Cameroon’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong put in a solid display in Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw with reigning English premier league champions Chelsea.
Assou-Ekotto prevented Chelsea’s Salomon Kalou and later Daniel Sturridge from rampaging down the flank and making dangerous crosses. He was also prompt to cover his central defenders during sharp Chelsea counter-attacks, earning him a lot of praise from Sky TV commentators throughout the game.
The Cameroonian left-back, who is often criticised by some Spurs fans for his positioning, contributed to his team’s goal via a wonderful through ball for Jermaine Defoe behind the Chelsea right-back Paulo Ferriera. Defoe passed on to Russian-born Roman Pavlyuchenko whose low drive beat Chelsea’s keeper 15 minutes into the game.
Sebastien Bassong, the other Indomitable Lion, was strong at central defence where his partnership with England’s Michael Dawson held Nicolas Anelka in-check for most of the first half.
He also showed physical strength, winning headers against Didier Drogba who came on as a second half substitute. The Ivorian,though, out-muscled Dawson to score a goal that should have been stopped by Spur’s keeper, Heurelho Gomes, at the 70th minute of play.
Bassong maintained concentration and power which kept Drogba from beating him to the ball in one-on-one duels. The Ivorian had to resort to tugging the Cameroonian’s shirt to have his way but was caught by the referees.
Good for Cameroon
Cameroon’s national team coach Javier Clemente should be pleased by such a performance from two of his first-choice defenders as he sets his sight to challenge Senegal next March in Dakar.
However, with football’s ups and downs the story might be different by then. For instance, Bassong has William Gallas, Younes Kaboul and Ledley King (who are currently injured) to compete with for a starting spot in Tottenham’s central defence. Would he still be keeping his place and match fitness by March?
Clemente would naturally hope that the central defender stays in the picture and should be expecting the same from two other Cameroonians – Somen Tchoyi and George Elokobi – who were impressive this weekend.
Elokobi played the full 90 minutes at left-back for Wolverhampton in their 1-0 defeat of Birmingham City. The big man, who was called-up for the first time to the Indomitable Lions den in November, displayed passion, grit and power as he defended on Sunday afternoon.
Tchoyi, who missed out on the World Cup, has been having a brilliant season since he moved from Austrian club Salzburg to West Bromwich Albion. He has already scored 4 league goals and was recalled to the Lions’ den in November.
He should have scored again on Saturday when his team clashed with Aston Villa but his thunder-bolt shot ricocheted on the cross-bar after he had seamlessly dribbled from the right flank. Aston Villa beat them 2-1.
Matchday 17 in the premier league ends on Monday with a top of the table clash between Manchester United and Arsenal which features Alexandre Song Billong from Cameroon.
Song has not been called to defend his country’s colours since the World Cup in South Africa. Interestingly he has also stopped wearing arm-bands bearing the colours of Cameroon’s flag which the likes of George Elokobi continue to do…