The unlikely quarter final push of Italia 90 seems but a distant memory now for the Indomitable Lions. Unable to qualify for Germany 2006 and unable to come out of their group the previous three World Cups, Cameroon seems unlikely to break their bad spell this year, regardless of fact that they are playing in Africa.
Their talismanic captain and star player Samuel Eto’o should be feeling great after his back to back Champions League victories. He should be using that confidence as a boost and leading his team by example. Instead, he is causing a considerable amount of unrest in the dressing room as he recently threatened to quit the team. His comments came as a response to Italia ‘90’s hero Roger Milla, who commented that Eto’o is not focused on his national team. Milla’s word seem strange as Eto’o bought every single one of his teammates a £29,000 watch simply for qualifying for the World Cup and has made it a habit of rewarding them this way. However, now that Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen has joined Roger Milla’s chorus, it would seem that Eto’o has perhaps lost some of dedication recently, as proven by his before half time dismissal during Cameroon’s friendly against Portugal June 1st.
But let’s not forget that there’s no “I” in team, the Lion’s posses a pack of skilled players who ply their trade in some of Europe’s big clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham, Olympique Marseille, Espanyol etc. A lot of these players enjoyed wonderful seasons just like Eto’o, especially the ones who play for Tottenham and Olympique Marseille.
It must be said however that a lot of these players are not creative types in any sense, but instead fill the boots of the hardworking fast runners in their teams. It is a well known fact that to reach the latter stages of the world cup you need spark of magic. Unfortunately for Cameroon, not even their star Samuel Eto’o is likely to provide this magic, even on his best day. Therefore what use will it be for Cameroon to have 11 players who can run cleverly and tirelessly into open space if nobody in the team can distribute the ball to them?
Lastly, Cameroon’s chances of leaving their group are blighted by the fact that they stuttered in qualifiers and barely made it in, so even if some of their players are importing confidence from Europe, they surely are not using it for their national team. This was painfully clear the last three friendlies Cameroon had against Italy, Slovakia and Portugal, the best result of which was a 0-0 draw with a seriously under par Italy.
Cameroon will likely finish 3rd in Group E, ahead of a thin Japan squad and behind the Danes and the Dutch, who are more skilled and compact teams.
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