Cameroon will be making their seventh appearance at a FIFA World Cup™. Nicknamed the Indomitable Lions, the West Africans first appeared at the 1982 edition in Spain. In 2014, the Cameroonians find themselves in Group A alongside Brazil, Croatia and Mexico. Cameroon graduated from the CAF qualification round with a total of 13 points out of six matches in their group which included Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo. It was to the advantage of the Cameroonian campaign that the Togolese were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player. In the finals of the continental qualifications, a two-legged play-off match saw Cameroon leave Tunisia with a goalless draw. Then in front of their home fans, the Indomitable Lions devoured an unsuspecting Tunisian team 4-1.
There is no other national team on the African continent that has enjoyed more trips to World Cup than Cameroon. In their first ever appearance, they exited the 1982 tournament in the group stages. That might look like nothing to write home about but they left Spain without having tasted defeat. The Indomitable Lions proved that they could back up their nickname and showed their prowess on the global stage at Italia 90. In the opening match they shocked World Cup holders Argentina courtesy of a Francois Omam-Biyik goal at the San Siro.
The indomitable spirit that saw Cameroon beat the-then world champions who boasted the likes of Diego Maradona, was the same spirit that pushed them all the way to the quarter-finals – the first African side to achieve this feat. This Cameroonian 1990 World Cup campaign was spearheaded by the majesty and finesse of the great Roger Milla, 38 at the time. Milla would pitch up for one last dance at USA 94 and become the oldest man to score a FIFA World Cup™ finals goal when he struck in a 6-1 reverse against Russia.
Camerooon have been relatively consistent in their appearances at the World Cup since their record breaking showing in Italy, having only missed out on the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany since. Sadly, for the West African nation, despite their consistency in appearances in the competition, the Indomitable Lions have not been able to replicate the heroics that saw them come within touching distance of World Cup glory to fulfill the African dream back in 1990. In all their subsequent campaigns, the Lions have found themselves on a plane back home at the conclusion of the group stages.
Having won the prestigious and highly coveted African Player of the Year award, on several occasions, perhaps the greatest known threat that the Cameroon contingent possess lies in none other than the trusted, Samuel Eto’o. However, his inclusion in Cameroon coach Finke Volker’s sides has been infrequent. The multiple accolade-winning Chelsea striker is likely to be called upon and expected to serve by leading his country once again in Brazil.
In the event of a mysterious absence of the prolific goal scoring machine, it should not be doubted that the Lions have the players available to compensate. In their arsenal, former Arsenal player, now Barcelona man, Alex Song is one of many internationally renowned stars whose presence on the pitch, in any jersey, is effective. Song, plus the likes of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Aurelien Chedjou are simple expressions of the dynamic nature of the Cameroonian style of play. The Cameroonian midfield ought not to be underestimated as the energy and intelligence of players like Stephane Mbia and Jean Makoun will be available in the creative engine of the team to ensure that every move forward is one with intent and bite. They will have their work cut out in 2014 though when they come up against host nation Brazil, Croatia and the Mexicans.