Sebastien Bassong is the surprise absentee from Paul Le Guen’s 23-man squad for January’s Africa Cup of Nations in Angola. The Tottenham Hotspur central-defender has been left out of an Indomitable Lions squad that includes first-timer Joel Matip from FC Shalke O4 in Germany.
Bassong has been widely tipped as the long-term replacement for Rigobert Song Bahanag in the ranks of the 4-time African Champions. He got injured less than 10 minutes into the World Cup qualifier against Gabon and has since been unable to unseat the former captain of the Indomitable Lions.
Daniel Ngom Kome (midfielder), Albert Meyong Ze (striker) and Binya (defender) have also been dropped from the squad where they have mainly held fringe roles since Le Guen’s arrival.
The surprise selection in the team is definitely Joel Matip. The 18-year-old is the son of a Cameroonian father and a German mother, but has never been called-up before. He shot to prominence this season when he scored against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Joel has therefore made it to the Cameroon national team ahead of his senior brother Marvin Matip who plays for FC Cologne and had long been seen as a potential Cameroon international. Marvin used to be the captain of the German under 21 national team.
Idrissou Mohamadou’s invitation to the AFCON could also be viewed with some curiousity. The striker has not been called to the Lions’ den since the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008. Mo’ as he is fondly called, has been scoring for his club this season and he seems to have plucked Paul Le Guen’s attention. The coach has been in search of a tall, target-man for his side but seems not to have convinced Liverpool’s David N’gog to join the Cameroon ranks.
Although this is Guy Rolan N’dy Assembe’s first invitation to the Cameroon team, the inclusion of this goalkeeper who plays for Valencienne (in France) was expected by fans and journalists who have been watching his good performances in the French Ligue 1.
Le Guen also maintained his confidence in Georges Madjeck who plays for FC Kaiserslautern in the Bundesliga 2. The youngman who defended Cameroon’s colours at the Beijing Olympics earned his first senior csiap against Angola in a friendly match played in October. He is a midfielder who can also play at right-back.
The rest of the squad that will begin camping on 5 January in Nairobi is made up of regulars which Le Guen recurrently selected since he took over in July.
Here is the full list of 23 as published on the Cameroon Football Federation web site on Tuesday:
1. KAMENI Idriss Carlos, Espanyol Barcelona – Spain
2. SOULEYMANOU Hamidou, Kayserispor – Turkey
3. N’DY ASSEMBE Guy Roland, Valenciennes – France
4. SONG Bahanag Rigobert, Trabzonspor – Turkey
5. NJITAP Fotso GEREMI, Newcastle United – England
6. BEDIMO Henri, Chateauroux – France
7. BIKEY André Stéphane, Burnley FC – England
8. ASSOU EKOTTO Benoit, Tottenham – England
9. CHEDJOU Aurélien, Lille OSC – France
10. NKOULOU Nicolas, AS Monaco – France
11. SONG Alexandre, Arsenal FC – England
12. MAKOUN Jean II, Lyon – France
13. MBIA Stéphane, Olympiques de Marseille – France
14. MANDJECK Georges, Kaiserslautern – Germany
15. MATIP Joel, FC Shalke 04 – Germany
16. EYONG Enoh, Ajax Amsterdam – Holland
17. NGUEMO Landry, Celtic Glasgow – Scotland
18. EMANA Achille, Real Betis – Spain
19. SOMEN A TCHOYI, Red Bulls Salzburg – Austria
20. ALO’O EFOULOU Paul, AS Nancy – France
21. WEBO Achille, RCD Mallorca – Spain
22. IDRISSOU Mohamadou, SC Freiburg – Germany
23. ETO’O Fils Samuel, Inter Milano – Italy