The first name usually associated with the current Cameroon side is Samuel Eto'o, but the prolific Barcelona striker is far from the only player of note in Otto Pfister's line-up.
Since the German coach took over, a number of new faces have established themselves as important figures for the five-time African champions. More or less already known to a wider public, Andre Bikey, Alexandre Song, Stephane Mbia, Atchoyi Somen and Gilles Binya have all continued their development since finishing runners-up at the 2008 CAF African Cup of Nations, where they lost 1-0 to Egypt in the final.
To that list of hungry young talents should be added the name Paul Alo'o Efoulou, the SCO Angers striker having enjoyed an excellent end to the season. Called up for the first time in March, he celebrated his international debut during the second half of the Indomitable Lions' 1-0 loss to Togo.
"I found it to be very different from life at club level," he told FIFA.com. "I could feel the expectations of the entire nation but above all I had a great time and I felt like I'd always been a part of the squad." The speed with which he integrated was evident from the stands too, with Alo'o Efoulou providing a constant threat to the Sparrowhawks' defence.
Since then, the Yaounde native has continued to be at the forefront of Angers' excellent season and was last weekend voted Player of the Year in France's Ligue 2. "I was surprised, although I have to admit I was really hoping to win this trophy. To be selected by your peers is even more significant and gratifying than by journalists."
I could feel the expectations of the entire nation but above all I had
a great time and I felt like I'd always been a part of the squad.
It was also the perfect way to end his adventure outside the top flight, as the 25-year-old will be plying his trade with Ligue 1 outfit Nancy next term. Nicknamed 'Paulo', he looks to be following in the footsteps of Didier Drogba and Franck Ribery, both of whom came to prominence later on in their careers.
First spotted while playing football in his school playground, Alo'o Efoulou was just 17 when he made his first appearance in Cameroon's second division with ASM Yaounde. From there he moved to Europe in 2002, struggling to make his mark at Belgian outfit Excelsior Mouscron before eventually finding his feet at fourth-tier French side Racing Club de France. Something clicked for him at the Parisian club and in the next five years he plundered 77 goals, during spells with RCF, third-division Entente Sannois St-Gratien and Ligue 2 outfit Angers.
"Even when I was playing in the CFA (fourth division), my goal was to one day play at a very high level," he explained. "I tell myself that if I had the strength to excel myself back then, I can't stop now when I'm within touching distance of my dream. It should encourage me to work even harder, just to stay at this level."
That faultless determination has served Alo'o Efoulou well until now and he looks set to continue reaping the rewards, with many expecting him to start up front alongside Eto'o in Cameroon's next few matches. "I know that the moment will come when the coach will give me my chance. Now I have everything to prove. I'm still learning a lot from my team-mates."
He will need to learn fast, as Cameroon's loss to Togo in their opening Group A game has left them with their backs to the wall as they head into the month of June and a critical period on the road to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. With Morocco due to visit on 7 June and Pfister's men then expected in Gabon 13 days later, the Indomitable Lions cannot afford to collect fewer than four points from those matches.
"The demands surrounding the Cameroon team are such that, despite our positive display overall, coming home from Togo with a loss was a very bad performance," said Alo'o Efoulou. "On the other hand, it puts everyone in their place. There are now five qualifiers left and it won't be easy, but Cameroon absolutely have to qualify for the World Cup. We need to take maximum points at home, starting with the match against Morocco – and even more so because if we win we'll feel a lot stronger ahead of our Gabon trip."
An international debut, a first individual honour and an imminent move to a Ligue 1 club: so far 2009 has been a year loaded with dreams come true for Alo'o Efoulou. All he needs now is to open his account for the Indomitable Lions and book his first ever ticket to a FIFA World Cup.