With Paul Le Guen’s 30-man provisional World Cup roster being announced soon, it’s time to predict who will be representing The Indomitable Lions in South Africa.
ON THE PLANE: Carlos Kameni (Espanyol), Guy N'Dy Assembe (Valenciennes), Hamidou Souleymanou (Kayserispor)
ON THE BUBBLE: Joslain Mayebi (Beitar Jerusalem)
ANALYSIS: Kameni, the longtime goalkeeper for Spanish La Liga side Espanyol, is Cameroon’s first choice to defend the back of the net. Having made his first International cap at the age of 17, and selected to the 2002 FIFA World Cup at the age of 18, Kameni, now 26, is a young veteran presence with enough big games under his belt to not crumble under pressure on the world stage.
Assembe and Souleymanou are both solid backup options to Kameni, and Mayebi, out of the Ligat Toto, has an outside shot looking in, and will only be called upon due to injury.
ON THE PLANE: Benoît Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham), Rigobert Song (Trabzonspor), Geremi Njitap (Ankaragücü), Sebastien Bassong (Tottenham), André Bikey (Burnley), Aurelien Chedjou (Lille), Nicolas Nkoulou (Monaco)
ON THE BUBBLE: Henri Bedimo (RC Lens), Pierre Womé (Köln), Timothée Atouba (Ajax), Marcel Ndjeng (Augsburg), Armand Deum (Gaziantepspor)
ANALYSIS: The greatest depth on the Cameroonian side lies in its defense. With Assou-Ekotto, Bassong, and Bikey playing in the Barclays Premier League last season, facing off against world-class strikers won’t be anything new.
Rigobert Song, the most capped player in Cameroon history is starting to show his age, but with his knowledge and experience playing on the world stage (playing in the 1994, 1998, and 2002 World Cups) he could wind up becoming a difference maker. Expect Cameroon to bring in additional defenders who are on the bubble to training camp.
ON THE PLANE: Alexandre Song (Arsenal), Joël Matip (Schalke), Jean Makoun (Lyon), Stephane Mbia (Marseille), Georges Mandjeck (Kaiserslautern), Enoh Eyong (Ajax), Landry N'Guémo (Celtic), Achille Emana (Real Betis), Somen A Tchoyi (Salzburg)
ON THE BUBBLE: Daniel Ngom Kome (Tenerife), Gilles Binya (Neuchâtel Xamax)
ANALYSIS: Alexandre Song is fast becoming a world-class defensive midfielder. The 22 year old regular for Arsenal was the only Cameroonian named to the 2010 African Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament. Matip is another one of Cameroon’s young prospects, at only 18 and having only one international appearance to his name, he could be one of the surprise breakout candidates of the tournament if given proper playing time.
Don’t be surprised if Daniel Ngom Kome sneaks onto the final roster to South Africa, as he’s currently playing in the Spanish La Liga, and has been solid in his 35 appearances on the national team.
ON THE PLANE: Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan), Paul Alo'o (Nancy), Pierre Webó (Mallorca), Mohamadou Idrissou (Freiburg)
ON THE BUBBLE: Albert Meyong Zé (Braga)
ANALYSIS: As I mentioned in my World Cup preview for Cameroon, Samuel Eto'o is the heart and soul of The Indomitable Lions, and is their most recognizable player. The Internazionale striker is set to play in the Champions League final for the second time in a row (last year with Barcelona) on May 22.
As Eto'o goes, so does The Indomitable Lions, and they need a world-class performance by their superstar to make a deep run in the cup. Paul Alo'o and Pierre Webó will most likely split time opposite Eto’o, and Idrissou will likely be brought on board for depth. Albert Meyong Zé is on the outside looking in.