By Beng Emmanuel
Patrick Suffo believes Cameroon’s men’s national football team lacks leadership, team spirit and camaraderie, what he believes is essential to drive the Central African nation to the acme of Continental and World football.
Despite being considered the second most successful nation in Africa with five AFCON trophies, Cameroon have failed to replicate their fine form during the early 2000’s , the former Lions international noted.
The 42-year-old who had a fantastic spell with Cameroon, scoring four goals, said leadership played a key role to enable them knock opponents off the establish their dominance.
However,since 2002,the Lions have been less convincing with trophies which had often been flooded into the country, suddenly deserted from sight.
“We were blessed as a squad to have many leaders. You know, when things aren’t going well,on the pitch,they will come to the dressing room and say to everyone;guys we need to take this the right way,if not we are doomed” Suffo told state media,CRTV during an interview.
“We had Rigobert Song who was a character himself. He was a great leader on the pitch. You had for example (late) Marc-vivien Foe, that was also a leader but a different kind of leader. You had Patrick Mboma who was another leader”
“When in a group, you don’t have this kind of people, it sometimes does make the difference. I believe we were blessed to have so many leaders” he added.
” I think we lack the kind of players. I believe in the last few years, we had people that were proud to come and play but we did not have leaders. We lack leadership, people that can take responsibility and say let’s do it” .
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The 2000/2002 badge of lions are described as the best the nations has produced since the historic 1990 team who reached the quarter finals of the World Cup after edging holders, Argentina in the tournament opener.
Since 2002, Cameroon have won only one of the six Nations Cup they attended.
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In 2004 and 2006 they ended at the quarterfinals but struggled to make amends the following year in 2008 although they lost in the final.
Surprisingly, they failed to qualify for successive editions and returned only in 2017 to covert the continent’s priced trophy although they failed to retain the title two years later.
This period was aggravated with a lackluster display at the World Cup which has been termed the country’s worst ever participation.
Twice did make to the World Cup finals did they get the same results. After the disappointment of 2002, the then reigning champions were unfortunate not to grab a spot for Germany 2006.
Four years later, they bounced back to South Africa 2010 but there was little to show of their might.They finished the tournament 31/32 nations after a group stage exit.
The following edition was even more devastating than the previous. Not only did they finish bottom of their group, but also became first nation from the button in the overall classification.The Lions had suffered a sort of beating that they will take a long time to recover from.
In 2018, the 2022 AFCON bound failed to return to peak form and lost the chance to represent the continent.
The year 2022 should be a year to make great changes. Coincidentally, the Africa Cup of Nation which was programmed for 2021 in Cameroon, was rescheduled by CAF Executive Committee to 2022, same year with the World Cup in Qatar.
With the current cast of stars available, there is much to hope for. An improved AFCON on home soil could led into a glorious campaigns at the World Cup.
A better team should be able to do the magic.
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