Goalkeepers: Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), N’dy Assembé (Guingamp), Sammy Ndjock (Fetihespor), Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport)
Defenders: Allan Nyom (Granada), Dany Nounkeu (Beşiktaş JK), Cedric Djeugoue (Coton Sport), Aurélien Chedjou (Galatasaray SK), Nicolas Nkoulou (Olympique Marseille), Armel Kana-Biyik (Stade Rennes), Henri Bedimo (Olympique Lyon), Benoît Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham Hotspur), Gaëtan Bong (Olympiakos), Joël Matip (FC Schalke)
Midfielders: Eyong Enoh (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Stade Rennes), Stéphane Mbia (Queens Park Rangers), Landry N'Guémo (Bordeaux), Alex Song (FC Barcelona), Cédric Loé (Osasuna), Edgar Sally (RC Lens)
Forwards: Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea), Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting (FC Mainz), Benjamin Moukandjo (AS Nancy), Vincent Aboubakar (FC Lorient), Achille Webó (Fenerbahçe SK), Mohammadou Idrissou (FC Kaiserslautern), Fabrice Olinga (SV Zulte Waregem)
Cameroon head to Brazil with a squad largely made up of France-based players, many of whom will be experiencing their first taste of World Cup football. Having waved goodbye to the old guard, which included the likes of Geremi, Rigobert Song and Sebastien Bassong, Cameroon take with them to South America a new crop of stars in the hope they can thrust the nation into a fresh period of success.
Of the 28 players selected in the provisional squad, only Samuel Eto’o (115), Jean Makoun (66) and Achille Webó (53) have earned more than 50 caps for their country, while nine are still in single figures. What’s more, only Eto’o and Webó have entered double figures for goals scored, and their most experienced goalkeeper, N’dy Assembé, has made 11 appearances for Les Lions Indomptables.
In Eto’o, however, they have the perfect role-model for the plethora of youngsters Cameroon have chosen. Those 115 caps have been earned during a period in which he was named African Player of the Year four times, and he has twice been a member of African Cup of Nations winning teams. His accolades at club level also speak volumes of his ability, and his character, and Cameroon shall be leaning on all of that expertise to pull them through a group that includes hosts Brazil and an underrated Mexico side.
In Volker Finke, Cameroon also have a well-seasoned head coach. The 66-year old German has been a manager since the mid-1970s, although he hasn’t enjoyed a great deal of success. Finke has resided in Germany for much of his career, taking the helm at SC Freiburg (where he was manager from 1991 to 2007) and FC Cologne, among others, but in 2009, he took his first role outside of his homeland as a manager for Japanese outfit Urawa Red Diamonds, although he lasted just one season and failed to land a trophy.
Cameroon are something of a sleeping giant, having not won a major tournament since 2002, when they lifted the African Cup of Nations in Mali. Since that day, Cameroon have been knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stage on three occasions, have come second once, and have failed to make it out of the group stage at two World Cups, whilst not qualifying for the 2006 edition in Germany. They are perennial underachievers, and seem to have missed out on a potential extended period of success during the 2000s. Now, for Brazil 2014, they look drastically undercooked, with a number of players still in the infant stages of their international careers, and a manager who has very little experience of tasting success. It would appear that this year will end in another damp squib for the Africans.
Samuel Eto’o is the standout name in an otherwise uninspiring list for Cameroon, with 115 caps and 55 goals against his name. He is 23 appearances away from becoming the nation’s record caps holder, behind Rigobert Song who has 137, but he is out in front in terms of goals scored. At club level, Eto’o has won everything there is to win, from the Champions League to La Liga, and he remains the only player to have won back-to-back trebles with two different clubs; Barcelona and Inter Milan. Eto’o is clearly the one match-winning player in Cameroon’s ranks, and for them to progress any further than the group stages, he will have to be at his scintillating best. At 33 years of age, his best performances are certainly a thing of the past, but as shown on occasions during this season with Chelsea, he still has the class to put poor defending to the sword.
Cameroon’s chances of making it out of Group A are extremely thin, given they have been drawn against Brazil, Mexico and Croatia, all of whom have a great deal more quality than the Africans. It would seem their best chance is to snatch a win from Croatia, hope for a draw against Mexico and pray that results elsewhere go for them, but I wouldn’t hold out too much hope. They’re down to finish bottom of the group. - Group stage.