Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

11 November 2012

Cameroon: Lions Begin Training for Friendly With Albania

The Indomitable Lions will begin training today in Geneva ahead of the friendly match against Albania on Wednesday, November 14th. The players and the delegation from Cameroon converged yesterday evening in the Swiss capital, Geneva, the venue of the encounter against Albania.

The encounter is the first reunion of the Lions ever since the encounter against Cape Verde which saw Cameroon eliminated from the final phase 2013 Africa Cup of Nations to hold in South Africa. With the nation's cup out of their grasp, the Lions are aiming for a final round berth at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to salvage their honour.

The friendly against Albania falls within the framework of a series of friendly matches organised by the Cameroon football Federation to put in place a conquering squad that would represent Cameroon in both the qualifiers and the final round of the world football jamboree. Another friendly is announced during the next FIFA period for friendly matches on February 6th against the Harrambee Stars of Kenya at the Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi. Cameroon is in a precarious position in the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup where they occupy the third position with three points behind Libya in the first position on four points and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the second position with three points also but with the latter having a better goal difference than Cameroon. Togo is last in group I with barely one point.

It is worth mentioning that only the first team in each group qualifies for the third and last round qualifiers. There was therefore much interest generated by the list of 24 published by head coach, Jean Paul Akono to represent Cameroon in Geneva especially as pundits fail to find any given logic in Akono's choice of players. Neither the logic of performance or regeneration is tenable given that the squad includes old unimpressive players like Achille Webo and excludes young impressive talent like Overtoom. The absence of a discernible logic has raised doubts as to Akono's capacity to accomplish the task ahead, fanning wild rumours of manoeuvres by sports authorities to seek for a new coach to replace Akono.

However, this information has neither been refuted nor confirmed by the Minister of Sports and Physical Education. Sceptics qualify it as the figments of the imagination of Fecafoot officials who did not digest it well that they were side-lined from the organisation of the encounter against Cape Verde and want Akono's head to roll. They are said to have circulated rumours that Akono was on the pay roll of Samuel Eto'o and that the exclusion of certain players of the squad was due to extra-sportive reasons such as having differences with the captain or the coach. Whatever is the case, Akono is rolling on a knife's edge and every step of his will be watched very closely. Akono would gain by communicating rather than maintaining silence as he has done ever since the publication of the problematic list.

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