Situated on the line of the equator, Cameroon have played their part, like no other African country, in producing World Cup images that are imprinted on the minds of football fans everywhere, taking names like Roger Milla into football folklore. After missing out on the 2006 World Cup, the Indomitable Lions are back for a record sixth appearance: Cameroon first made their World Cup debut in Spain ’82, but it was Italia ’90 where they became the first African nation to ever reach a World Cup quarter-final.

The team’s last three finals (USA ’94, France ’98, South Korea/Japan ’02) were less than impressive and to do better this time Cameroon must overcome Denmark, Holland and Japan in Group E. The Indomitable Lions qualified after three good group stage performances, disposing of the likes of Gabon, Togo and Morocco, and finished with arguably the best defence in all African qualifying games, conceding only four goals in the second and final third round.

The Coach

Paul Le Guen (FRA)
46 years old

Former France international Paul Le Guen spent his entire playing career in his native country and is a household name in the French game. Le Guen won three titles in a row as a coach with Lyon, before a disasterous spell at Scottish side Rangers. His arrival in July 2009, fresh from Paris Saint-Germain, came following German coach Otto Pfister’s perceived failure.

Le Guen had an instant impact, immediately installing Samuel Eto’o as captain and tightening up the team’s backline. One slight shadow cast was a disappointing performance at the African Nations Cup in Angola, where the team leaked nine goals in four games, scoring just five. The Frenchman was however allowed to continue, to finish the job he started, but given the talents at his disposal more will be expected in South Africa. “This will be a special World Cup because it is in Africa”, said Le Guen. "I know my players feel that, and that could well be an advantage for us.”

Players to watch

Rigobert Song
33 years old
Trabzonspor (TUR)

Age may be catching up with him, but Rigobert Song is still a very strong, experienced and tough tackling defender. Song made his World Cup debut in 1994 aged just 17 and rubbed shoulders with Roger Milla, in a tournament where he became the youngest ever to be sent off. He had been the team captain for over a decade until Le Guen took the armband away, but Song responded magnificently, serving his country with distinction. The 33-year-old will be making a fourth World Cup finals appearance, equallying former goalkeeper Jacques Song’o and even surpassing countryman and icon Roger Milla.



Samuel Eto’o Fils
29 years old
Internazionale (ITA))

Mercurial Samuel Eto’o’s explosive nine goals en route to South Africa is one of the main reasons Cameroon can look forward to the World Cup. He made his finals debut at the age of 18 in France ’98. Three times African Footballer of the Year and with a hat-trick of Champions League winners’ medals, Eto’o has conquered all before him in European football. Eto’o is also Cameroon’s top goalscorer and an ever-present threat.

Alex Song
22 years old
Arsenal (ENG)

Alex Song learned his trade at Bastia in France, but was polished at Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, where he has truly arrived. A strong and skilful player, often deployed in front of the defenders, Song could be crucial to Cameroon’s effots to protect any leads gained in the tournament. He is also capable of standing in for regular defenders.

Achille Emana
27 years old
Real Betis (ESP)

Muscular, physically strong and a superb workhorse, Achille Emana could be one to watch in the tournament. The Real Betis midfielder also possesses a powerful shot that can trouble the most athletic of goalkeepers. Emana has been in and out of the Cameroon team as a result of dressing room incidents and ill discipline. A regular with Spanish second division side Betis, the 27-year-old will be looking to add his mobility and defensive quallity to a side which could also benefit from his super flying shots at goal.

The view from Cameroon

Cameroon have not managed to win a single trophy for eight years and a World Cup finals voyage comparable to Italia ’90 has been hard to repeat. With enourmous confidence placed in the coach and his players, expectations back home are to reproduce and surpass already attained achievements by becoming the first African nation to reach the World Cup final. “We do have the players to take us all the way and we hope to reach the final”, said local journalist Fon Echekiye.


Cameroon have the quality of young up and coming stars, but also the experience of seasoned campaigners. If the team can manage to keep their cool and maintain discipline on the pitch, then the Indomitable Lions could cruise through their group. Having suffered first round exits in the last three World Cups, this time a semi-final berth could beckon.

Did you know?

Cameroon have scored more goals at World Cup finals than any other African nation – 15 to be exact. Amongst the scorers is African legend Roger Milla, whose fifth World Cup goal came at the age of 42 years and 39 days at USA ’94. It is still a record.

Group games

14/06/10: Cameroon  0 – 1  Japan    –   Bloemfontein
19/06/10: Cameroon  1 – 2  Denmark    –   Tshwane/Pretoria
24/06/10: Cameroon  1 – 2  Holland     –   Cape Town