Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cameroon All-time 23 member team

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for Cameroon.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Cameroon 1990
Cameroon was best remembered for its "Cinderella" run during the 1990 World Cup Finals.  Roger Milla became a World Cup icon by scoring 4 goals as a 38 years old.  However, the Indomitable Lions actually put African football into the world map even before that.  Eight years earlier, they finished undefeated at the WC Finals in Spain.  They are also a major force in African football.  They won 4 African cup of Nations and qualified for every WC Finals since 1990, except in 2006.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.

Team
GK: Thomas N'Kono
He was among the best keepers from the 1980's and probably the most famous goalkeeper from Africa.  He played in three WC Finals.  Gianluigi Buffon was inspired by him and named his son Thomas after him.  He had a notable career with Espanyol.

GK: Joseph-Antoine Bell
He was voted African keeper of the Century ahead of teammate Thomas N'Kono.  He was also one of the best keepers in the 1980's.  His international career was limited by living in the same generation as N'Kono.  He was on three WC team, but only started his last WC Finals in 1994.  He played professionally mostly in France. 
Joseph-Antoine Bell
GK:  Jacques Songo'o
He was voted the 6th African best keeper of the Century behind Bell and N'Kono.  He appeared in over 200 games for Deportivo La Coruna and won Ricardo Zamora award for 1995-1996.  Although he was younger than Bell and N'Kono, his international career was limited by playing behind two of the best keepers in African history.  He was on the WC team in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002.  He only started at the WC Finals in 1998.

RB:  Lauren Etame Mayer
He was a part of Arsenal's "Invincibles", a title given to Arsenal's team that went undefeated team in the Premiership.  He was named PFA Team of the Year that season.  He won two African Cup of Nations. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Cameroon.

RB: André Kana-Biyik
François Omam-Biyik's brother.  He played in two WC Finals in 1990 and 1994.  He was remembered for receiving a red card in the upset win against Argentina at the opening game of WC 1990. He started a professional career in 1986 with Diamant Yaoundé. From 1988 to 1994 he played in France Ligue 1 with FC Metz and Le Havre AC.

CB/RB:  Rigobert Song
He was a key player for Cameroon since making his debut as a teenager.  He has played at a record eight Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and served as captain in five.  He went to four WC Finals from 1994 to 2010, missing the 2006.  He is Cameroon's cap record holder.  Song started his professional career with Metz and helped the club to win the Coupe de la Ligue in 1996. In 1998, he joined Salernitana. In January 1999, he left Italy to start successive stints with Liverpool, West Ham United and 1. FC Köln, Lens, Galatasaray, and Trabzonspor.

Rigobert Song


CB:  Emmanuel Kunde
He was a member of both 1982 and 1990 WC team.  He scored against England in the quarterfinal of the 1990 WC finals.  He won the 1984 and 1988 African Nations Cups. Kundé scored the winning goal in the 1988 African Nations Cup final against Nigeria with a penalty kick.[

CB: Raymond Kalla
Kalla earned 63 caps for Cameroon.  He played in three WC Finals: 1994, 1998 and 2002.  He played in three different countries.

CB: Stephen Tataw
He was the captain of the Indomitable Lions at the WC Finals in 1990 where they reached the quaterfinal. He was considered to be the Cameroonian defender ever.  At the club level, he played with Tonnerre Yaounde from 1988 to 1991, and for Olympic Mvolyé from 1992 to 1994. He then joined Japanese side Tosu Futures where many viewed him as the first African-born professional player in Japan.

LB: Pierre Wome
Wome is one of eleven players to have played in the top division in Italy, Spain, England and Germany.   He played for Brescia, Roma, Fulham, Bologna, RCD Espanyol, F.C. Internazionale Milano and SV Werder Bremen, FC Köln, etc.  He won consecutive African Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002 and the Olympic gold medal in 2000.

