Richard Towa remembers how injury prevented him from turning out for Cameroon in the 1990 FIFA World Cup

The former Cameroon defender could have been part of the Cameroon team that defeated Argentina in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup. Towa, who is now coach of I-League team Gokulam Kerala, believes Senegal from among the African nations can do well at the World Cup in Qatar.

Richard Towa is impressed by what he has seen of Indian football at the I-League and the ISL.

Richard Towa is impressed by what he has seen of Indian football at the I-League and the ISL. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The former Cameroon defender could have been part of the Cameroon team that defeated Argentina in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup. Towa, who is now coach of I-League team Gokulam Kerala, believes Senegal from among the African nations can do well at the World Cup in Qatar.

The 1990 Football World Cup had got off to a sensational start with defending champion Argentina losing to Cameroon. Richard Towa wasn’t there at the San Siro Stadium in Milan when the African nation shocked the world. He could have been, if he hadn’t picked up a knee injury.

More than three decades later, and with the kick-off of the World Cup in Qatar just a couple of days away, Towa recalls he was injured during a friendly international two weeks before the tournament kicked off in Italy.

“I was part of the team that played the qualifiers,” the former defender who is now in charge of Gokulam Kerala tells Sportstar. “I was very much looking forward to playing for Cameroon at the World Cup, along with the likes of Roger Milla, who was a wonderful striker. We played together during the preparation. He was 38 at the time and he used to be even better when he was younger. He was a bit like Samuel Eto’o and more talented.”

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Milla was one of the main reasons why Cameroon went as far as the quarterfinals, where it lost to England in extra time. Towa, who played 25 internationals, isn’t expecting his country to replicate the success it had in 1990, but he feels another African nation, Senegal, could do well.

Towa picks Serbia as a dark horse and thinks it would be a well-contested World Cup. “France, Germany, Brazil, Belgium and England are very good,” he says.

Towa is glad that Gokulam got off to a winning start at the I-League. It had beaten Mohammedan Sporting, the runner-up last year, 1-0 at Manjeri. It then went on to beat Aizawl 1-0, away. “It was important for us to win our first game, that too against such a strong side,” he says.

From what he has seen of Indian football, at the I-League and the ISL, he is impressed. “India has very good young talent,” he says. “But tactically, they could do better.”

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