Tag Archive: Stephane Mbia


Cameroon Start Against Ivory Coast With Team that Beat Congo

When Cameroon take on Cote d’Ivoire in an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2015 qualifier this Wednesday afternoon in Yaounde, they will be fielding the same eleven players that started in the country’s 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last Saturday.

This will see Fabrice Ondoa in goal, Nicolas Nkoulou and captain Stephane Mbia in central defence while the full-backs will be Oyongo Bitolo (on the left) and Jerome Guihota on the right.

Former vice-captain Enog Eyong will partner Georges Mandjeck in central midfield. Benjamin Moukandjo and Clinton Njie who scored the curtain-raiser in Lumumbashi will play on the flanks (often switching) while Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting will be an advanced midfielder cum play-maker and support behind the lone strker Vincent Abubakar.

Cote d’Ivoire to start with a very experienced squad including Yaya Toure of Manchester City and Gervais Yao (Gervinho).

Côte d’Ivoire : Barry – Bamba – Aurier – Kone Lamine – Boka Junior – Toure – Tiote – Akpa Akpro – Gradel – Gervais Yao – Wilfried Bony.

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As expected Cameroon went into their game with Mexico looking like a 4-3-3 on paper and setting up in a 4-5-1 formation on the pitch.

Cameroon defending a free-kick versus Mexico. Did their game plan show too much respect for Mexico?

Cameroon defending a free-kick versus Mexico. Did their game plan show too much respect for Mexico?

The starting eleven: Charles Itanje (GK); Cedric Djeugoue – Nicolas N’Koulou – Aurelien Chedjou – Benoit AssouEkotto; Stephane Mbia – Alex Song – Enoh Eyong; Benjamin Moukandjo -Samuel Eto’o – Eric ChoupoMoting.

Their plan involved playing with a high defensive line (catch the Mexicans on offside), allow them keep the ball but pressure and block the spaces. It kind of paid off as it conned the match officials twice (they disallowed to valid goals on the grounds of offside).

As expected the wide forwards/midfielders dropped very deep to keep up with the Mexican wing-backs to prevent them from overwhelming the Cameroon fullbacks. The challenge here is that they were always so deep that they looked like fullbacks. At which point Mexico’s 3-5-2 formation choked Cameroon.

With everyone hemmed in with the Cameroon half, only Samuel Eto’o was left in the forward line where he was scrutinized by the three centre backs at all times. It was therefore hard to break swiftly and when this happened there was no support for the lone striker.

In the second half the Mexicans increased interplay centrally and hit penetrative balls and runs through the centre and in behind Cameroon’s slow centrebacks. That’s how they scored their lone and game winning goal (1-0).

When Cameroon went a goal behind their manager Volker Finke had to make a decision to either:

1. Maintain shape and continue to contain the Mexicans
2. Change tactics and animation ie bring in a more direct forward and ask the team to wrest possession from the Mexicans in the way the Lions did when they went behind to Germany.

He chose option 1. This meant the team did not move into third gear until late in the game when Webo was fielded and Cameroon switched to 4-4-2. It was a little late in my opinion.  There was no punch, little movement while the build up was slow.

With The lions absolutely requiring a positive result versus Croatia to keep their hopes alive, will Finke take a more open option?

 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?