DOUALA, Cameroon – Samuel Eto’o leads the way, and with him go Cameroon’s chances at the World Cup.
The Chelsea striker is the biggest star in a team with plenty of quality. But just being in a group with Brazil, Croatia and Mexico will make it tough for the Indomitable Lions to advance to the knockout round.
Here are five players to watch:
Four-time African player of the year Samuel Eto’o is at the twilight of his career but still capable of blistering performances.
Despite turning 33 in March, the Cameroon captain has a keen eye for goal and is shining week after week at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho’s guidance.
Eto’o, who has played in three World Cups and won three Champions League titles, has twice led Cameroon to victory at the African Cup of Nations and is the all-time leading scorer in the history of the competition with 18 goals.
Alexandre Song is not playing on a regular basis at Barcelona but remains a stalwart of the Cameroon team.
Renowned for his grit and bullish presence in midfield, the 26-year-old Song is a key player in coach Volker Finke’s squad.
Song can play either as a defensive or central midfielder and his pin-point passes and quick attacking pace are vital to Cameroon’s ambitions.
Many Premier League clubs have recently shown their interest in signing the former Arsenal midfielder and the way he’ll perform in Brazil could help him secure a big deal.
Tipped by many pundits as the future star of African football, 22-year-old Lorient centre forward Vincent Aboubakar is renowned for his athletic ability and outstanding skill, but his partnership with Eto’o has been disappointing so far.
Aboubakar, who has scored 12 goals so far this season in the French league, will take part in his second World Cup after an unconvincing display in South Africa four years ago.
From Thomas Nkono to Joseph-Antoine Bell and Carlos Idriss Kameni, Cameroon has a well-deserved reputation for producing top-class goalkeepers.
Charles Itandje is another.
The former Liverpool ‘keeper played a crucial role in Cameroon’s qualifying campaign, making a dozen decisive saves to deny Tunisia in the playoffs.
He will be the undisputed No. 1 for Cameroon in Brazil.
Often used as a winger, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting can also be a good cover for Samuel Eto’o if the Chelsea striker is unavailable through injury or suspension.
The Mainz striker, who had a poster of Eto’o on his bedroom wall as a child, has superb dribbling skills and can score from nearly all positions.
He recently showed his technical potential when he scored a spectacular goal with his heel against Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
By Divine Ntaryike