Indomintable Lions want fair financial package but then produce woeful performance.

June 14, 2014 1:18 am0 comments by:


Indomitable Lions of Cameroon played their first 2014 FIFA World Cup group game against Mexico yesterday. It was raining on the day, match referee made 2 big favourable decisions for Cameroon and the opposition did not have a solid defence. Against this backdrop, Cameroon still lost one nil after having two goals scored against them disallowed in error.
The first question to ask Volker Finke (Cameroon Coach) is what went wrong on the day. The reason for a defeat is a standard question to a team that lost a football match. The manager has given the reasons for the defeat at the press conference. You may agree or disagree to the reasons given. The players have also been directed with the same question. As usual, they take blame for the defeat and assure press, fans and anyone who cares to listen that it would improve for the game against Croatia. The follow up question requesting for further explanation as to the reason for the bad performance.
You get a shrug of the shoulders and maybe a brief excuse such as bad defence. Is it acceptable to take the blame and assure fans that the performance will improve for the next game? In my view, it would be okay if this is the first, second or third instance. But, the fact is that it is more times than you can easily count. It happened recently during the qualifiers for this world cup and also for the 2014 African Cup of Nations. The last good performance was 1990 about 24 years ago and they have performed badly a dozen times.

It was very disappointing considering the players arrived at Brazil later than planned due to financial dispute.The team felt that it was fair to request for better financial package, then produce woeful performance after resolving the dispute. The performance against Mexico, who have never beaten an African nation lacked cohesion,urgency and determination. The third and only goal allowed for Mexico shows the lack determination or discipline to close gaps at the back. Fans would understand, if the space was available at the defence because the team committed players to attack the opposition. It was not the case, Cameroon had fewer shots on target and less possession stats.
The difference in the number of fouls made indicates a match involving an African team against another team from a different continent. You might think it is a bad reflection or lack of technical skill, and it is unfair to jump to that outcome. The reason is simply that African players are always committed to tackles and do not shy away. Today, I counted in one hand the number of committed tackles or interceptions (Mexico 11 and Cameroon 12 tackles). The Cameroon players can state that it is difficult to keep a high tempo in a competitive match. This will be a valid point, if the weather is hot but yesterday it was raining and so no excuse for tiredness. Everyone, knows it is easier on a rainy day to play a physical high tempo for the full 90 minutes.
I believe the lack of urgency and determination to win the ball  lies in the balance of team. You have a better chance to exert pressure on the opposition, when the right players are in the right positions. Yesterday, most of the Mexico’s counter play came in the right wing. Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left back was exposed on numerous times and this was reduced once the cameroon coach switched to a 4-4-2. The formation implored at the start helped the opposition to dominate 62% possession and could counter attack with ease.
Cameroon only started becoming an attacking threat, once Pierre Webo partnered with Samuel Eto. This produced most of the 13 shots (1 on target)  and 5 corner kicks for Cameroon ( 2 for Mexico).
In reality, Mexico deserved to win the match but it would have been great if Cameroon at least got a draw. Football is not always won by the team that deserves it, sometimes a team can nick it. Cameroon did not nick and now have to win against Croatia and Brazil.
It is unfortunate that Finke Cameroon Coach did not start with a 4-4-2 formation. It would be interesting to know whether it would have altered the results. It is guaranteed that the performance would have been better than the timid display. We hope that any analysis or outcome from the brief helps the team to produce a better performance. It is difficult to picture Cameroon getting a result against Brazil but it is possible against Croatia.
I just hope that the Cameroon Coach gets the balance, strategy and motivation right for the next game against Croatia. This game is similar to the first game against Mexico, as both opposition can play well and also play badly on any given day. As it stands, they have to win it to stand any chance of qualifying from the group.
It would be difficult to argue for a fair financial package, if you cannot even put in a fair performance on the pitch. Next stop for the African continent  is Cote d’ Ivoire against Japan.
I hope the Coach Lamouche  gets the team right and is brave enough to play Bony, if Drogba fails to make an  impact in the first half.

Obioma Aguocha

Self Publisher:The Guide to being the Best(Paperback) 2007 &Sporting Success Simplified (E-book) 2012


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