Archive for May, 2014


The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon lost 1-2 to Paraguay in a pre-World Cup friendly on Thursday. Here are few things they may have learned from the game.

  1. Possession is Useless Without Penetration and Goals : Cameroon dominated possession in this game. The first half ended with the Lions having 65 percent of the ball. It was good to see the team work the ball from the back to the front, prioritising short passes instead of long hopeful balls to the front. For all of their possession, the Lions created  few scoring chances. The team lacked penetration. The build-up was slow, it allowed the Paraguayans to settle in a very defensive 4-4-2 which was tough to break down.  Cameroon lacked creativity to turn the possession to scoring chances. Ball possession is useless without pace, creativity, penetration and goals. Paraguay did not keep the ball for long periods but when they got it, they hit the Lions through swift counter-attacking raids.  They looked like scoring each time they got forward. The Lions must learn to translate domination into goal-scoring success.
  2. Choupo Moting seen during an Indomitable Lions' training camp i Senegal in March 2011

    Choupo Moting seen during an Indomitable Lions’ training camp i Senegal in March 2011

    Choupo-Moting Should be a Starter in Brazil: Football is a team sport but  individual talent never hides. The young Mainz forward, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, is clearly the most gifted player in the Cameroon squad after Samuel Eto’o. He’s got a good first touch, dribbles with elegance, has an eye for a defence splitting pass and…he can score. In the 4-3-3 formation preferred by Cameroon’s head coach – Choupo-Moting can play as a wide  forward (left or right) or as the main striker. He is even better as the withdrawn forward behind the main striker in a 4-2-3-1.  He changed the game when coach Volker Finke brought him on as a substitute.  His determination earned him a goal (he also scored in Cameroon’s 2-0 win over Macedonia). He could have scored a brace versus Paraguay – if only Mohammadou Idrissou had not decided to take (then miss) the penalty Cameroon earned in the final minutes of the match.

  3. Idrissou Shouldn’t be in this Squad: No, it’s not about the missed penalty. Really, it isn’t. Anybody can miss a penalty. It is about the whole 90 minutes in which Idrissou contrived to show the world that he shouldn’t be part of this 28-man squad. He shouldn’t be anywhere near a 23-man squad to the World Cup. I know there are qualities that coaches see in players that fans can’t perceive, but really not this time. When he was younger and could run up and down the left flank – supporting the defence and injecting pace – even I used to attempt explanations about his role in the team. That pace has left him. He hasn’t got great technique  (never did) and he absolutely does nothing as a striker when playing for Cameroon. Volker Finke has to drop him.
  4. Who Else Earned a Place in Finke’s ‘to drop list’?: If the head coach had only that game against Paraguay to make a decision on his 23-man squad, then Raoul-Cedric Loe should be packing his bags to catch the next flight home.  He looked edgy, rash, too quick to tackle and often making the wrong pass. On the positive side, though, he dropped very nicely into a centre-back position to cover Matip or Nkoulou when they surged forward. He is young and has time to learn the ropes of his defensive midfield trade. Unfortunately, there are just too many players ahead of him in the pecking order for that role.
  5. Can Salli Sneak into the 23 for Brazil?:  In the first 45-minutes of the game, Edgar Salli looked out of his depth. He had the responsibility of providing a creative spark to a rather defensive midfield formation. It didn’t quite happen in that first half and he was looking like one of those to fall into Finke’s ‘to drop list’. Things changed in the second segment of the game. The boy came alive. He dribbled and took on opponents with confidence. He looked like the player who was the star performer in Cameroon’s under-20 squad that lost in the final of the African Cup in 2011. At the end of the game against Paraguay, Finke said he liked what he had seen from Salli. Is that enough to take the boy to Brazil?
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Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions, currently at a training camp in Austria, will fail to qualify for the knock-out stages of the World Cup in Brazil this year, according to statistical analysis by the New York-based bank Goldman Sachs.

Based on a regression analysis that uses the entire history of mandatory (official) international football matches—not including friendlies—since 1960, the financial institution attempted a prediction of all games in the tournament that kicks-off on 12 June 2014.

Cameroon will obtain two draws: 1-1 with Mexico and 1-1 with Croatia but will be thrashed 5-0 by Brazil in Group A of the competition, according to the model used in the fifth edition of The World Cup and EconomicsBrazil and Croatia will qualify to the knock-out phase while Cameroon and Mexico will return home.

