By Basil Afoni
With Finke’s contract due to expire on May 24, 2015, and the possibility that the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT, will not extend his contract, an Italian and two French tacticians have been shortlisted to replace the German.
Volker Finke seems to be on his way out of the Lions’ den after two disastrous outings with the Lions. Firstly, the team put up a poor performance during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the 2015 AFCON debacle in Equatorial Guinea.
Italian Giovanni Trapattoni Giuseppe Luciano, French born Luis Miguel Fernandez Toledo and Frédéric Antonetti are scrambling to replace Finke. However, Antonetti has been tipped as the favourite for the job.
Indomitable Lions’ captain, Stéphane Mbia is backing Finke to stay. In an interview with RFI, Mbia said: “For me, it is obvious. After the failure at the World Cup, Cameroon embarked on a reconstruction plan. It went through a change of mentality and the renewal of the workforce to 95 percent. I totally agree with the idea that Finke should continue with the group he is creating. We must remember that we lost only one game during the 2015 AFCON against Ivory Coast, the tournament’s winner. For me it is obvious that he continues.”
With Cameroon due to host the 2019 AFCON, the selection of a coach to lead the Lions will be a difficult task because whoever becomes coach, he will be expected to win the competition on home soil.
The Credentials Of The Trio
As search for a new coach intensify, The Post looks at the credentials of those who have already declared their intentions to take over the Indomitable Lions’ hot seat amongst them are;
Giovanni Trapattoni Giuseppe Luciano
The 76-years-old Italian has coached and enjoyed successes with some top European clubs like AC Milan, Juventus, Bayern Munich and the Republic of Ireland. He is a master of the 1-4-4-2 permutation which has won so many titles in Europe.
Trap as he is fondly called is one of the most celebrated managers in football history. He is one of only five coaches (Ernst Happel, José Mourinho, Bela Guttmann, and Tomislav Ivic) to have won 10 league titles in four different countries (Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Austria) and the fourth coach in the world to have won the most international competitions, second best coach in Europe with seven titles in eight finals, including the Intercontinental Cup final (six titles in seven finals with Juventus). Trap is the only coach to have won all three major European club titles and the only Coach to have won all UEFA club competitions and the World Club title. He is the record holder of three UEFA Cups.
Trap brought a bottle of holy water during 2002 FIFA World Cup games when he was in charge of the Italian national team. However, his high salary demand and his unwillingness to stay in Cameroon might make it difficult for him to be given the job.
Luis Miguel Fernandez Toledo
Born in Spain, the 55-year-old Fernández naturalised as a French citizen in 1981.He has managed AS Cannes, Real Betis, Espanyol, Athletico Bilbao and Paris Saint-Germain among other clubs.
Fernández is credited for bringing Ronaldinho to Europe. At the end of the 1993–1994 season, he won the Best Trainer Award of League I on grounds of alluring philosophy of offensive tactics with the use of young players. He won five titles with Paris Saint-Germain and also helped Athletico Bilbao emerged as runners up in La Liga during 1998 season. He is currently a sport radio talk host.
Fernández’s aggressiveness and tactics has always been emulated and his knowledge of football would be a major asset to the Indomitable Lions. The Former French international and winner of the European Cup in 1984 will be looking forward to taking over from Finke, a job which he once applied but was never given the opportunity to manage the team.
Antonetti is the least known of all the three candidates, but might yet be seen as Finke’s potential successor.
The 53-year-old French manager started his coaching career in 1994 with Bastia in France. He is a talkative, hard worker and has a well-proven knowledge of professional football, first as a player and as a coach. He has coached in Saint-Etienne, Bastia, Rennes and Gamba Osaka (where he coached former Indomitable Lions’ goal merchant, Patrick Mboma in 1999.
He has played three finals of the French League Cup in 1995 (Bastia), 2013 (Rennes), 2006 (Nice). In 2004, he won the French League II with Saint-Etienne and catapulted the team into League I.