Nickname: The Indomitable Lions
Association formed: 1956
Previous Afcon Appearances: 16 (1970, 1972, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2015)
Best result: Champions (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002)
Coach: Hugo Broos
Leading scorers: all-time –Samuel Eto’o (56)
Most appearances: all-time –Rigobert Song (137)
FIFA ranking: 65th (13th in CAF)
THE BIG QUESTION
Being champions for four times means they are a force to reckon and can pull surprises at this year’s African Cup of Nations. But the big question however is, with the absence of their main man Samuel Eto’o, four time African Player of the year, can they really be one of the teams to watch out for? With almost 15 years of no success, can they be successful this time around?
WHO ARE THEY?
The Cameroon national football team represents Cameroon in international association football and has done so since 1950s. They have qualified seven times for the FIFA World Cup, more than any other African team (in 1982, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014). However, the team has only made it once out of the group stage. They were the first African team to reach the quarter-final of the World Cup, in 1990, losing to England in extra time. They have also won four Africa Cup of Nations titles.
TOP THREE PLAYERS
Nicolas Nkoulou: Much has been made about Joel Matip’s decision not to represent Cameroon at the Nations Cup, and while he’s a loss, the Lions already have one exceptional cultured defender – Lyon’s Nkoulou. He’s had a few testing days at OL since joining from Marseille in the summer, but has improved significantly and enjoys a strong relationship with Aurelien Chedjou.
Vincent Aboubakar: He’s not truly convinced at Bestikas, despite a few encouraging moments, and is yet to come close to realizing his quality in a major international tournament. Yet the promise is there – he’s scored three in the Champions League so far this term – and has found the net eight times in 14 international outings since the last Afcon. Can he keep these numbers up during the Nations Cup?
Benjamin Moukandjo: Has become a much more consistent contributor since swapping Reims for FC Lorient in 2015, and has scored 20 goals in the season and a half since moving to Brittany. With seven in 15 so far this term, he heads into the Afcon in fine fettle, and at 28, he may never have a better opportunity to win the Nations Cup.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
The Lions won Group M without losing a game, and while they conceded just twice, they were hardly convincing in a pair of draws against South Africa. They scored just seven goals in six matches against fairly limited opponents; only three fellow qualifiers scored fewer.
FULL 23-MAN SQUAD AFCON
GOALKEEPERS: Fabrice Ondoa (FC Séville, Spain), Jules Goda (AC Ajaccio, France), Georges Mbokwe (Coton Sport de Garoua).
DEFENDERS: Nicolas Nkoulou (Lyon, France), Ambroise Oyongo (Impact Montréal, Canada), Mohamed Djeitei (Nastic Tarragona, Spain), Fai Collins (Standard Liège, Belgium), Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui (Slavia Prague, Czech Rep.), Adolphe Teikeu (Sochaux, France), Jonathan Ngwem (FC Progresso, Angola), Ernest Mabouka (MSK Zilina, Slovakia).
MIDFIELDERS: Sébastien Siani (Ostende, Belgium), Georges Mandjeck (Metz, France), Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian, Scotland), Franck Boya (Apejes).
ATTACKERS: Vincent Aboubakar (Besiktas, Turkey), Benjamin Moukandjo (Lorient, France), Jacques Zoua (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Edgar Salli (Saint-Gallen, Switzerland), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Angers, France), Clinton Njie (Marseille, France), Robert Ndip Tambe (Spartak Trnava, Slovakia), Christian Bassogog (Aalborg, Danemark).