Team Profile: Cameroon
- Coach: Paul Le Guen
- Goalkeepers: Hamidou Souleymanou (Kayserispor/Turkey), Idriss Kameni (Espanyol/Spain), Guy Roland Ndy Assembe (Valenciennes/France)
- Defenders: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham/England), Sebastien Bassong (Tottenham/England), Gaetan Bong (Valenciennes/France), Aurelien Chedjou (Lille/France), Geremi (Ankaragucu/Turkey), Stephane Mbia (Marseille/France), Nicolas Nkoulou (Monaco/France), Rigobert Song (Trabzonspor/Turkey)
- Midfielders: Eyong Enoh (Ajax/Netherlands), Jean II Makoun (Lyon/France), Georges Mandjeck (Kaiserslautern/Germany), Joel Matip (Schalke/Germany), Landry Nguemo (Celtic/Scotland), Alexandre Song (Arsenal/England)
- Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Coton Sport), Eric Choupo-Moting (Nuremberg/Germany), Achille Emana (Betis/Spain), Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan/Italy), Mohamadou Idrissou (Freiburg/Germany), Achille Webo (Mallorca/Spain)
Style of play: French coach Paul Le Guen uses a standard 4-4-2 formation, but sometimes will go with a 4-5-1 set-up, going with one striker and adding another body in midfield. Alexandre Song acts as the midfield pivot, breaking up attacking play and launching his team forward. He will work in conjunction with Achille Emana to orchestrate the attack. They will try to lure defenders forward and create some open space in their opponents' half before feeding through balls to Samuel Eto'o. Alternatively, Eto'o will drop back a bit to receive the ball, thus giving him space to use his speed to take defenders on one-on-one and power towards the goal.
1st round matches:
- June 14 vs. Japan in Bloemfontein
- June 19 vs. Denmark in Pretoria
- June 24 vs. Netherlands in Cape Town
Projected starting lineup (4-4-2): GK) Idriss Kameni - (D) Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Stephane Mbia, Sebastien Bassong, Nicolas Nkoulou - (M) Alexandre Song, Eyong Enoh, Achille Emana, Georges Mandjeck - (F) Samuel Eto'o, Achille Webo
- Solid at both ends: Cameroon balances explosive offensive power (they bagged 23 goals in 12 qualifying games) with defensive strength (four goals against in the qualifiers).
- Experience: Cameroon can rely on several key players - Samuel Eto'o, Geremi, Rigobert Song and Idriss Kameni - who are national team veterans and who have vast experience playing at the top level in Europe.
- Support: Cameroon has always been a favourite of neutral fans, stemming from its fantastic showing at the 1990 World Cup in Italy when it reached the quarter-finals. Cameroon was also the first national team to visit and play in post-Apartheid South Africa, and can expect strong support from the locals in June.
- The Eto'o factor: Samuel Eto'o is one of the best strikers in the world, and he fuels the Cameroonian attack with his speed and goal-scoring ability. But the Indomitable Lions will be in big trouble if he gets injured or suspended because they don't have another striker they can rely on.
- Lack of depth: Cameroon can field a pretty strong starting line-up, but like most African teams competing at the World Cup, they lack genuine depth coming off the bench.
- Discipline: Cameroon is prone to running into trouble with the refs because too often their players pick up yellow cards and suspensions for their over-zealous and physical play.
Players to watch
- Achille Emana - A talented midfield playmaker who possesses a delicate touch on the ball. He can also be deployed as a defensive midfielder.
- Samuel Eto'o - Eto'o's devastating combination of speed and acceleration, and finishing prowess in front of goal has solidified his reputation as one of the top strikers in the world.
- Alexandre Song - Song is an example of delicate strength: opposing players find it hard outmuscling him but his touch on the ball is often gentle and patient. Moreover, his ability to win the ball then push it to his teammates is perfectly suited to Arsenal's offence.
