World Cup 2022 Group G: Cameroon aim to emulate heroes of 1990

Rigobert Song's Indomitable Lions have a habit of upsetting the odds

Cameroon forward Karl Toko Ekambi, left, celebrates with teammates after their penalty shootout victory against Burkina Faso in the Africa Cup of Nations in February 2022. AFP
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Having missed the 2018 edition, Cameroon will return to the World Cup more determined than ever to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 1990.

That group’s achievement should stand as a shining example of what might be possible for the current side, which also seems to relish the underdog tag.

While Rigobert Song’s squad lacks real star power, they have shown time and again in qualification that they are more than capable of springing an upset. Indeed, Cameroon got to Qatar by unexpectedly beating Algeria in a play-off, with forward Karl Toko Ekambi scoring the decisive goal in the final seconds of extra time.

A result of that magnitude should give the Indomitable Lions plenty of confidence heading into this winter’s competition, as their qualification followed a respectable Africa Cup of Nations campaign last year.

Cameroon reached the semi-finals, where they lost on penalties to Egypt, but plenty of positives could still be taken given the side’s clear lack of a star talisman in the same vein as the legendary Samuel Eto’o. That isn’t to say that Cameroon’s squad lacks talent, though.

Between the sticks they are bolstered by one of Africa’s best goalkeepers in Inter Milan’s Andre Onana. Formerly of Ajax, the 26-year-old previously played a key role in helping the Dutch side reach the semi-finals of the 2018/19 Champions League.

In defensive midfield, fellow Serie A star Frank Andre Zambo Anguissa will hope to replicate his impressive Napoli form on the world stage, as the former Fulham man is an imposing presence in the middle of the park.

Up top, they aren’t short on goalscoring options. Captain Vincent Aboubakar is expected to be flanked by Bayern Munich’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and Lyon winger Ekambi, who has scored in three of Cameroon’s last four internationals.

Under the direction of former Liverpool and West Ham United player Song, Cameroon have become a team that are hard to beat tactically, relying on defensive rigidity first and foremost.

As big underdogs to progress from Group G, they will have to implement these tactics to perfection if they are to reach the Round of 16 and emulate the heroes of 1990. It’s a tall order, but this team continues to rise to the occasion when required.

Manager: Rigobert Song

Star player: Frank Andre Zambo Anguissa

One to watch: Karl Toko Ekambi

World Cups appeared in: 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010, 2014

Fixtures: Nov 24 – Switzerland v Cameroon / Nov 28 – Cameroon v Serbia / Dec 2 – Brazil v Cameroon

Updated: September 28, 2022, 8:37 AM