Jean II Makoun might not be too familiar to a lot of people, but he has been an essential part of the Cameroon side for the past six years, winning nearly 50 caps since 2004. This means he has been involved in almost all of the Indomitable Lions’ 60 matches over the same period.
The defensive midfielder is one of those low-profile players who make a crucial contribution to their teams but never get much of the media limelight. As a battling competitor who also boasts very good technical skills, he makes an excellent link between defence and attack. Headed goals from set pieces are another speciality, even though he stands just 1.73m tall.
Makoun trained in Cameroon before being spotted in 1999 during the CAF African U-17 Championship in Guinea by the former Cameroon keeper, Joseph-Antoine Bell, who suggested he should try out for some French sides. The first club turned out to be the right one, and he ended up staying at Lille for ten years, even notching up two UEFA Champions League campaigns. By 2008, however, it was time for a new challenge, when he followed his coach and mentor, Claude Puel, to Lyon, where he now wears the number 17 shirt in memory of his friend Marc-Vivien Foe.
Known as Jean II to distinguish himself from his father, also a professional footballer, Makoun will be playing in his first FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, after seeing action in all four of the most recent CAF Africa Cup of Nations.