A Bird’s eye view of coach Clarence Seedorf’s 23 man squad to face the Comoros Islands.
In Cameroon’s most win game against the Comoros Islands to book their ticket for Egypt 2019, Indomitable Lions’ head coach Clarence Seedorf has summoned 23 players across the world with some questionable choices.
For the goalkeepers, Andre Onana is a natural choice given the wonderful season he is having with Ajax of Amsterdam who qualified for the quarterfinals of the champions League after seeing off the mighty Real Madrid. They have also cut their deficit in the Dutch Eredivisie to just two points with PSV Eindhoven. The Cameroon shot-stopper has been an outstanding performer in every single game in Erik Ten Hag’s team. The same cannot be said for 2017 Afcon winning goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa. Ondoa took Onana under his wings when Onana joint him at FC Barcelona’s Masia, but their professional careers have taken completely parallel paths. While Onana has gone on to be an established goalkeeper for his club Ondoa has struggled for a start in every club he has played for. It’s even more surprising to see him on the sidelines at a small club like KV Oostende in the Belgian top flight. Even with his former national team coach Hugo Broos in charge at Oostende, William Dutoit has been preferred all season over him.
As for Carlos Kameni one could say maybe he is invited to play a leadership role and guide the young generation, but that reason might not be strong enough given that the team has a goalkeeper’s trainer and other experienced campaigners. He has hardly even featured on Fenerbahce’s team sheet all season so it’s difficult to understand or justify his invitation.
For the defenders, Fai, Onguéné, Oyongo, Yaya, Ngadeu Ngadjui and Kana Biyik have been regulars for their respective clubs and have been in good form. Yaya has had a few struggles lately but not enough to question his place in the team. Questions could be asked on Gaetan Bong, but he could be a good backup for Oyongo though he has lost his starting place at Brighton & Hove Albion. The big question mark is on the invitation of Joyskim Dawa Tchakonte who is a regular on the bench for Mariupol in Ukraine. How was he selected, based on what criteria and what can he bring into team? These and more are some of the questions.
For the five midfielders invited we can only question the pedigree of George Mandjeck’s championship, given that he plays for Maccabi Haifa in Israel, but he has been regular. Zambo Anguissa has struggled for playing time under all the three Fulham Managers he has played under this season for his Championship bound side, but he is definitely a key player for the Indomitable Lions. Pierre Kunde Malong has been more of a last five minutes substitute for Mainz lately but he has had a more than average season so far. For Petrus Boumal he has been regular all season for Ural in the Russian Premier League so there are no doubts he was invited. Arnaud Djoum has always been in and out of the national team but for his club Hearts of Midlothian he is always one of the first names on the match sheet.
Of the six strikers invited, Stephane Bahoken is the most performing. He has bagged nine goals in the French top flight so far for Angers, his personal best in one season in the French top flight. He got that crucial equalizer in the away game so Cameroonians will be counting on him again. Joel Tagueu’s season with Maritimo in Portugal has been one of ups and downs. He scored his third and fourth goals of the season last weekend. The much travelled striker will hope for better days ahead both with club and country.
2017 Afcon winning hero Christian Bassogog is coming into the Lions den after scoring in Henan Jianye’s 2-2 draw over the weekend. As for Jean Pierre Ntsame he is a regular for runaway Swiss league leaders Young Boys of Bernes, though the goals have not been in free flow, with eight goals so far this season.lts his first call up under Seedorf. His teammate Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu was ignored though Seedorf has invited him before. Clinton Njie is a fringe player at Marseille, getting a goal or two but not really one that Rudi Garcia counts on every weekend. Choupo Moting is living his fiery tale story at PSG with relative success. Hardly a starter except in their domestic cup games, he always gets a run in the team no matter how small and impressses in his own way either with an odd goal or an assist. It’s difficult to understand nor explain the choice of Jacques Zoua who has had a long goal drought for his Romanian club Astra Giurgui. He seems to have something our ordinary eyes cannot see that only the coaches eyes can see.
Karl Toko Ekambi will not be in the team but he is one who will not take long to come back giving the season he is having in his first year in Spain with Villarreal, 12 goals this season in all competitions. Finally someone understood that Fabrice Olinga did not have a place in the team, given that Franck Boya who is more regular for Royal Excel Mouscron has always been overlooked while the man on the bench always found favour in the eyes of the coaches.
It’s not the worst group of players to face a team like the Comoros Islands but there is still room for improvement and more justified choices. It’s time to consider how to get Andrien Tameze, Jordan Siebatcheu, James Edward Lea Siliki, Felix Eboa Eboa, Evans Ndicka Obitte, Franck Boya, Didier Lamkel Ze…and convince Nkoulou and Matip to reconsider their stands and answer the call of the nation with Egypt 2019 beckoning.