Story: Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
CAMEROUN are at the decision point. They know that today is a make or break affair as they line up against Zambia in a tricky second Group C game of the MTN Africa Cup of Nations tournament at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
Having lost 2-4 in their opening game to Egypt, the Indomitable Lions know that nothing but victory over Zambia, who spanked Sudan 3-0, would push them into contention for a place in the last eight. And with the Chipolopolo also bent on making it to the quarter-final stage, a fierce battle is expected tomorrow.
Media reports back home in Cameroun reveal that fans were very angry with Coach Otto Pfister and his team following the Indomitable Lions’ defeat to the Pharaohs of Egypt in the opening game.
A BBC report from Yaounde saw disenchanted home fans accusing coach Otto Pfister of failing to map out an effective strategy to overcome the swift Egyptians.
The fans also felt that the ageing players in the team were simply not up to the task and feared the ability of the team to qualify for the next stage.
Even in Kumasi where Cameroun enjoyed massive support, many were disappointed and left the stadium long before the game ended.
But the Lions have other things on their minds in tomorrow’s game as Otto Pfister says the match will be a different ball game which will see Cameroun making amends.
Clearly the Cameroun defence was suspect against the Egyptians. Skipper Rigobert Song could hardly run back to cover up anytime he joined the attack, and if the German trainer fails to find a solution to this handicap, Felix Katongo and his striking partners in the Chipolopolo team could punish them for that.
Geremi Njitap on the right of attack can do better with his crossings to effectively feed Samuel Eto’o Fils with the needed supply.
But writing off Zambia will be a huge mistake. They pump up so much energy in attack and will definitely pose a major threat to Cameroun.
Manager Patrick Phiri sounded optimistic after their first victory. He said, “We know the pedigree of Cameroun but we are ready for them”.
In the other game, Egypt look ready to book a place in the quarter-finals when they clash with Sudan.
The championship stuff of the Pharaohs is not in doubt. You can ask Cameroun.
Typical of the Pharaohs, they play as a compact side, not relying on names but as a strong unit ready to overpower the opposition at the least opportunity.
In Ismaily striker, Hosni Abdrabou, and Hamburg SV attacker, Mohammed Zidan, the Pharaohs have a deadly pair who will be too hot for Sudan to handle.