986. They managed to punch their ticket to Italia '90 and didn't miss a World Cup until the 2006 competition where they were stunned by Cote d'Ivoire and Egypt.
Now they are back with arguably their best generation of players so far. With a coach that the players are finally behind and possibly the best African player in Samuel Eto'o, many people are hoping that Cameroon finally puts in the performances that many know they are capable of.
How They Qualified
It was far from smooth sailing for the Indomitable Lions this time around. In a group composed of Gabon, Togo and Morocco, it was the smaller team, Gabon that stunned everyone by wining their first two matches while Cameroon lost their first encounter against Togo and then drew Morocco.
But then coach Paul Le Guen came on board, while the Indomitable Lions played catch up with their opposition, and with four consecutive wins they ensured their participation in their sixth World Cup.
With possibly the greatest striker in African history at his peak right now, the team's strength should be the attack but the truth is Cameroon’s midfield is what makes it special. Even though less star-studded than say, Ivory Coast or Mali, the Cameroon midfield, whether playing in a 4-3-3 or a 4-4- 2 formation has been excellent at linking the defence to the forwards.
The main weakness of the team will be their overall age and ability to cope with high-level competition. If the Cameroonian players are not necessarily the oldest, they have some of the most precocious players who have been playing at the highest of level for a very long time and are used a great deal by their clubs. Certain players - such as 33-year-old Rigobert Song – are beginning to slow down and look a bit rusty.
Paul Le Guen is very well respected by his players, who prefer his methods to those of Otto Pfister. With no experience in Africa whatsoever, he'll have to prove himself in Angola before going to South Africa.
Samuel Eto’o (Inter)
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With one of the most impressive trophy cabinets in African football, Samuel Eto'o is out to prove that his level has not diminished one bit in the last few years, and he will be looking to show the world what he's capable of, as he was very young in France and Korea. In a continent where he is a god-like entity, people will expect a great deal from him, and he will have to deliver.
Idriss Carlos Kameni (Espanyol)
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Arguably the best African glovesman today, he keeps the tradition of quality Cameroonian goalkeeping alive. Fast reflexes and consistent shot stopping has gained him respect in Spain. The ‘Phenomenon’ has long been the best in his country and there's no reason for that to change any time soon.
Stephane M'bia (Marseille)
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He's long been touted as the replacement for Geremi and he literally took his spot from under him. If M'bia can manage to stay injury free he'll finally play at the competition everyone in Cameroon dreams of. He moved from Rennes to Marseille this year and has already shown impressive skills with great teams.
Best Footballing Moment
Their best moment of international football was definitely during the 2000 Sydney Olympics against Spain where after an abysmal first half the Indomitable Lions leveled their Spanish opponents 2-2 and went on to win in penalties with an already impressive Kameni, who was only sixteen at the time.
Off The Pitch
Famous for: A very close relationship with their sponsor, Puma that got them in trouble as their kits got them fines and points removed as well as new fans. A large majority of the country speaks more than three languages, with French and English being the official languages.
Most likely to: Have more members of the Government present at any game than any other country in the tournament.
World Cup Objective
Getting out of the group stages is expected from them and making it to the quarter-finals will definitely be an objective for the Indomitable Lions, as anything less would be a disappointment.