Paul Le Guen has not included Rigobert Song and Geremi Njitap in Cameroon’s squad to face World Champions Italy in a friendly next 3 March in Monaco,but he has re-called Sebastien Bassong and picked Mabouka Massoussi and Abouna Ndzana from Astres Douala, local media reported on Tuesday.
Cameroon’s most experienced players, Song (133 caps) and Geremi (109 caps) were heavily criticised by Cameroonian media and fans for the Indomitable Lions’ woes at the just ended Africa Cup of Nation is Angola. The World Cup bound squad conceded 8 goals in 4 matches and were knocked-out in the quarter finals by Egypt.
It is unusual that the former captain (Song) and his deputy (Geremi) are left out of camp except they are injured or suspended. News of their absence has generated speculation in the media that they might miss the World Cup in South Africa next June.
“They (journalists) are going about it in the wrong manner,” a top official of the Cameroon football Federation (Fecafoot) told Gef’s Football Club.
“The coach is using the opportunity to test new players because he may not have another chance to have in the squad before May. It doesn’t mean those who have not been called-up have been barred from the team,” he added.
“He can only have a set number of players for a match like this and therefore cannot call everyone,” the official said.
Five other players who were part of the Africa Cup team were also not retained in the 22-man list that was read on State radio (CRTV). They are: Gilles Binya, Stephane Bikey, N’Dy Assembe, Aurelien Tchedjou and Paul Alo’o Efoulou.
Back to the Den
Meanwhile, Dorge Kouehmaha, the in form striker of Belgian side Club Bruge has been called to camp for the first time under Paul Le Guen. His name was usually on the list in Otto Pfister’s time in-charge but he only managed to play for a few minutes in a friendly against Guinea in February 2009. Le Guen was recently in Belgium to see him perform for his club.
The manager is also expecting Bennoit Assou-Ekotto who picked-up an injury before the Africa Cup and Joel Matip – the teenager born of a German mother and Cameroon father – who missed the tournament in Angola because authorities could not process his Cameroonian passport.
“I can confirm that he got his passport today (Tuesday),” the Fecafoot official told Gef’s Football Club.
“I can also confirm that the boy is ready to play for us as is his brother (Marvin) who also has all his papers,” he said.
“But am not sure about the coach’s interest in Marvin given that he has not been playing much this season. Besides, we still have to approach FIFA to process his file because he already played for the Germans which is not the case for Joel,” the top official explained.
The confusion over Joel Matip’s selection before the Africa Cup sparked debate over the coach’s team selection methods. This might just be re-ignited with regards to his criteria for picking the two Astres players given that he has hardly watched any local football in the country.
It is, however, the first time in nearly half a decade that outfield players (not goalkeepers) based in Cameroon are called to camp with the Indomitable Lions.
Gef’s Football Club will return with a closer look at the list which mainly features players who represented Cameroon in Angola (as you can see below).
- Idriss Carlos Kameni ( Espagnyol Barcelona, Spain)
- Souleymanou Hamidou ( Kayserispor, Turkey)
- Achille Webo ( Mallorca, Spain)
- Samuel Eto’o ( Inter Milan, Italy)
- Alexandre Song ( Arsenal, England)
- Nicolas Nkoulou ( Monaco, France)
- Georges Mandjeck (Kaiserslautern, Germany)
- Achille Emana ( Real Betis, Spain)
- Landry Nguemo ( Celtic Glasgow, Scotland)
- Henri Bedimo Nsamè ( Lens , France)
- Somen A Tchoyi ( Red Bulls Salzburg, Austria)
- Enoh Eyong Tarkang (Ajax, Holland)
- Jean II Makoun ( Lyon, France)
- Stéphane Mbia (Olympique Marseille, France)
- Idrissou Mohamadou ( SC Freiburg, Germany)
- Benoit Assou Ekotto( Tottenham, England)
- Sebastien Bassong ( Tottenham, England)
- Mabouka Massoussi (Astres FC de Douala)
- Abouna Ndzana (Astres FC de Douala)
- Nounkeu Dany (Toulouse, France)
- Joël Matip (FC Schalke 04, Germany)
- Kouemaha Dorge Rostand ( FC Bruges)