After four months of inactivity, the Indomitable Lions will resume duty today with a crucial match against Guinea Bissau counting for the preliminary round of the qualifying series for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations to take place in South Africa. It will be the first official duty for the squad ever since they missed out on the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The last time the Lions were on duty was in November when they won the LG Africa Cup in Marrakech-Morocco.
Since then, so much water has gone under the bridge with the suspension of team captain, Samuel Eto’o and his vice, Eyong Enoh for inciting their team mates to boycott a friendly encounter against Algeria. As such, both players will not be part of the Bissau expedition. It will therefore be interesting to know what Cameroon can do without the prolific goal fetcher, Samuel Eto’o Fils, whose absence has been described by team coach, Denis Lavagne, as an opportunity for younger players to prove their mettle.
The forfeiture of Stephane Mbia at the defence and Benjamin Moukandjo on the attack, gives young players like Jean Armel Kana Biyik who is in his maiden selection and Salli Edgar, the opportunity to blossom. However, there is no room for error for the Indomitable Lions as missing a second Africa Cup of Nations in a row, will be a bitter pill for Cameroonians to swallow. Conscious of this, Coach Denis Lavagne said he has watched videos of the Guinea Bissau team and visited the country to be acquainted with the field of play. Guinea Bissau could therefore an easy walk over for the Lions given that they won only one match against Kenya in the qualifiers for the 2012 nation’s cup, occupying the last position in their group behind Angola, Uganda and Kenya.
The players regrouped in Paris on Sunday after taking part in their various championships and flew the following day to Bissau. There was one training session yesterday morning and later in the afternoon, the squad paid a reconnaissance visit to the stadium that will host the encounter. Of the 22 players called to camp, 19 honoured the rendezvous with Stephane Mbia and Moukandjo and absent because of injury. In order to avoid another Marrakech gate, the players were given their bonuses upon arrival. The Lions warmly welcomed by the Cameroonians in Guinea Bissau, are accompanied in the expedition by the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Adoum Garoua and the president of Fecafoot, Iya Mohamed.
Referee : GASSAMA BAKARY e Bakary, JAWO Dickory, Jawara MUSSA, Jallow MAUDO ( Gambia)
Cameroon starting 11:
Bedimo, Cheudjou, Nkoulou(Cap), Nyoum
Choupo, Aboubakar, Zoua
By Fred Vubem Toh