“The Indomitable Lions are back”; this is the slogan of Brazil2014 for the Cameroon national team.
From the slogan, it simply means that unless a Lion is dead and buried, it may still spring surprises.
Though the Indomitable Lions seem claw-less to ensnare their prey at the moment, they are likely to show a different face in Brazil.
The one time king of the jungle, the indomitable lions, would play Mexico in their first game, Croatia in the second and Brazil, top 20 football countries in the world.
Cameroonians are still worried about the readiness of the squad less than a month to the kick-off of Brazil2014 World Cup.
In a country where football is near to a religion, the about 20 million adherents seem less assured that the indomitable lions can make the country proud and the flag hoisted high on the Brazilian hills.
The uncertainty is found in the warm-up game gaffe against Portugal where the lions conceded a humiliating 5-1 defeat, thereby, casting doubts as to the readiness of the team for the world football jamboree.
Two faces of the group emerged, the first half with the team trying to stand up to the opponents and a second face of confusion and lack of concentration.
The German-born Cameroon coach, Volker Finke learnt a lot from the Portugal warm-up and would build on the experience to prepare the squad.
Former Fribourg coach now knows that, “To play 60 minutes is good but not enough as the players have to keep concentration for 90 minutes.”
Enoh Eyong Takang, Lion’s vice-captain, former Ajax player now in Turkish side Antalyaspor is aware that the friendly was a good preparatory match for the team with lots of positive things and areas to improve upon.
Watching the beautiful qualification match in which the Lions defeated Tunisia 4-1 rekindled hopes that the team had made an about turn from poor showing for good.
But, with poor results, many jump to attribute the woes of the national team to constant change of coaches.
Though this may be the case, the group however lacks cohesion, team spirit and solidarity despite having great players like Samuel Eto’o Fils.
Ranked 50th, Cameroon, the least favourite of the five African teams heading to the World Cup, is obliged to turn the tides and the training camp in Austria on May 21 is loaded with expectations.
Coming at the end of the European Championship, the nag is for the coach is to get the players to rest and train properly at the same time.
However, Fecafoot and the coach seem to focus more on making the training camp work.
Prof. Joseph Owona justifies the choice of Austria, “The team would be able to oxygenate in the Austrian Alps, well situated with all the facilities. That country is also host to big teams.
“This is a perfect atmosphere for the Lions to play friendly matches and for players to be physically fit on arrival in Brazil.”
The federation opted to go to Brazil two days to the start of the World Cup because they were technically advised players would cope better.
Finke is hopeful about the training camp. “It will provide a unique possibility to work together with the whole team for more than 10 days.
“Also, the training camp is a chance to improve on the tactical behavior as well as build a good team spirit”.
While in camp, Finke rates the first few days in Austria, thus, “This is a delicate phase of warm-up, the challenge is to ensure a quick rest for those who have already played more 50 matches and other less, these are the disparities that we to manage in the group”.
Enoh, former Mount Cameroon player, shares the same vision, “I hope as a team, we shall gain more and make a lot of progress on our tactical outlook”.
“The training camp would enhance my physical and enduring capacity, coupled with all the matches I have played this season; it would put me in great shape”.
The training in Austria runs to the warm-ups with Macedonia on May 26 and two days after with Paraguay.
While the aforementioned warm-ups would display the team’s readiness a third against Germany on June 1, plunges the Lions into the World Cup fever.
Experts believe the time allocated for the Austrian training camp may just be enough for the indomitable lions to go through the group stage and progressing to the next stage, would demand extra energy which many doubts is in store.
But, coming on June 7 to commune with the fans at the Amadou Ahidjo Stadium, in a farewell match against Moldova national team, the ancestor of Mfadena in Yaoundé would be evoked to stand by the lions.
A farewell game in front of the fans would give the team the extra- energy needed to start the World Cup and forge ahead.
The Lions are therefore lacing their boots in readiness for Brazil 2014.