Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen has called on his team to live up to their nickname and produce a lion-hearted performance against Denmark tomorrow night in a FIFA World Cup™ encounter that is crucial for both sides.
Neither nation were able to pick up anything from their opening Group E matches, with Cameroon going down 1-0 to Japan and Denmark suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Netherlands. It means another loss for either side at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium evening could spell the end of the road for the losers, depending on what happens in the earlier match between the two group leaders.
For Cameroon, with group favourites thw Netherlands to come in their final match, tomorrow's game is potentially decisive and Le Guen wants his team - nicknamed the Indomitable Lions - to stand up and be counted. "I think they (the players) need to face up to their responsibilities," said Le Guen. "I assume my own responsibilities 100% without any reservations, I put the team together, I decide on tactics, but the players also have their responsibilities and they have to find a spirit."
"We often talk about them being lions and having a leonine spirit, and I hope very much that they find this spirit in the match tomorrow," he added. "That's something we've been discussing since we played Japan because there were certain players who underperformed, especially compared to how they played in previous matches, but I think we need to find this very specific spirit, this leonine spirit, which I hope will enable us to get a result. I think we had it in the autumn, there was a dynamic and an atmosphere in the team, and we need to make sure the same atmosphere prevails tomorrow."
Le Guen also revealed he would be making at least three changes to the team that took the field against Japan, describing their performance in that match as disappointing and not good enough. The Frenchman opted for an attacking 4-3-3 formation against their group rivals but then saw his side struggle to create many opportunities aside from Stephane Mbia's late effort that hit the bar.
"We weren't good enough, we weren't as good as we could have been. We're disappointed, and quite legitimately so, and we need to take stock of that," he said. "I will make a few changes, there will be three new players in the starting line-up, and there will perhaps be one or two changes elsewhere. I do my job as a coach and as a selector and I'm fully aware of the responsibilities that I have. I obviously have some guidelines but I'm not going to be stubborn and if I think if things need to be changed, then I'm going to change them."