Indomitable Lions poised to roar
The Cameroon national football team, nicknamed the Indomitable Lions, is controlled by FECAFOOT and is one of the continent’s most successful AFCON sides. They have won 4 Africa Cup of Nations with only Egypt with seven wins, winning more.
Cameroon first qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations in 1972, and went up to the semi-finals. They also made it to 1970 edition but they did not pass the group stages. They would not qualify for the competition for another Afcon until 1984 and this time is when Indomitable Lions’ first trophy success came, when they beat Nigeria 3-1 in the final in the Ivory Coast.
They returned again in the 1986 edition and this time Cameroon lost out on penalties to hosts Egypt. They however made amends at the next edition of the tournament by beating Nigeria 1-0 in the final, which took place in Morocco. In 2000 it was pretty much the same thing as each time they have faced Nigeria in the finals, they edged the Super Eagles again, after a controversial penalty shoot out.
Recent Afcon history for the Indomitable Lions though has been wobbly as they have failed to make the last two editions of the competition after having only made it as far as the quarter-finals in 2010.
2017 Afcon players boycott
Cameroon fans are eager for a fifth trophy
The Indomitable Lions team was hit by the decision of a number of first team players announcing their unavailability for 2017 Afcon selection. With a little more than a week to the tournament, a total of eight players had opted out.
Joel Matip of Liverpool is one of the seven who told coach Hugo Broos that they were not interested in being selected. The other six are Andre Onana (Ajax Amsterdam), Guy Roland Ndy Assembe (Nancy), Allan Nyom (West Bromwich Albion), Maxime Poundje (Girondins Bordeaux), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Olympique Marseille) and Ibrahim Amadou (Lille).
All seven as of late last month, had been named in a preliminary list of 35 for the tournament, where Cameroon are drawn in Group A with the hosts, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau.
Matip simply did not want to play for Cameroon because of a “bad experience” with the previous coaching staff. The German-born defender has not featured for Cameroon since the World Cup in Brazil but Broos, who took over in February, has twice been to see him to try and persuade him to return to the side.
As for Allan Nyom he told Broos that he wanted to stay at West Bromwich Albion to keep his place in the team, a sentiment shared by Amadou, Ndy Assembe, Onana and Zambo Anguissa. Poundje, uncapped by Cameroon, said he preferred to concentrate on setting his sights on playing for France. However, Broos has remained unfazed and constructed a new team. It is not short of talent and the Lions may just roar again in Gabon.
2017 Afcon qualification
In Cameroon’s 2017 Afcon qualifying campaign, the team was grouped with South Africa, Gambia, and Mauritania. After a slow start in their campaign, with a shocking draw to South Africa both home and away, the third fixture caused a surge in their spirit as they got a win against Mauritania, followed by another win against the Scorpions of Gambia in Yaounde. Both results secured Cameroon their ticket to Gabon 2017.
Fai Collins (Standard Liege). Age: 24. Defender.
Fai has had a distinguished career with Standard Lidge and has been one of the best defenders for the national team.
Jacques Zoua (Kaiserslautern). Age: 26. Striker.
Zoua is the driving force for Cameroon having been elevated from the youth team to the main one. With three goals in nine appearances, he initially made his name at Kaiserslautern.
Vincent Aboubakar (Besiktas ). (below) Age: 24. Forward
Scorer of important goals for his country, he has spent his entire professional career in French soccer and is a forever present danger-man up front.
Cameroon have a good chance of bettering their last-eighth finish in 2010. They were a side in transition but now have a new balanced team with exciting prospects such as the for mentioned Vincent Aboubakar and Clinton Njie.
2017 Afcon squad:
Goalkeepers: Fabrice Ondoa (FC Séville, Spain), Jules Goda (AC Ajaccio, France), Georges Mbokwe (Coton Sport de Garoua).
Défenders: Nicolas Nkoulou (Lyon, France), Ambroise Oyongo (Impact Montréal, Canada), Mohamed Djeitei (Nastic Tarragone, Spain), Fai Collins (Standard Liège, Belgium, Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui (Slavia Prague, Check Républic), Adolphe Teikeu (Sochaux, France), Jonathan Ngwem (FC Progresso, Angola), Ernest Mabouka (MSK Zilina, Slovakia)
Midfielders: Sébastien Siani (Ostende, Belgium), Georges Mandjeck (Metz, France), Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian, Scotland), Franck Boya (Apejes)
Attackers: Vincent Aboubakar (Besiktas, Turkey), Benjamin Moukandjo (Lorient, France), Jacques Zoua (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Edgar Salli (Saint-Gall, France), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Angers, France), Clinton Njie (Marseille, France), Robert Ndip Tambe (Spartak Trnava, Slovakia), Christian Bassogog (Aalborg, Denmark).
Cameroon start the quest for their 5th trophy on Saturday the 14th when they lock horns with Burkina Faso.