Cameroon 2014 World Cup: Scout Report

Cameroon go into the summer with very low expectations with people in Africa considering them inferior to the other African nations, therefore to compete with the World’s best is going to be a tough task. They were once the best nation in Africa, but the emergence of the likes of Ghana and Ivory Coast has seen them drop off. Cameroon will take a lot of confidence from the revitalized Nigeria, who won the last African Cup of Nations, showing Cameroon that it is possible to return to the top of the African game.

cameroon world cup 2014

They are currently 50th in the Fifa rankings, therefore they will be one of the weaker propositions in Brazil. Some would consider them lucky to be at the World Cup after their loss in qualifying against Togo was overturned after their opponents fielded an illegible player. This certainly played a huge part in Cameroon’s qualification.

Although the nation has struggled in recent years, no team at the World Cup can be considered as a weak side. The World Cup is a highly pressurised environment, which makes tactics very important for every side, as it’s only natural sides will be tentative in games, especially early on. If Cameroon set up well and play to their strengths, they can make themselves very difficult to beat. This was shown by New Zealand at the last World Cup, nobody gave them any chance, but they managed to go unbeaten drawing all three group games and Cameroon have better attackers than they did. The most important thing for Cameroon is that they have a strong base and concede few goals, as they don’t have the strike force to score goals aplenty.

Their last friendly against Portugal suggested they may struggle against the better sides in the competition, as they were decimated 5-1 after going in at half time level. This has brought about great concerns that Cameroon could be blown away this summer, which is the last thing they need as they are slowly starting to build a new side. Although many will be looking at the next African Cup of Nations, this summer provides a great chance for them to gain experience as a side and maybe cause a shock or two.

Strengths

Cameroon’s main strength is their defence, which is very odd for an African nation, who are normally well known for their entertaining attackers. However the base of Nicolas N’Koulou and Aurelien Chedjou is very formidable, with their partnership having the potential to being a huge thorn in the sides of Cameroon’s opponents this summer. The former is considered as one of the best young defenders in Europe and he may see the World Cup as his chance of securing a move to one of the bigger leagues, with Premier League interest being reported in the past.

After a disappointing spell at Anfield, Charles Itandje has become the national side’s number one and he is considered as one of the best African goalkeepers around. In the World Cup play off against Tunisia, he made several key saves, showing that Cameroon could rely on him to make important stops if required.

It’s difficult to ignore Samuel Eto’o when you talk about Cameroon as the striker has been a key player for the national side for years and he has shown for Chelsea this season that he still has the quality to perform at the highest level. This could be his last World Cup and he will be keen to make an impact. Cameroon will likely be playing backs to the walls football, therefore they will need Eto’o to score when he gets the chances. He has shown at Stamford Bridge that he still possesses composure and quality in front of goal, Cameroon will be relying on that in Group A.

Weaknesses

They are over reliant on Eto’o, which is a worry considering the striker is ageing and may struggle to keep his performance up in a tournament. Their group is tough and their lack of goals will be their Achilles heel, as they can’t expect to get through purely due to their strong defence.

Cameroon’s lack of creativity will also be a worry, as they lack any quality wingers or attacking midfielders which you come to expect from an African nation. Teams from Africa normally play attacking football with lots of pace and skill, but Cameroon are the opposite. It may prove to be a positive, as they will not concede as many goals, but the traditional African style of play normally causes sides from other continents lots of problems. The approach of Cameroon may make them easier to play against than the other African nations in Brazil.

Manager

Volker Finke was appointed as Cameroon manager in May 2013 and managed to oversee their successful qualification for Brazil. He was very successful while manager of Freiburg and is now taking his experience into international football. He has introduced a 4-3-3 formation and he wants his side to play a possession based style, but this will be difficult when they come up against Brazil and Croatia in particular, both of whom have impressive midfields. The German has certainly improved Cameroon, but it’s unlikely to be enough to get out of the group.

World Cup History

Cameroon have been a fixture in recent World Cups, but they have yet to make a real impact in the competition. Their best performance was during Italia 90, in which they reached the quarter finals, but they have failed to reach the knockout rounds since.

Key Player

Alex Song will be key for Cameroon this summer in the centre of the park as he has to compete against the talented midfields of Brazil and Croatia. He has the ability to break up play, retain possession and create chances for the attackers. The midfielder may have failed to break into the Barcelona side, but he will have improved as a player and he will need to bring the Barca style to his midfield performances this summer. If he manages to replicate his form for Arsenal during his final season at the Emirates, Cameroon may have a chance of getting through to the knockout stages, it’s a big if though.

Verdict

It was always going to be tough for Cameroon this summer and the draw hasn’t made it any easier. They will see this summer as an opportunity to gain experience at the highest level, while working on the team philosophy. Sometimes it’s easier to do well when the pressure is off you and that is certainly the case for Cameroon in Brazil. I think they have a chance against Mexico, but the other two sides will be too good for the African nation.

Prediction: Group Stage – Making Up The Numbers

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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