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Cameroon: Olympic Champions and possible favourites?

Cameroon's soccer player Lauren Etame celebrates second goal against Chile during the Olympic semifinal match, September 26, 2000. Cameroon beat Chile 2-1 and avanced for the final.
Photo: Jose Miguel Gomez, Reuters
The perspectives for Cameroon's future cannot be assessed highly enough, if measured against their almost perfect record in 2000. At the beginning of the year they landed a major success in defeating local rivals Nigeria in the final of the African Cup at Lagos National Stadium. Although their victory was achieved only after a penalty shoot-out, this did nothing to dampen the celebrations of the "Indomitable Lions", now re-awakened after years in the doldrums. And with two wins and six goals they have also notched up a dream start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Cameroons Patrick Mboma (L) gets to the ball ahead of USA's Danny Califf during their men's Sydney 2000 Olympic Soccer match.
Photo: Simon Baker, Reuters
At the Olympic football tournament in September the "Comeback Kings", as an Australian newspaper dubbed them, proved to be veritable experts of survival. First they overcame the shock of a Brazilian equaliser in injury time of their quarter-final by hitting back with a Golden Goal shortly afterwards. In the semi-final Cameroon looked to be on their way out after an own goal just before the end until Mboma, Africa's Footballer of the Year in 2000, and Etame Mayer turned the tables to book a place in the final. And a two-goal lead in Stadium Australia was not enough for Spain to win, either. To cap it all, even world champions France, playing at home, were forced to pay tribute to Cameroon's technical and athletic ability.

Cameroon's soccer players celebrate the second goal of Lauren Etame during the Olympic semifinal match played on September 26, 2000. Cameroon beat Chile 2-1 and avanced for the final.
Photo: Jose Miguel Gomez, Reuters
Cameroon's run of success stands out for a number of reasons. On the one hand they possess a lot of young talent. At least half the African Championship winning side also played at the Olympics. And in Olympic coach Jean-Paul Akono a local manager has been entrusted with leading the national side to new heights. If he fails, it will not be down to his squad, because there will not be many better at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2001. The contrasting front pairing of Samuel Eto'o (Real Mallorca, 20) and Patrick Mboma (Parma, 31) are capable of putting the fear of God into any defence. In Geremi (Real Madrid) and Lauren Etame Mayer (Arsenal) the squad also includes two prominent figures with current experience of playing in the UEFA Champions League, and goalkeeper Idriss Carlos Kameni of Le Havre, at just 17 years of age, is one of the most spectacular in the business despite (or precisely because of?) his tender years.

Pos   Popular Name   Shirt Name Club D.O.B.
[ 1]   GK   ALIOUM Boukar   ALIOUM B   Samsunspor (TUR) 03-Jan-72
[ 2]   DF   TCHATO Bill   TCHATO B   Montpellier (FRA) 14-May-75
[ 3]   DF   WOME Pierre   WOME NLEND   Bologna (ITA) 26-Mar-79
[ 4]   DF   SONG Rigobert   SONG GAHANAG   West Ham Utd. (ENG) 01-Jul-76
[ 5]   DF   KALLA Raymond   KALLA R   Extremadura (ESP) 22-Apr-75
[ 6]   DF   NJANKA Pierre   NJANKA P   Strasbourg (FRA) 15-Mar-75
[ 7]   MF   TCHOUTANG Bernard   TCHOUTANG B   Roda Kerkrade (NED) 02-Sep-76
[ 8]   MF   NJITAP Geremi   NJITAP FOTSO   Real Madrid (ESP) 20-Dec-78
[ 9]   FW   ETOO Samuel   ETOO FILS   Real Mallorca (ESP) 10-Mar-81
[10]   FW   MBOMA Patrick   MBOMA DEM   Parma (ITA) 15-Nov-70
[11]   MF   ETAME Lauren   ETAME MAYER   Arsenal (ENG) 19-Jan-77
[12]   GK   SONGOO Jacques   SONGOO   Deportivo La Coruna (ESP) 17-Mar-64
[13]   DF   NTIECHE Daniel   NTIECHE   Sable Batie 24-Jan-82
[14]   MF   EPALLE Joel   EPALLE J   Panahaiki (GRE) 20-Feb-78
[15]   MF   ALNOUDJI Nicolas   ALNOUDJI N   Rizespor (TUR) 09-Dec-79
[16]   DF   TCHATCHOUA Olivier   TCHATCHOUA O   Sable Batie 04-Apr-82
[17]   MF   FOE Marc Vivien   FOE   Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 01-May-75
[18]   FW   NDIEFI Pius   NDIEFI   Sedan 07-May-75
[19]   DF   PENSEE Michel   PENSEE BILONG   Anji Makhachkala (RUS) 16-Jun-73
[20]   MF   OLEMBE Salomon   OLEMBE S   Nantes (FRA) 08-Dec-80
[21]   FW   JOB Joseph Desire   JOB   Middlesbrough (ENG) 01-Dec-77
[22]   MF   NGOM KOME Daniel   DANIEL   Levante (ESP) 19-May-80
[23]   GK   KAMENI Idriss   KAMENI I   Le Havre (FRA) 18-Feb-84
 x-Japan 3 2 1 0 5:0 7
 x-Brazil 3 1 2 0 2:0 5
 Cameroon 3 1 0 2 2:4 3
 Canada 3 0 1 2 0:5 1
31-05-01   [3] Ibaraki, Japan 17:00 Brazil vs. Cameroon 2:0 (0:0) KRUG Hellmut, GER
02-06-01   [8] Niigata, Japan 19:30 Cameroon vs. Japan 0:2 (0:1) ARCHUNDIA Benito A., MEX
04-06-01   [12] Niigata, Japan 19:30 Cameroon vs. Canada 2:0 (0:0) MORENO Byron, ECU

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