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I congratulate Embolo, we are brothers, says Song



In Doha

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song has said he has no ill feelings towards Swiss striker Breel Embolo, whose lone strike in the second half handed Switzerland victory in their Group “F” match at the Al Janoub Stadium on Thursday.

The Yaounde-born Embolo neatly timed his run into the box to slam the ball home and was a thorn in the flesh of the Cameroonian defence all afternoon.

The 24-year-old AS Monaco striker did not celebrate his goal, his first at the World Cup, obviously in respect to his land of birth.

Song, the gentleman that he is, was seen chatting with the young Cameroonian turned Swiss after the match.

What did he tell the Switzerland front-runner?

“We know each other. He is like my little brother, We are the same family playing in different teams. I went to congratulate him for playing well,” Song said after the match.

“I am happy for him and proud of him. I would have wanted him on my side but that is the way of life.”

Embolo is one of several players of African descent, who have shifted their allegiance.

Other examples include, young German forward Youssoufa Moukoko, who was also born in Yaoundé and Alphonso Davies, the star in the Canadian team, who was born in Ghana but has Liberian roots.

Song, who played in four World Cups, said he had expected more from his players.

“We were in control and we had goal scoring opportunities. It completely threw us off when we conceded the goal. You need to put the ball in the net. We showed we were hungry for the win. We were missing the finishing touch,” the ex-international defender said.

Song had bristled with irritation when he was asked at the pre-match press conference  a day earlier if he thought they would beat higher ranked Switzerland.

“If rankings were used to decide which teams won and which ones lost then there would be no need of playing,” he said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

He then added that they would show their quality on the pitch.

On the evidence of their performance and that of other African teams in their first round matches it is not difficult to imagine that they will suffer the same fate of 2018 Russia where none made it out of the group stage.

A lot had been said about the personnel in the Cameroonian team with striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, coming into the tournament in fine club form with German giants Bayern Munich.

The Lions also featured the well-spoken of Napoli midfielder Andre-Frank Ambo Anguissa, but the inexperience in the team told.

The Cameroonians next face Serbia on Monday in a group that also has tournament favourites Brazil, and must win to stand a chance of making out of the group for the second time in history.

The stadium was surprisingly not filled to capacity considering that tickets were some of the lowest priced ones at 100 euros. The official attendance figure was 39,089 against the stadium’s capacity of 44,325.

No matter, Cameroonian and Swiss fans turned up in raucous style.

An interesting observation was the presence of numerous Indians and even Mexicans in their famous sombreros, carrying Cameroonian flags and screaming their support for the former African champions.

Genuine supporters or hired fans? You be the judge.

On Friday, Senegal may need a lot of support from the stands when they tackle hosts Qatar in their second Group “A” match at Al Thumama Stadium from 4pm.

Both nations lost their opening matches and must get a result to stand a chance of qualifying for the round of 16.

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