Pounce or peril: Mountain to climb for Indomitable Lions

Fifa World Cup

Switzerland's defender #13 Ricardo Rodriguez (left) fights for the ball with Cameroon's forward #20 Bryan Mbeumo during their Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G match at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 24, 2022.

What you need to know:

  • Coach Song must do something special to keep his team in tournament
  • Cameroon must beat Serbia tomorrow to keep alive hope of reaching last 16 stage

In Yaounde, Cameroon

Cameroon will face Serbia in their second outing at the ongoing 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar on Monday in a must-win match for the five-time Africa champions who are seeking to keep hopes of advancing to the round of 16.

The Indomitable Lions lost their first Group ‘G’ match 0-1 to Switzerland at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Thursday while Serbia also lost 2-0 to Brazil in same group. Brazil and Switzerland therefore share the first place in the while Cameroon and Serbia share the bottom place.

A win for Cameroon in the match against Serbia will mean keeping hopes of advancing to the next round – that is if they secure at least a draw when they play their last group  game against Brazil on December 2, or vice versa. A defeat tomorrow   will mean coach Rigobert Song and his charges will play a farewell game against Brazil and return to Yaounde.

 This is no doubt a tough campaign for a slot in the round of 16 for the football-mad Cameroon who are seeking to stay in Qatar beyond December 2.

Back at home, pundits have been talking about what the Indomitable Lions must do to reach last 16 stage, having lost the first match.

“Coach Rigobert Song will first of all have to start by making the players believe the most important and sensitive thing for them to do is to operate as a block by playing as a team and not just perhaps egoistically trying to function as individuals as we did notice between Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bryan Mbeumo against Switzerland on Thursday,” said Dewah Fabrice, a sports reporter for the English language daily, The Guardian Post.

In their last game against Switzerland, the Indomitable Lions who are ranked 43rd globally staged a sterling performance in the first segment, but failed to convert several opportunities into goals. Attacker, Choupo-Moting who has been blistering at Bayern Munich led the attack ahead of 2022 Africa Cup of Nation’s highest goal scorer Vincent Aboubakar.

“We all know Choupo-Moting is currently in good form and can spring up surprises but we still really need to prioritize teamwork. That’s what pays in modern-day football,” Dewah said.

Attacker, Jean Pierre Nsame who has been playing in the Swiss league for over three years was not fielded in the game against Switzerland, but Dewah thinks “he needs to get those game time against Serbia and Brazil, coming in for someone like Toko Ekambi who looked really weakened against Switzerland perhaps due to the injury issues he’s been facing”.

During a training session on Friday, coach Rigobert Song who has participated in four World Cups as player took over 20 minutes to prepare the players psychologically repeatedly telling them, “here (the World Cup) is high level football” and that they have to step up their game to win against Serbia.

Same Friday night, Cameroon’s Minister of Sports, Prof Narcisse Mouelle Kombi visited the team with words of encouragement.

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