Samuel Eto’o, Mbuta Adongcho and Leonie Kweuke all scored for Cameroon when they beat Mauritius 5-0 but the most outstanding performer for the Indomitable Lions was Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting. He scored twice and tormented the opposing defenders for 90 minutes.
Choupo-Moting was the bright spot in a tedious first-half in which Cameroon could not break down the very defensive 4-5-1 (practically 4-6-0) formation built by the Mauritius coach.
Playing in a 4-2-3-1, as we had predicted, Cameroon were unable to start attacking moves from midfield as both central midfielders had difficulty being creative.
Head coach Javier Clemente would surely come under a barrage of criticism for choosing to play Alexandre Song and Eric Djemba at the same time.
His choice to go with Henri Bedimo, a defender (left full-back) as part the three players supporting the main striker also backfired as the Montpellier man could not deliver the creativity and penetration required. Bedimo was substituted at half-time and his replacement, Kweuke, scored barely three minutes into the second half.
By then, Clemente had moved Samuel Eto’o to the wide left position. The imposing Kweuke played as the sole front-man supported by the technically gifted Choupo-Moting. Eto’o dribbled with ease on the left and after a series of good moves with Choupo, the Anzhi striker made a superb pass for Mbuta Adongcho to score Cameroon’s second.
However, the Lions midfield remained cumbersome until Djemba was substituted for Landry N’Geumo who simply turned the game around with his movement, forward passes and energy. It is no surprise that the rest of Cameroon’s goals came after his inclusion. It had taken a while but Clemente finally realised that keeping N’Geumo on the bench was an error.
Choupo-Moting gave the crowd moments to cheer with dribbles, twists and turns which left the Mauritius defenders on the floor. He excelled in all forward positions – playing wide but also coming into the centre to make quick one-two passes that created scoring chances for the Lions.
We can’t read too much into this performance given that it was against football minnows like Mauritius but the coaches have to tailor the cast around him.
Mbuta Adongcho scored some points through his zeal and dynamism. He was willing to take up positions in the 18-yard box that put pressure on the islanders and it is no surprise that he scored twice (one seems to have been cancelled for a handball). But he was caught offside (on the wings!) on several occasions which betrays a certain lack of tactical and positional sense.
The Lions would be happy to have broken their barren patch but Cameroon should have scored more goals – given how weak the opponents were. Unfortunately, cohesion was a problem until the second-half. There were four changes from the game against Senegal, including two players who have not been in the squad for over a year.
The team was crying out for a friendly or two. It is shame that they can’t get one. They need it as part of the reconstruction effort ahead of the next qualifying campaign.
By the way, Senegal have already qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations as group winners after they beat the Democratic Republic of Congo 2-0 in Dakar.