By Angu Lesley
Football Writer, Cameroon
Never before has there been doubts in the quality of work that the Thomas Liibih led technical staff are doing with the Under 17 National team of Cameroon.
In less than two weeks, the Under 17 Lions of Cameroon will embark on another campaign surely thinking about glory. This generation of the Lions is turning out to be one of the most successful in the history of the country.
53-year old Thomas Liibih assumed the lead trainer role in 2017 when the head coach technically took charge of the Under 17 Lions of Cameroon just after head coach Joseph Siewe passed on to eternity.
Since then, the former Indomitable Lion and his technical staff have wipe off memories of disappointing outing at the 2017 Under 17 AFCON in Gabon, they have converted this category of the national team from pretenders to contenders.
The baby Lions(Cub) of Cameroon have in two years, won two UNIFFAC trophies, one Under 17 AFCON title and are already showing signs of ticking when the World Cup begins in Brazil.
Coach Olivier Nankam’s touch on the fitness of the team, the transfer of power from generation to generation by former goalkeeper Owono Foe (goalkeeper coach of the team) and the management style of former Indomitable Lion Lucien Metommo (the team manager) in combination which Libiih’s technical know how has created a solid team for all to see.
The Lions team are currently unbeaten in a competitive game for 2 years, a record to protect in Brazil.
Selection of players at the level of this team has not been hit by scandals of mediocracy over meritocracy like it patterns elsewhere. Though one may argue that, at 17 players may not be very exposed for the public to know if the coach picks the best players. If his team produces the desired results, plays good football, players win individual prizes and even get called ups to senior teams, then it is fair to say his selection is on merit based.
For a country with no active youth championship, with huge dependence on players from abroad to achieve the successes of other national teams Libih is doing a great job. Cameroon’s 2019 Under 17 AFCON winning team is the only “100% local players” Cameroon team to win a CAF title in the history of the country and without 4 suspended players and an injured player in the final.
The Under 17 team is the active starting point for most players in international football, looking at the correctional coaching style adopted at the level of this team and the family nature of the team, it only gives one the belief that the kids are getting a good first impression. Such a good first impression builds a solid base for the future of it senior team’s through this team.
The other members of the backroom staff and football authorities in the country have no doubt contributed their quota to achieve this success, but Libih has made more Cameroonians Thomas’s to the fact that, Cameroon is a home of young talents.
If there is need for a reference for Cameroon coaches aspiring to coach the different national teams of Cameroon at the moment then the Under 17 Lions of Cameroon headed by Thomas Libih is that reference.
Of the 10 national teams of Cameroon only the senior men’s team job which is the most attractive is in the hands of a foreign coach.
Former Indomitable Lions captain Rigobert Song is also doing a great job with the Olympic Lions of Cameroon.
Coach Libiih’s output is winning fans for the campaign to have more Cameroonians at the helm of our different national teams.
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