Can goalkeeper Charles Itandje and co spring a surprise in Brazil and upset the Goldman Sachs predictions?

Can goalkeeper Charles Itandje and co spring a surprise in Brazil and upset the Goldman Sachs predictions?

The Goldman Sachs work  tips Brazil to win the trophy with Argentina and Germany next most favoured but much lower down in probability.  Brazil will be crowned World Champions for the sixth time after defeating their fierce Latin American rivals Argentina 3-1, as per the bankers’ model of the probability of success.

The World Cup and Economics was first released in 1998 ahead of the tournament hosted by France. It is a guide to the World Cup with an ‘unnatural mix of football and economics.’ For instance, the Goldman Sachs analysis makes interesting parallels between the state of Cameroon football and the country’s economy.

“The country, like its football team, has no shortage of raw talent and resources but has failed to generate a fundamental transformation while conditions were favourable,” the analysis said.

“The team will come up against the host nation in the first round and will not find it easy to get out of relatively tough Group A… Similarly, policymakers will have to address the economic weaknesses in an increasingly challenging global environment.”

In the meantime, the Indomitable Lions continue preparations ahead of the tournament with a friendly against Paraguay on 29 May in Austria. This follows a 2-0 win over Macedonia on 26 May. With the arrival of Benoit Assou-Ekotto on Wednesday, all 28 players drafted by the coach are now at their Austrian training base.

 Stephane Mbia (R) is a Europa League Champion. Is that enough to push  Cameroon's manager Volker Finke to play him in the  central midfield role he craves?

Stephane Mbia (R) is a Europa League Champion. Is that enough to push Cameroon’s manager Volker Finke to play him in the central midfield role he craves?

Cameroon’s Stephane Mbia scored in the penalty shoot-out that crowned his Spanish club Sevilla as this year’s winners of the Europa League.

Sevilla defeated Portuguese side Benfica on penalties 4-2 after both teams had finished 120-minutes of football tied at 0-0.

Mbia, the Cameroon international, who had scored the goal that enabled Sevilla to make it to the final, took a his penalty-shot masterfully.

This final caps a fine end to the season for the midfielder who had injury concerns after joining the Spanish club from English side Queen’s Park Rangers.

His performances have drawn plaudits from several Cameroonian soccer pundits who have called on the country’s coach to play Mbia ahead of Alex Song as Cameroon’s holding midfielder.

Mbia is in Cameroon’s provisional squad for the World Cup. He can play at right-back and in central defence but he feels his best position is central midfield. Will the Indomitable Lion’s coach,Volker Finke, play him there?

Cameroon’s head coach, Volker Finke, has named 28 players in his provisional squad for the World Cup to take place in Brazil in June, the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) said on Monday.

Apart from the inclusion of two players – Loic Feudjou and Cédric Djeugoue – who ply their trade in Cameroon’s top league, there are few surprises in the squad, which includes 16 players who were at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Youngsters Edgar Salli and Fabrice Olinga who have been on the fringes of the squad have a chance to show their worth before the final cast of 23 is named.

There is no space for veteran goalkeeper Idriss Carlos Kameni and England based defender Sebastien Bassong.

Here’s the 28-man squad and the two players on a standby list:

GoalKeepers

1. Charles Itanje

2. Guy-Roland Ndy Assembe

3. Sammy Ndjock

4. Loic Feudjou

Defenders

5. Allan Nyom

6. Dany Nounkeu

7. Cédric Djeugoue

8. Aurelien Chedjou

9. Nicolas Nkoulou

10. Guy-Armel Kana Biyick

11. Henri Bedimo

12. Benoît Assou Ekotto

13. Gaetang Bong

Midfielders

14. Eyong Enow Tarkang

15. Jean II Makoun

16. Joel Matip

17. Stéphane Mbia

18. Landry Nguemo

19. AlexandreSong

20. Cedric Loe

21. Edgar Sally

Fowards

22. Samuel Eto’o Fils

23. Eric Maxime Choupo Moting

24. Benjamin Moukandjo

25. Vincent AboubaKar

26. Achille Webo

27. Idrissou Mohamadou

28. Fabrice Olinga

Standby List

1. Zock (Cosmos Bafia)

2. Franck Banyack