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Cameroon's AFCON 2015 without Eto'o & Song

AFCON 2015: Who leads Cameroon's line after Eto'o & Song's retirements?

January 15, 2015 By Mutembei Kevin
It is never an easy thing for a team to lose its best players. Such is the plight facing Cameroon at this year’s AFCON after Eto’o’s and Song’s departures.

Eto’o’s International Career Summary

Samuel Eto’o was technically 15 years old when he made his debut for the Indomitable Lions – this was 9th March 1997, a day shy of his 16th birthday. After an illustrious, 17-year, trophy-laden career, the striker finally discharged himself from international duty in August 2014.

The former Chelsea man now boasts 56 senior national team goals from 118 appearances, making him the country’s all time leading goal-scorer with a ratio of 0.47 goals per match (a goal every two matches). Long story short, ‘Old Man Eto’o’ is an Indomitable Lions legend. So, how will they go about replacing their captain and legend at this year’s AFCON?

Cameroon’s post-Eto’o

It is a hard pill to swallow for the country but life must go on. And while it remains to be seen if things will be the same without the prolific forward, one can argue that things are already heading in the right direction.

In 22-year-old Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon have a young clinical finisher who has been netting decisive goals for the country especially in their qualification campaign. Though less of an accomplished dribbler compared to Eto’o, Aboubakar is quick, strong, intelligent, and definitely knows where the goal is. His deputies in the striking department include Eric Choupo-Moting, Franck Etoundi, Leonard Kweuke, Benjamin Moukandjo, and Clinton Njie, all young forwards with a bright future ahead of them. The partnership between Aboubakar and Njie is especially encouraging.

Song’s International Career Summary

Alex Song’s Cameroon career was one riddled with controversy. His last action in his country’s colors was when he planted his elbow into the back of Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The no-nonsense midfielder was suspended from playing for a period and then dropped from the squad altogether by Volker Finke, the Indomitable Lion’s German coach.

Their disastrous showing at the 2014 World Cup is not the only feature of Cameroon’s implosion in recent times. The squad has also been plagued by rows over bonuses, allegations of match-fixing, and dressing-room squabbles over this and that reason. What’s worse? Song and retired captain Eto’o have been at the center of it all.

So are Cameroon better off without Song’s quality on the field? His 49 appearances for the Central African country say a big No. But are they a more united and balanced squad without his off-field tactics? A big Yes. Either way, how will they cope without him?

Cameroon’s post-Song

Looking at Cameroon’s AFCON 2015 squad, there is no one who can fill Song’s shoes better than Stephane Mbia. The combative Sevilla midfielder’s style of play is quite comparable to that of the former Arsenal man – a tough tackler who can make interceptions and distribute the ball from the middle of the park with great effectiveness.

Mbia will be assisted by the likes of 23-year-old Franck Kom, and 25-year-old Raoul Loé. Loé is especially suited for the role, having played in the defensive midfield position for both club (CA Osasuna) and country a number of times.

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