A mere roar isn’t enough

Strike force… Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar (right) challenges Caceres Vitor of Paraguay for the ball during a friendly match in the Austrian province of Tyrol recently. Aboubakar, along with Samuel Eto’o, will spearhead the Cameroon attack.-AP Strike force… Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar (right) challenges Caceres Vitor of Paraguay for the ball during a friendly match in the Austrian province of Tyrol recently. Aboubakar, along with Samuel Eto’o, will spearhead the Cameroon attack.

In 1990, when Cameroon made its run to the quarterfinals, beating defending champion Argentina on the way in the opening group match, it helped put African football on the world map. But since then, the journey has been difficult, with nothing but meek performances against its name.

So much of the motivation and inspiration for Volker Finke’s team needs to come from within, for, barring 1990, a look back will provide the Lions nothing.

Finke took charge in 2013 and has ever since deployed a 4-3-3 formation, occasionally switching to either 4-4-2 or 4-1-3-2. Regardless of the formations, some players are constants. Charles Itandje will most certainly be the first-choice goalkeeper.

Nicolas N’Koulou and Aurelien Chedjou appear to be the centre-back pairing, though the tall Joel Matip, the man in form over the last 12 months, will look to break it at some point.

The wingback positions will see some jostling for places. Left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto will face competition from Henri Bedimo, who has had an excellent season for Lyon, while on the right the choice has to be made between Allan Nyom and Dany Nounkeu.

However, Cameroon’s strength lies in the midfield and beyond. In all probability, Samuel Eto’o, despite his blow-hot-blow-cold relationship with his country’s footballing authorities, will lead the attack. Fears of a goal drought were calmed to an extent when he scored in his country’s 2-2 draw against Germany in a friendly, but worries remain, as it was only his fourth goal in three years.

Sharing the scoring burden of Eto’o will be Lorient’s impressive Vincent Aboubakar, who was one of the few positives in Cameroon’s 5-1 friendly loss to Portugal earlier this year. Barcelona’s Alex Song will don the lead midfielder’s role and in all fairness might prove to be more important than Eto’o in shaping the attack from the heart of the midfield.

Yet, even a round-of-16 place will be an achievement as Cameroon finds itself alongside Brazil, Croatia and Mexico. A dream opening against Mexico is a must.