After watching the thumping of the Cameroonian team by an excellent or realistic Portuguese team, Finke (the Cameroonian manager) still has a lot to do to call the Cameroonian team a team. One thing comes to mind when you watch Cameroon play. They are very slow in developing their play especially from the midfield to the attacking line. Some of the players running the animation of the game are slow in developing a fast pace game or just do not know when to release the ball fast enough. Some players not only carry or hold on the ball too long, but also seem to reluctantly try to speed things up when they have the ball. As a whole, the team had lots of issues. Let us go straight to the points and address the blatant issues noticed during thumping.
Nkoulou on the first goal was caught napping when Ronaldo mesmerized him to score the first goal. The man marking problem started right from the Cameroonian half all the way to the top of the Cameroonian 18 meter box. Replacing Nkoulou was logical because this was one of those games Mr. Nkoulou himself would love to forget and forget really fast. Nkoulou needs to work on his man marking skills and closing up attackers because he is lacking when it comes to these two skills.
Benoit Assou Ekotto was caught several times not man marking or closing up/out attackers. His defending left or gave room to the attackers to do what they wanted with the ball or free themselves up to be picked by an intelligent pass for the opponent.
Daniel Noukou, Joel Matip, Kana and Chedjou can also learn a thing or two from the comments above. Standing relatively close to a player or between two players is not man marking. You will either get exposed or get your team makes exposed.
Lack of concentration
The first person to suffer from this problem and has shown that four years of experience has absolutely not helped him is Aurelien Chedjou. He gave a golden pass to an attacker who wasted no time to punish the Cameroonian team and goal keeper who was also caught out of position after giving initially giving a pass to Chedjou. At this very competitive level, the blatant lack of concentration by Chedjou is mind boggling even leading up to the third goal when he was caught out of position.
During the first minutes of the game, Eto’o suffered from some poor passing and this lapse nearly led to a goal. At this stage and taking into consideration his level and experience, more is expected from him all through 90 minutes. He eventually showed what he was capable of doing later on during course of the game.
Alex Song arguably had an average game and could have done better if he kept it simple and released the ball fast enough.
The Cameroonian defense as a whole lacks maturity. After taking the second goal and still suffering from the shock of the lazy, tired or careless pass made by Chedjou, the Cameroonian defense could not contain the Portuguese team for a minute after taking in a goal. The Portuguese team took advantage of this lapse in concentration and scored a third goal within a minute. The whole team had visibly not recovered from the second goal, when they let in the third. At this level and playing for the national team of your country, this lack of concentration is not acceptable.
It is absolutely true that coaches do not play games but at times what they do can change the course of the game by winning it or losing it for the team. Volk Finke game plan was very good and Cameroon played the game with no complexes. The passing was good and the ball movement was nice to watch. Most of the passing was either backward or sideways with arguably a few passes forward. Moving the ball or passing forward will help score more goals. Some players also dribbled when it was not necessary, which slowed the pace of the game. The coach visibly did little or nothing to change or speed up the pace of this game.
Taking out Nkoulou, Chedjou, and Makoun out of the game was prove that, the coaching staff read the game and well. The coaching staff also showed some lapse in judgement. Bedimo could have gone in for Ekotto who at times made poor choices when moving the ball forward. Moving Eto’o as center forward did not help at all. Eto’o was isolated and had to drop to get the ball or make his presence felt. Moving him as a forward took him out of the game for a good while.
When Charles Itanji got injured, television cameras caught a verbal fight between the team doctor and Charles Itanji. The medical doctor made the call to replace Itanji who instantly in disgust ruled the medical staff out. Was it poor diagnostics or lack of communication with his goalkeeper on the gravity of his injury? The answer surely lies between Itanji and the team doctor.
Finke should be reminded that, if he was a Cameroonain, he would be reporting to the unemployment office when he arrives Cameroon after this defeat. His side’s performance and results is slowly but surely giving credibility to his critics especially Roger Milla. A lot more is expected from him and his coaching staff.
After watching the game against Portugal, most observers would agree that Charles Itanji is the undisputed number one keeper going forward. Assembe was a disaster to watch and we all hope he can recover. He brought back old memories of the good old Kameni with the four goals he took.
The positive side of the debacle.
Prof. Owona by picking up the tab for the supporters in Portugal, was a nice gesture from him or the Normalization Committee. The supporters highly appreciated this gesture and paid back in full with all the noise they made.
The first half of the game was relatively positive with Cameroon coming out of it with a draw and some excellent saves from Itanji the goal keeper.
Eyong Enoh, Aboubakar Vincent, Charles Itanji and Alain Nyoum came to play and played well. They played the game as if they were out on a mission and played like hungry lions from start to finish. They stepped up their game and should receive an honorary mention for their efforts on the field. The rest of the team must take a leave from their play and attitude books on the field of play and step up to these players’ plates or tempo if Cameroon wants to make something out of the upcoming world cup.
If you did not watch the game, here is a link for you from ESPN360.com. Watch the game and let us know what you think in the comment section: