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It’s like winning the World Cup, Indomitable Lions wow Cameroon fans



Cameroon national team has won the hearts of supporters following their 1-0 win over world’s top-ranked football nation, Brazil in their final Group ‘G’ game of the ongoing 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar on Friday night at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.

Despite the historic win, the five-time African champions failed to qualify for the knock out stages after Switzerland edged Serbia 3-2 to advance alongside leaders Brazil. 

Captain Vincent Aboubakar headed in a cross from Jerome Ngom Mbekeli to give Cameroon the lone goal in the 92nd minute before being shown a second yellow card for removing his shirt in wild celebrations.

It was Cameroon’s first win at the global tournament in 20 years.

Fans have hugely applauded the team for pulling four points from a very difficult group that featured the world’s top ranked football nation – even equating the victory over Brazil to winning the trophy.

A group of local veteran football players from the Wimbum Keep Fit (WIKEEF) club joined other fans and supporters of the Cameroon team to watch the match at a drinking spot in the Etoug-Ebe neighborhood in the Yaounde VI municipality Friday night. Most of them remained confident even during half time that Cameroon was going to win. 

“The team is putting a lot of effort and if they continue like that they will score and win the match,” confident supporter, Melnova Ali told Nation Sport at half time with the game still 0-0.

When Aboubakar scored the lone and winning goal in the 92nd minute, Ali like many other fans was on his feet, singing and dancing in wild celebration.

“I told you Cameroon was going to score, I hope you have seen,” he told this reporter before adding that: “The coach did well to field Jerome Ngom Mbekeli, a local player called to the team and the player proved his worth by giving the decisive pass that Aboubakar scored for Cameroon.”

Timely changes

Coach Rigobert Song made changes to the team played the first two group games losing 0-1 to Switzerland and drawing 3-3 with Serbia.

The Cameroon legend reshuffled the defence line bringing Wooh Christopher and Enzo Ebosse and pulling back Choupo Moting to central attacking midfield behind Aboubakar who was the lone striker.

“The changes are what people have been advocating and you see the results,” said Godlove Nfor another footballer from WIKEEF. He said though the team has not qualified for Round of 16, the performance was great.

“The gods of football were with us but qualification was not on our side. Our national team displayed a better performance than in previous matches. Even though we are coming back (to Cameroon), we are leaving the tournament shoulders high,” Nfor said.

For Dieudonne Tantoh, another fan, the victory against Brazil is equivalent to winning the trophy.

“Defeating Brazil to me is like winning the trophy. So even if we have not qualified for the next round, in our minds we have won the trophy,” he said.

Notwithstanding the joy of beating Brazil, mistakes in the Cameroon camp that cost them a place in the last 16 may not go away any time soon.

Tactical approach

The Indomitable Lions lost their World Cup opening game 0-1 to Switzerland playing with first choice goalkeeper, Inter Milan’s Andre Onana, a defeat many blamed on defensive errors. The goalkeeper was excluded from the second match where the team pulled a 3-3 draw with Serbia and eventually kicked out of the squad following disagreement with the coach.

Besides insisting on maintaining his sweeper-keeper goalkeeping style instead of “traditional goalkeeping” style which the coach wanted, Onana also raised concerns over the central defence.

“There may be a point of indiscipline, but I think Onana had a point. Onana to an extent was right. If we could think of these changes in previous matches, we would not have been talking about this same story today,” Nfor said.

Ali also agrees. “Maybe Onana approached the coach the wrong way but if it is true that his argument was about the changes at the defence, then he had a point. I think Onana has his place as goalkeeper in the Cameroon national team,” Ali said.

Tantoh is not indifferent. “From what we have read especially on the social media, I think Andre Onana was right about his suggestions because we have seen the results of the changes made in the game against Brazil,” he said.

Saudi Arabia-based custodian Epassy Devis who was regarded as an open basket put up a sterling performance, emerging Man of the Match in Friday night’s encounter with Brazil however.

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