By Angu Lesley
Football Writer, kick442.com-Cameroon.
Cameroon’s sensational goalkeeper in the 2019 Under-17 AFCON triumph in Tanzania, Ekoi Manfred Makumba has now opened up on a few events which happened behind the scenes en route to their success last year in Dar Es Salaam.
Speaking to kick442.com this Monday, the current Best Stars Academy prodigy, considered as one of the best young goalkeepers back in Cameroon lifted the lid multiple issues. Ekoi spoke of the issues on the night before the semi final game against Angola and the final against Guinea.
He began with his injury in training 24 hours before the semi final.
“I wasn’t disturbed about the knock in the training session before the Angola game. I knew if the coach picked me the next day, I will be ready. That night I watched the rebroadcast of the Angola game. I noted details about their different attacking players. When we got to the penalty shoot out, I walked up to my team mates and told them; ‘please do everything to convert your penalties, I will save at least one of theirs’. They trusted me as much as I trusted them and we all kept our promise.
Despite Zito Livumbo being a constant menace in the wings, the steely Cameroon defense [without captain Fabrice Ndzie who was sent off in the 47th minutes] held their nerves to force a goalless draw at fullttime. The game needed penalty shhot outs to separate the two nations.
After two successful penalties for Angola, it was time for Ekoi Manfred to keep his promise. The shot stopper completed a brilliant performance as he went down-low to keep out Rivaldo Cambuta’s effort.
His mates did as planned, by the time Porfirio Abrantes will put the ball wide in Angola’s 5th attempt Cameroon had scored four from four attempts handing the baby Lions a 4-3 victory and a place in the final.
“In the build up to the final, we sensed from the advise fromoour coaches that there was need to be more cautious,we were more determined not to concede.
” When François Bere[main center back in the absence of the suspended captain Fabrice Ndzie] picked up the injury, I told them guys we need to fight for them.
“Fortunately the coaches guided us well and we kept another clean sheet.
” In the shoot, I told them again score please, I will keep out at least one. Of course I was more confident. I had watched the video of Guinea’s penalty session against Nigeria and believed I could keep out at least one. God was kind and we did it again, my mates kept their promise and I kept mine. It was a wonderful experience” Ekoi told kick442.com.
Manfred kept out one penalty in the semi final and Cameroon was successful in all five kicks winning the final by 5-4 to claim the country’s second Under 17 AFCON title just over a year ago.
The save in the final meant, he kept out a penalty in the semi final and the final.
The-18-year-old keeper is considered as the next big thing from the Central African nation which many refer to as the land of goalkeepers.
It is only a matter of time before he is snatched from Best Stars Academy of Limbe to a bigger grooming facility.
Much is expected of him with hopes he becomes the next Thomas Nkono, Bell Joseph Antoine, Idris Carlos Kameni or Andre Onana.
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