Connect with us

Interviews

World Cup 2014 Expert Interview: Cameroon’s Eto’o issue, Volker Finke and more

As part of our World Cup coverage, we have interviewed journalists, correspondents, experts & writers representing each of the 32 countries to give you, the readers, a better understanding of the 32 nations participating in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Here are the list of interviewees.

Cameroon World Cup Interview

For this interview, focusing on Cameroon, we spoke to Gary Al-Smith. Head of CitiFM, Editor at SuperSport, Creator of African football podcast, FC Africa, and writer for various publications including CNN, ESPN, the NY Times etc. Follow him on Twitter @garyalsmith

Samuel Eto’o has had his problems with the national team in the past. He is however, the all-time leading scorer and the most experienced at the top level. Does the manager have to make a bold decision in favour of maintaining team harmony? Or should Eto’o be the first name on the team sheet purely because of his ability on the pitch?

History has shown that both decisions can be brilliantly right or unfathomably wrong. It’s all in the details. There’ve been reports recently of a mini-strike within the player ranks having to do with bonuses – a Cameroonian problem as old as Eto’o himself.

It must be said that dropping Eto’o because of the problems he gives the team will not make sense, because so far, Eto’o has only fought for good things. Yes, his methods are a bit extreme at times, but why drop your biggest player when he’s agitating for better playing conditions for his voiceless mates? The coach must simply take him and try to control a difficult situation.

Cameroon have struggled to do well at World Cups, besides in 1990, despite being one of the traditionally stronger African nations. Currently they aren’t where they once were even in the continent. Can we expect Cameroon to get past the group stage, something they’ve struggled to do in the last 4 editions they’ve participated in?

The factors of Cameroon’s inability to progress can be attributed to the strength of their opponents as much as their own internal problems.

But this time, Mexico, Croatia and Brazil is a scaleable group, if the Lions play as a united front. The 28 man team named by Volker Finke is very good, well-balanced and very hungry. I’m a big fan of Finke’s Mr. Underdog reputation and I believe the Lions will place second.

Brazilian weather is said to be on the warmer side, something which could favour the African teams. Is this something that will have a telling influence for the actual football and positively impact teams like Cameroon?

The short answer is no, the long answer is that the issue of weather has, sadly, been overblown. Science has proven that with the right amount of acclimatization, even a team from the Sahara Desert can win an ice-hockey contest in Siberia. It’s the same with the coming World Cup, every team going to Brazil knows what the conditions are and has, at least, a two week window to get their bodies in tune. People forget that the World Cup, at the end of all the talk, is just a maximum seven games. Good planning can ensure that any natural advantage African teams get from similar weather can be nullified.

Although Volker Finke has nearly four decades of managerial experience, he’s mainly dealt in the lower echelons of German football. This is his first international job; to take a national side into the World Cup is a whole different playing field, what impact could that have on the side?

There is a Cameroonian proverb that says: “the same ancestors who protect you in killing the snake will help you ensnare the tiger.” Volke Finke has built a solid profile in turning hopelessly average teams into destroyers of expensively assembled oppositions. The World Cup is a different playing field, yes, but the World Cup is – when all is said and done – like a game of chess. The styles of Finke’s Group A opponents are teams that intensive scouting and analysis can break down in hours. To qualify from that quarter means to have players disciplined enough to exploit opposition weakness.

Does Cameroon have that? Yes, they do. Does Finke have the knowledge to work the magic as he did in the Bundesliga and elsewhere? Yes, his backroom staff are known for their efficiency and attention to detail. Perhaps, Cameroon will for the first time in a long time be very reliant on their coach’s instruction, and not individual player brilliance.

2014 FIFA World Cup Group A

Alex Song and Eyong Enoh will be two key players in Cameroon’s midfield. Both have either struggled to get into the first team at their respective clubs and/or ravaged by injuries. How much of an impact could that have in the core of the side’s midfield?

Alex Song said recently that his lack of games is but a deception of his form, for he trains and plays reserve team football regularly. Thus, contrary to popular opinion, he’s in decent form. Finke has hinted at a special rejuvenating regime for some of his players who need one-on-one sessions due to their low key seasons. Eyong and Song fall in this category. Eyong’s injury situation is more serious, as he has to be handled delicately to prevent a relapse. But in the event that he cannot play, Cameroon do have Stephane Mbia.

We at Outside of the Boot track the progress of youngsters under our Talent Radar feature. Vincent Aboubakar is destined to feature regularly at the tournament. What role will he play? Should he be ahead of Eto’o for the lone striker’s role after the successful domestic season he has had in France?

Reports from Cameroon say that Eto’o is very happy with sharing duties with Aboubakar and even willing to allow the Ligue 1 gem to be the main man upfront. As we’ve seen with Chelsea, Eto’o is slowly evolving from the supremely strong, lone fox on top of the attack to a more utility supporting role either behind or on the flanks of a 4-3-3. Finke has shown he trusts Aboubakar’s obvious athleticism while never neglecting Eto’o’s enduring spirit. Both players will best be played in a fluid attacking setup.

Read all our World Cup Interviews here, and all other WC2014 related content here.

100 to Watch

Latest

Indian Football2 months ago

Indian Super League 2017-18: U-23 Young Indian Players’ Team of the Season

At the end of the 2017-18 Indian Super League season, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot...

Indian Football2 months ago

Scout Report: Jerry Lalrinzuala | India’s Promising Young Defender

Hrishi Anand provides a scout report which analyses India and Chennaiyin’s promising young defender, Jerry Lalrinzuala Indian football has taken...

Scout Report2 months ago

Scout Report: Houssem Aouar | Lyon’s young midfield star

Kwame Atteen writes a detailed scout report about Houssem Aouar, the Lyon and France midfielder. While we are all so...

Talent Radar3 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #16: Youri Tielemans and Patrick Cutrone feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar4 months ago

Brasileirão U-23 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the 2017 Brasileirao season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the...

Talent Radar4 months ago

2017 Meiji Yasuda J1 League: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Steven Davies sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Opinions4 months ago

The Resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner

Harry Burford writes about the resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner. Whilst Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner has all but disappeared from our collective footballing...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 0-2 Bengaluru

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 0-2 Bengaluru Bengaluru FC scored...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin Chennaiyin FC came...

Talent Radar4 months ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #15: Franck Kessie and Leon Bailey feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 3-0 ATK

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 3-0 ATK Playing the...

Indian Football4 months ago

Mohun Bagan Vs East Bengal: The Enduring Allure Of The Kolkata Derby

Arinjay Ghosh looks at the significance of the Kolkata Derby and why in the ever-changing landscape of Indian football, Mohun...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters Iain...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 2-2 Bengaluru

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 2-0 Bengaluru When Delhi...

Bengaluru FC4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru 1-0 ATK

Arnab Ray discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru 1-0 ATK With the Indian...

Indian Football4 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos Chennaiyin FC...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-1 FC Goa

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-1 FC Goa FC Goa...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United This...

Tactical Analysis5 months ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona | Los Blancos Implode in the 2nd Half

Om Arvind provides a tactical analysis of the La Liga game that finished Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona Barcelona were 11...

Indian Football5 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos ATK rode...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this