Switzerland keep Cameroonians waiting for first win in 20 years

Fifa World Cup

Switzerland's forward #07 Breel Embolo (right) celebrates with Switzerland's midfielder #10 Granit Xhaka after he scored the opening goal during their Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G match against Cameroon at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 24, 2022.


Photo credit: Fabrice Coffrini | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Cameroon lost their first Group G match 0-1 to Switzerland at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Thursday
  • Cameroonian-Swiss Breel Embolo scored the winning goal for the Red Crosses but declined to celebrate, apparently for respect for the country of his birth
  • The government-run bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune described it as a timid start for the Indomitable Lions while English Language daily, The Guardian Post saw a crucifixion of the Indomitable Lions by Cameroonian-born, Embolo

At about 10am Friday, a group supporters of the Cameroonian national football team were doing a post-mortem of the country’s opening match at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar as they sampled goat meat pepper soup at an entertainment joint at the Biyem-Assi neighbourhood in the Yaounde Six municipality.

Cameroon lost their first Group G match 0-1 to Switzerland at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Thursday. Cameroonian-Swiss Breel Embolo scored the winning goal for the Red Crosses but declined to celebrate, apparently for respect for the country of his birth.

The match has since remained the talk of the town among fans and supporters in the Cameroon capital, Yaounde who will have to continue waiting for a first World Cup victory for the team that last won a match at the global tournament 20 years ago. At the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Cameroon beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in a Group ‘E’ match.

“The Indomitable Lions played very well but…” one of the supporters of the team at the leisure spot said. Before he could even finish, another interrupted, “what did they play, we (Cameroonians) don’t have attackers. Choupo Moting is a good club player not national team player..,” the argument went on though in a fair play manner as the debaters raised their glasses in a toast from time to time.

Adjacent, another group, mainly composed of motor bike riders, is seated in front of a news stand at the Wrong-Point Express junction, still in Yaounde Six Municipality. They are mainly analysing the front page headlines about the match.

The match featured on the front pages of most newspapers in the country on Friday. The government-run bilingual daily, Cameroon Tribune described it as a timid start for the Indomitable Lions while English Language daily, The Guardian Post saw a crucifixion of the Indomitable Lions by Cameroonian-born, Embolo.

The Horizon newspaper acknowledged Cameroon is down but not yet out of the competition, just like Municipal Updates that said Indomitable Lions are still hopeful despite losing to Switzerland.

French language daily, Le Messager, said Embolo is simply the punisher, while Emergence daily reported that the Indomitable Lions can do better.

Sports chroniclers in the country agree Cameroon coach and former captain, Rigobert Song had a good line-up at the beginning of the game – and this was reflected on the pitch with team dominating though squandering scoring opportunities.

According to Basil K. Mbuye, a sports journalist in the town of Buea in the Southwest region and Wanchia Cynthia another sports journalist in Bamenda in the Northwest region of the country, the team was good but there was lack of cohesion at the midfield, and wrong substitutions by the coach made things worst.

“We cannot be down by a goal and we are still using three defensive midfielders…Song could have replaced one defensive midfielder with (Vincent) Aboubakar to play alongside Choupo Moting, thereby changing the play system to 4-2-4 in the second segment,” Mbuye said.

Wanchia agrees and adds that for better results in the next game, “I think we should have Vincent Aboubakar, Choupo Moting and Toko Ekambi all play upfront and also look at the central defence too”.

Other Cameroonians supporters have been commenting on social media and rather seeing the defeat as sign of good luck to their darling team. Those who have this belief say Cameroon will emerge winner of the tournament like Spain in 2010.

In 2010, Spain lost to Switzerland in their Group H opening game but went on to defeat Honduras and Chile then to advance to the round of 16 and eventually won the trophy after beating Netherlands 1-0 in South Africa.

Cameroon will next face Serbia in their second group game on Monday.

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