Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o hopes he can transfer stunning club form to the national team tomorrow when they play a friendly in Macedonia. The Inter Milan striker has bagged 27 goals in all competitions this season for the reigning World, European and Italian champions, including a brace in a 5-3 weekend Serie A triumph over Roma.
And he will need all his predatory penalty-area instincts as Macedonia held England goalless at Wembley last year and are making a big push to appear at the Euro championship finals for the first time next year.
Cameroon legend Roger Milla has frequently criticised Eto'o, saying he does not replicate club form in Europe when he dons the green, red and yellow of the 'Indomitable Lions'. Eto'o did score twice last August when Cameroon triumphed 3-0 in Poland - the last time they played in Europe - before mixed Africa Cup of Nations results with an easy win in Mauritius followed by a home draw with DR Congo.
Since succeeding Rigobert Song as skipper two years ago, Eto'o has failed to deliver with a timid 2010 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals exit followed by a disastrous FIFA World Cup™ campaign in South Africa. The toothless 'Lions' lost to Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands and suffered the humiliation of being the first country eliminated from the quadrennial 32-nation tournament.
Fall-out from the FIFA World Cup debacle included goalkeeper Carls Kameni and midfielders Alex Song and Achille Emana being axed, but Kameni has been recalled, and Spanish coach Javier Clemente recently toured Europe trying to mend fences.
Nigeria looking turn the corner
Everton striker Victor Anichebe has been called up by Nigeria for a hastily arranged Lagos friendly against Sierra Leone after plans to play Guatemala in Miami fell through.
He steps in for injured Newcastle goal poacher Shola Ameobi and other English Premiership strikers in contention for starting places include Peter Odemwingie of West Bromwich and Victor Obinna of West Ham.
Former Nigeria star 'Jay Jay' Okocha slammed the 'Super Eagles' recently, claiming the two-time African champions were no longer among the leading national teams on the continent.
"Everything is wrong ... the footballers, the coaches and the management, and suporters of the 'Super Eagles' expect far too much," he said during a TV interview. "Our footballers are overrated. I do not think we have more than five Nigerians who playing regularly in Europe. Is it any wonder they are now referred to as the 'Super Chickens'?"
There are 13 friendles involving African teams, including Morocco, South Africa and Zambia, who are preparing for Cup of Nations qualifiers in late March.