Former player Samuel Eto’o backed Cameroon to win the World Cup despite a tough group that included title favorites Brazil.
Appearances in previous World Cups: 7
best score: Quarter-finals (1990)
World Cup record: W4 L12 D7
Biggest win: 2-1 against Romania (1990), against Colombia (1990)
Players watch: Andre-Frank Zambo sorry
Fixtures: Switzerland (November 24), Serbia (November 28) and Brazil (December 2)
In November, national legend and Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) president Samuel Eto’o put pressure on senior soccer teams by predicting an all-African event in the 2022 World Cup final.
“Africa has always had the potential to host a successful World Cup, but we haven’t always shown our best,” Eto’o said.
“African teams have gained more and more experience over the years and I think they are not only ready to play in the World Cup, but ready to win it.
“Cameroon will win World Cup final against Morocco” – Samuel Eto’o
It’s a daunting task for the team, which has qualified for the World Cup for the eighth time, the most ever by an African team. In the second leg against Algeria, winger Karto Koerkambi scored in extra time and only under the away goals rule.
The selection of the World Cup squad has also sparked controversy, as coach Rigobert Song had difficulty deciphering some of the names when he announced the roster, leading local media to speculate that Eto’o would interfere.
All of which makes Song’s group exits with Switzerland, Serbia and pre-tournament favorites Brazil a tough one.
Leading the charge in what appears to be a “mission impossible” is goalkeeper Andrea Onana and star midfielder Andrea Franco Zambo Anguiza, both of whom play in Serie A, and Captain and veteran striker Vincent Abubakar of Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasser Football Club.
Zambo Anguissa, the team’s defensive lynchpin, has a stud’s work rate and a keen eye for goals. If he can play his best and push the team to produce effective performances, the team has the potential to make history again.
The Indomitable Lions also made history by qualifying for the quarter-finals in 1990, the first team on the continent to do so – only Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) have since done so . To achieve the milestone, Cameroon beat defending champions Argentina 1-0.
In the next game, although they finished at the bottom of the group, they made history again. In the 1994 squad, there was the 42-year-old veteran Roger Mira, who held the record for the oldest goalscorer in any World Cup.
After missing out on Russia four years ago, Song’s constituency is eager to show that their status as a country to be reckoned with on the global stage remains undiminished. But can they, against all odds, go on to break their own record and match Eto’o’s words?