Key injuries/squad omissions: Midfielder Daniel Ngom Kome was overlooked by coach Paul Le Guen. Striker Jacques Zoua missed out through injury. Le Guen cut another six names from his preliminary squad: Amour Patrick Tignyemb, Makadji Boukar, Jean Patrick Abouna Ndzana, Marcel Ndjeng, Patrick Mevoungou and Dorge Kouemaha.
Prognosis: First-round exit or second round. This is tough to call. Cameroon has enough quality players in its starting line-up to give any team trouble and progress out of the group stage. But the Indomitable Lions lack depth, and that could be their undoing in South Africa. The Netherlands should win Group E, so look for Cameroon to battle it out with Denmark for second place.
- Current FIFA ranking: #19
- Qualification route: Cameroon finished in first place in Group 1 (16 points) ahead of Cape Verde Islands (nine points) in the third round of the African qualifiers. In the final round, Cameroon (13 points) again finished first in Group 1 ahead of Gabon (nine points).
- Key to qualification: Balance at both ends of the field. Cameroon hardly put a foot wrong in the qualifiers, displaying awesome offensive prowess (23 goals scored) and solid defensive work (just four goals conceded). An overall team effort.
- Crucial result: World Cup qualification was secured with a 1-0 win in Morocco (Nov. 14, 2009, in Fes) but a 3-0 win over Togo (Oct. 10, 2009, in Yaounde) but Cameroon firmly in the driver's seat with one game remaining in the qualifiers.
- Qualifying record: 12 games played, 9 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss
- Goals for: 23
- Goals against: 4
- Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Samuel Eto'o (9)
Qualifying results: (home team listed first)
- May 31, 2008 - Cameroon 2, Cape Verde Islands 0
- June 8, 2008 - Mauritius 0, Cameroon 3
- June 14, 2008 - Tanzania 0, Cameroon 0
- June 21, 2008 - Cameroon 2, Tanzania 1
- Sept. 6, 2008 - Cape Verde Islands 1, Cameroon 2
- Oct. 11, 2008 - Cameroon 5, Mauritius 0
- March 28, 2009 - Togo 1, Cameroon 0
- June 7, 2009 - Cameroon 0, Morocco 0
- Sept. 5, 2009 - Gabon 0, Cameroon 2
- Sept. 9, 2009 - Cameroon 2, Gabon 1
- Oct. 10, 2009 - Cameroon 3, Togo
- Nov. 14, 2009 - Morocco 0, Cameroon 2
- Number of World Cup appearances: 5
- All-time record: 17 games played, 4 wins, 7 draws, 6 losses
- Goals for: 15
- Goals against: 29
- Biggest victory: 2-1 vs. Romania in 1990 and 2-1 vs. Colombia 1990
- Biggest defeat: 6-1 vs. Russia in 1994
- Top scorer: Roger Milla (5 goals)
- Most appearances: Francois Omam-Biyick (11 matches)
- Hosted the World Cup: Never
World Cup track record
- 1930 to 1966 - Did not enter
- 1970 to 1978 - Did not qualify
- 1982 - First round
- 1986 - Did not qualify
- 1990 - Quarter-finals
- 1994 to 2002 - First round
- 2006 - Did not qualify
- FIFA member since: 1964
- Team nickname: The Indomitable Lions
- All-time caps leader: Rigobert Song (133)
- All-time leading scorer: Samuel Eto'o (44)
- African Cup of Nations Champions: 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002
- African Youth Champions: 1995
- Olympic Gold Medal: 2000
- Roger Milla: An icon of African soccer, Milla was a major star at the 1990 World Cup, scoring four goals and helping Cameroon become the first African nation to reach the quarter-finals. Milla became the oldest player to score in the tournament at age 42 when he found the back of the net against Russia at the 1994 World Cup.
- Thomas N'Kono: N'Kono was one of the best goalkeepers at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, holding Peru, eventual winners Italy and semi-finalists Poland to draws in the first round. N'Kono was named African Player of the Year in 1979 and 1982.