Ahead of this afternoon's final World Cup tune-up in Belgrade, word was handed down to the Cameroon Football Federation that Samuel Eto'o is suspended for the match against surprise World Cup qualifiers Serbia.
The suspension came, as expected, following Cameroon's mid-week friendly against Portugal. Less than 40 minutes into the match, the Cameroon captain was issued two yellow cards in barely a minute for arguing a goal and then committing a dangerous frustration foul against Portuguese defender Duda.
Nothing was said about Eto'o's eligibility for the World Cup, and it is believed he will be able to play in the Indomitable Lions' opening match against Japan on June 14.
The suspension may come as a mixed blessing, considering the rash of injuries that have struck over the last week, with England captain Rio Ferdinand, Ivorian striker Didier Drogba, and, just this afternoon, the Netherlands' Arjen Robben all going down to injuries that will threaten their World Cup participation.
However, with little time to prepare since having a week off following his Champions League Final win, Eto'o will head into the World Cup having only played 34 minutes with Cameroon since their friendly draw with Italy on March 3.
A week before the tournament, the super-talented Eto'o's ability to establish a rapport with the rest of Cameroon's attacking line remains the biggest question mark for the Lions and one of the keys to the fate of Group E.
With the Netherlands rounding into form, the expectation is that Cameroon will be battling for second place with Japan's Samurai Blue, who have never won a World Cup match outside of their own homogeneous archipelago, and Denmark, who have lost twice this week in friendly bouts with Australia and South Africa.
If Cameroon want to assert their claim to second place and perhaps challenge the injury-stricken Oranje for supremacy, players like Pierre Webó and Achille Emana are going to have to find a way to manufacture opportunities for their world-class countryman.
Uniform Numbers for the Traveling 23
Here, according to FIFA's Cameroon team page, are the uniform assignments of the Cameroon Indomitable Lions 2010 World Cup squad.
A few numbers of note: Eto'o, of course, is in his familiar No. 9. Emana and Jean Makoun are in their usual Nos. 10 and 11. Webó, who looks at this point to be manager Paul Le Guen's preferred second striker, will sport the No. 15 jersey.
Alex Song has recently begun to wear No. 6 (a conscious homage, or so I would like to imagine, to Arsenal legend Tony Adams!). Exciting young Celtic midfielder Landry N'Guemo, who may or may not start, will seek to channel Francois Omam-Biyik when he dons the No. 7, and Tottenham's strong-crossing wing defender, Benoît Assou-Ekotto, will wear No. 2.
Here's the full list, which can be found here with more complete bio and club info:
1. Idriss Carlos Kameni
2. Benoit Assou-Ekotto
3. Nicolas Nkoulou
4. Rigobert Song
5. Sebastien Bassong
6. Alexandre Song (come on, you Gunner!)
7. Landry N'Guemo
8. Geremi (Njitap)
9. Samuel Eto'o
10. Achille Emana
11. Jean Makoun
12. Gaetan Bong
13. Eric Choupo-Moting
14. Aurelien Chedjou
15. Pierre Webo
16. Souleymanou Hamidou
17. Mohammadou Idrissou
18. Eyong Enoh
19. Stephane Mbia
20. Georges Mandjeck
21. Joel Matip
22. Guy Ndy
23. Vincent Aboubakar
Allez les Lions!
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