World Cup

Cameroon: World Cup team profile

A nation which has done so much to advance the cause of African football has fallen on hard times.

The Indomitable Lions need Eto'o at his best

If Samuel Eto’o can roll back the clock is his last major tournament, the Indomitable Lions have a shot at advancing to the knockout round. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

A nation which has done so much to advance the cause of African football has fallen on hard times. After failing to qualify for Germany 2006, Cameroon was the first team on the plane home in 2010 after losing every group game in South Africa.

The Indomitable Lions are missing the roar which saw them scale the heights of a memorable campaign at Italia ‘90. Few will forget the iconic goal dance of Roger Milla as Cameroon caused a sensation by reaching the quarter-finals. The modern day Lions are pussycats by comparison.   

The Star

Samuel Eto’o is not getting any younger. The four-time African Player of the Year is now 33 but he’s still banging in the goals for club and country. He’s not as quick as he used to be during his Barcelona heyday but Eto’o remains a very dangerous customer who needs no invitation to go for goal.

Road to Rio

Relatively straightforward for the Lions. They lost only one game in the process -- topping their group with four wins out of six. In the qualifying playoffs Cameroon was paired with Tunisia. The first leg ended goalless before Cameroon eased to a 4-1 victory in the decider with Jean Makoun scoring twice to put the outcome beyond doubt.

Fast Facts

  • World Cup Group: A
  • Nickname: The Indomitable Lions
  • Manager: Volker Finke
  • Captain: Samuel Eto’o
  • FIFA World Ranking: 56
  • Best World Cup Result: Quarter-finalists 1990
  • Qualification Method: Beat Tunisia 4-1 on aggregate in Qualifying playoff

How they Fared in 2010

Cameroon lost all three group games and was the first nation to be eliminated in South Africa. The Lions opened with a 1-0 loss to Japan, and never recovered -- going down 2-1 to both Denmark and the Netherlands. Cameroon was one of only two teams to leave South Africa with no points -- the other was North Korea.

Fixtures

Group A

  • Friday June 13 -- Mexico vs. Cameroon, Noon ET
  • Wednesday June 18 -- Cameroon vs. Croatia, 6 p.m. ET 
  • Monday June 23 -- Cameroon vs. Brazil, 4 p.m. ET

Outlook

It doesn’t look very encouraging. Cameroon is not the force it once was -- but if the Lions can get off to a quick start, there is hope. The opening game against Mexico is pivotal -- if Cameroon can avoid defeat in Natal there is something to build on. From there the hill gets progressively steeper. Croatia is technically a better team than the Africans and Brazil should be in full stride by the time the group finale rolls around.

But if Eto’o can roll back the clock is his last major tournament with help from Makoun and Barcelona midfielder Alex Song among others, there’s a chance the Lions could roar again.

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