Cameroon Preview – Lions Far From Indomitable
World Cup 2014
African heavyweights Cameroon may find it difficult to make their way out of a tough group containing hosts and favourites Brazil.
With one win, a draw and two losses in their last four games it’s fair to say Cameroon’s form has been pretty erratic in recent outings. They came away from Saturday’s clash against Germany with plenty of positives to take from a 2-2 draw, but suffered a 5-1 thrashing against Portugal in March and also lost out to Paraguay at the end of May. German-based forward Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting has scored in each of his past three games for his country, who complete their preperations with a game against Moldova a week before their tournament gets underway.
Cameroon topped group I in African qualification ahead of Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya and lost only one of their six games to finish four points ahead of the Libyans in second place. That put the Indomitable Lions into a play-off with Tunisia to be played over two legs, after leaving Tunis with a 0-0 draw they then reached their seventh World Cup finals thanks to a 4-1 win in the home leg with former Aston Villa midfielder Jean Makoun scoring a brace.
Cameroon’s squad features many well-known players who are currently plying their trade in English football, or have done in the recent past, theirs is a squad full of experience but lacking in many creative talents and still overly reliant on captain and talisman Samuel Eto’o.
Goalkeepers:Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport), Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), Sammy Ndjock (Fethiyespor).
Defenders:Benoit Assou-Ekotto (QPR, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Henri Bedimo (Lyon), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray), Cedric Djeugou (Coton Sport), Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille), Dany Nounkeu (Besiktas), Allan Nyom (Granada).
Midfielders: Enoh Eyong (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Rennes), Joel Matip (Schalke), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla, on loan from QPR), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy), Landry Nguemo (Bordeaux), Edgar Salli (Lens), Alex Song (Barcelona).
Forwards:Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient), Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting (Mainz), Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea), Fabrice Olinga (Malaga), Achille Webo (Fenerbahce).
It’s crucial the Cameroon get off to a good start to have any chance of progress as their fixtures appear to get more difficult as they go along. Three points against Mexico will give them every opportunity of progress but coach Volker Finke will be well aware that should they face the hosts in their final group game without a win already under their belts then the tournament will be as good as over for the German’s charges, and the nation with more World Cup Final experience than any other in Africa will be on a swift flight home.
13 June, Mexico v Cameroon, Arena das Dunas, Natal, 17:00
18 June, Cameroon v Croatia, Arena Amazonia, Manaus, 23:00
23 June, Cameroon v Brazil, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, 21:00
At only 4/7 to finish bottom of Group A it’s clear their isn’t much faith in this side to achieve anything of note at the tournament. I wouldn’t take those odds though, especially as Mexico have plenty of problems themselves but 6/1 odds Moting to finish ahead of an ageing Eto’o as top scorer for Cameroon look to be worth backing.