LB:  Benoît Assou-Ekotto
Capped 24 times, he was a member of Cameroon's WC team in 2010 and 2014.  He started his career with Lens.  He has played 7 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He also played for QPR, St. Etienne and Metz.  

DM: Alex Song
Alex Song's father died when he was young.  His cousin Rigobert brought him up as his second father. He started his career with Bastia. He played 5 seasons as a key player for Arsenal before transferring to Barcelona.   He played in two WC Finals in 2010 and 2014.
Alex Song

CM: Geremi Njitap
He played three seasons with Real Madrid, where he won two Champion' League titles in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002.  He also played for Newcastle United and Chelsea. He earned over 100 caps for Cameroon.
Geremi

CM:  Marc-Vivien Foe
He died of a heart-related issue during the semi-final of the Confederation Cup between Colombia and Cameroon in 2003.  He was a part of the WC team in 1994 and 2002.  He played professionally in France and England.

AM: Theophile Abega
Nicknamed "Doctor", he captained the Indomitable Lions and won the Africans' Nation Cup in 1984 as Cameroon's captain.  Abega played club football for Canon Yaoundé where he won the 1978 African Cup of Champions Clubs, 1980 African Cup of Champions Clubs and 1979 African Cup Winners' Cup titles as well as four Cameroonian championships and five Cameroonian Cups. Later in his career, he moved to France to play for Toulouse FC before finishing in Switzerland with Vevey

Theophile Abega

AM: Frédéric N'Doumbé
He played for Le Havre, Montpellier and AS Saint -Etienne in the 1960's. He won Ligue 1 titles.

FW:  Eugène N'Jo Léa
He left Cameroon for France to study in 1951.  He ended up playing for St. Etienne and other French clubs while maintaining his studies.  At St.Etienne, he won the Lique 1 title while finishing as the league second highest scorer.  He co-found the National Union of Professional Footballers in 1961.

  
ST: Samuel Mbappe Leppe
Nicknamed "Marshall".  He was a pioneer in Cameroon's football.  He led his club side Oryx Bellois Douala to win the first ever African Champions Cup in 1965.  He was the first real star player in Cameroon.
 
ST: Jean Manga Onguene
He was the 1980 African Footballer of the Year.  In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 year.  He spent his whole career at Canon Yaoundé in Cameroon.

ST: Patrick M'Boma
He helped the Indomitable Lions to win the Gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.  He won two African Cup of Nations: 2000 and 2002. This led him into winning the African Player of the Year Award in 2000.  He was at one point the all-time leading scorer for Cameroon.  He had played professionally in Japan, France, Italy, Libya and England.

ST: François Omam-Biyik
He became a national hero when he scored the goal that beat Argentina in the 1990 World Cup Finals.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in USA and France. He had success with different French clubs before moving to Marseille in the summer of 1992. He only played one match, and was transferred to Lens in October 1992. After a few years he continued his career in Mexico with Club América and Puebla F.C.,

ST: Roger Milla
He became an international star after he scored 4 goals at the WC Finals in 1990 as Cameroon reached the quarterfinal.  Many people credited Cameroon for putting African football on the map. Then, in 1994, he became the oldest goal-scorer in WC history when he scored against Russia.  he was voted the African Player of the Century.  He played professionally in France during his prime.

Roger Milla

ST: Samuel E'too 
E'too started his career with the academy of Real Madrid.  Helayter played with Mallorca. He was a part of the famous REM line at Barcelona where he won two Champions' league titles.   He moved to Inter Milan in 2009 and won a third Champions' league in 2009-2010.  He won the African Player of the Year award a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010.  

Samuel E'too
Honorable Mention
Carlos Kameni, Cyrille Makanak, Jean-Pierre Tokoto.

Squad Explanation
  • Cameroon was blessed with great keepers.  Carlos Kameni could easily make any of the other African All-time teams, but I could not find space for him.
  • Cyrille Makanaky did well at the WC in 1990, but his club career was less impressive than the other candidates.

Starting lineup





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