Paul Le Guen’s tenure as head coach of Cameroon’s national football team has been extended for another seven months, news agencies reported on Thursday.
Although neither Le Guen nor the Cameroon football federation have confirmed this information, the Frenchman who took over the Indomitable Lions in July on a short-term contract slated to expire in December is expected to lead the 4-times champions of Africa to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola.
He played an influential role in qualifying the team to both tournaments after they had started poorly with a defeat and a draw to stand bottom of their group; five points adrift of Gabon. Cameroon finished 4 points clear of the Gabonese Panthers.
“The key has been the talent of the players. We didn’t undergo a dramatic change of personnel but I wanted to change the team dynamic. I wanted them to want to come and play for the national team and I sought to give them the best conditions possible,” Le Guen told pressmen after the final qualifier against Morocco in Fez.
By confirming the former Olympic Lyon and Glasgow Rangers manager a day before the draws of the Africa Cup of Nations in Luanda, Cameroon football authorities would quench any unhealthy speculation that may dent the current confidence the team exhudes. It would display determination to maintain momentum and concentration in the ranks of a talented squad that is often rocked by lack of focus.
This sign of confidence also means that the ball would be in Le Guen’s court in terms of the positive results expected by supporters of the team.
The Lions’ turn-around has raised hopes among the football fans, in the country of 18 million, that their favourite squad will reach and win the final of the Africa Nations Cup that kicks-off next 10 January. They were defeated at the final of the last edition in Ghana by the Pharaohs of Egypt (1-0).
Cameroon are among the top seeds in Friday’s draw alongside the Elephants of Ivory Coast, the Pharoahs of Egypt and hosts Angola. Whereas Cameroon cannot meet any of the aforementioned sides in the group phase, they could be placed with one of the following second seeds: Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia and Mali. They could also draw one from third hat: Algeria, Zambia, Togo and Benin in their group . One from Mozambique, Malawi, Burkina Faso and Gabon should complete Cameroon’s group.