By Beng Emmanuel
Samuel Eto’o is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world and undoubtedly one of the greatest African player of all time. The record four time African player of the year has an unmatched goal scoring record and presently the all time leading goal scorer of Cameroon with an impressive 56 goals.
The exploits of the former Barcelona star forward has prompted several uprising footballers aim to emulate the once football sensation. Fans of the dynamic forward had even began anticipating the rise of another high class performer which prompted lots of comparison with players who began to live up to the parrelel.
Among these rising talents were former Lions captain, Benjamin Moukandjo, Barcelona teenage sensation Jean Marie Dongou,Vincent Aboubakar,Fabrice Olinga and Clinton Njie. Years after the comparison,many have been baffled on how their professional careers have taken a back heel.
But where are they now?
Vincent Aboubakar-FC Porto
Vincent Aboubakar was hailed by many for his Impressive starts and outrageous finishes which had plenty of similarities with Samuel Eto’o. The former Coton Sport talent who moved to Europe in 2010 began making remarkable strides when he joined FC Porto from Lorient. Cameroonians found plenty of joy each time he featured for the Portuguese outfit and believed converting his terrific form at the time with the national team will catapult the Lions to the apex of continental glory. Over five years after the wait, there has been almost nothing to write home about. Frequent injuries in very short intervals and fewer playtime have kept the reboustful forward off the mark and caused many reconsider their stand on the once highly rated striker.
Vincent Aboubakar came off the bench and scored a late goal as Cameroon beat Egypt in 2017 to win their fifth African cup of Nations. He has represented Cameroon at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup. The former U-20 lion has scored 20 goals in 67 caps for Cameroon.
Clinton Mua Njie-Dynamo Moscow
In 2014, Njie Clinton made an explosive start with Cameroon and at first sight made many believe another Samuel Eto’o had emerge. He drilled an entire nation with his pace and excellent dribbling skills which left no one indifferent. He further seduced Cameroonians by scoring on his debut in September 2014 and netted twice four days later against Ivory Coast in Yaoundé.
The 26-year-old made headlines on multiple occasions and was typically the kind of player that made defenders genuinely scared and could even run 10 yards past centre backs within the blink of an eye. The story is much different today. After scoring 22 goals in over 1000 matches in France, Njie signed for Tottenham Hotspur in 2015. Just when everyone had started believing in his potentials,the former Marseille winger dropped performance and was subjected to a debacle start in England. He is presently on the books of Dynamo Moscow in the Russia top tier League.
Jean Marie Dongou Tsafack-FC Honka
Jean Marie Dongou was considered the closest to succede the Cameroonian legend. He arrived FC Barcelona thought Samuel Eto’o foundations in 2008 at the age of 13 and after a brilliant season with the Segunda division of the B selection, integrated the first team with utmost show of confidence. He scored during preseason and made his official debut with Barcelona in December 2013. Five days after, the 25-year-old featured for in the UEFA Champions League against Celtic.
Jean Marie Dongou scored 29 goals in 132 appearances in the sugunda League. He remains among the youngest Barcelona La Liga scorers. Despite impressing, the young forward did not make an immediate impact with the first team and soon fell off the way which many believed was his path to glory. Built like a weight lifter,and with the pace of a sprinter, Jean Marie Dongou arguably would have been a suitably remedy to the lions goal scoring wahala.
Benjamin Moukandjo- Valaciennes
What makes Moukandjo very different from others is surely his leadership skills. He guided the lions to the 2017 afcon but lost his spark in the most mysterious manner.
On June 4, 2011, Moukandjo made his debut for the men’s senior national football team, starting in a goalless 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualification draw against Senegal. He netted his first international goal on 16 June the following year, the winner against Guinea-Bissau .
Moukandjo was selected in Cameroon’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and started in all three group matches, against Mexico , Croatia and Brazil respectively.
At the 2015 African Cup of Nations, he scored Cameroon’s goal in a 1–1 draw with Guinea at the group stage.
Two years later , he was named Man of the Match in the final as Cameroon won the Africa Cup of Nations for the fifth time.
In September 2018 he retired from international duty, having scored 8 goals in 57 appearances. Many had hoped the experienced leader and inch perfect passer could one day be ranked among the greatest Cameroonian footballers.
Fabrice Olinga Essono- Royal Excel Mouscron
When Fabrice Olinga became the youngest player to score in La Liga at the age of 16 with Malaga, many began to predict how bright the future of the teenager could become. He was a young, smart and confident player with plenty of ambitions. It was but normal that comparison between the former RCD Mallorca man and Samuel Eto’o dominated discussions among Cameroonians. But after several spells in Cyprus, Romania and Belgium, the 24-year-old has rarely impressed.
On 2 October 2012, Olinga was called by the Cameroon national team for a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against Cape Verde, and he scored on his debut. He was selected by coach Volker Finke for his 2014 FIFA World Cup squad at the age of 18, being the youngest player in the competition but remaining an unused member as the tournament ended in group stage exit.
There are a lot more to the list. But none has been able to fill the Vacuum left by the back-to-back Nations cup winner. Should we talk of Christian Bassogog,Karl Toko Ekambi, or even Jacques Zoua?. One thing is certain,only the best will beat the best.
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