- Cameroon head home with a taste for Russia ahead of FIFA World Cup qualifying
- Leave with invaluable time spent together
- *Coach Hugo Broos accepts work needs to be down to bridge gap with world's best *
By Pascal de Miramon with Cameroon* *
After three matches, Cameroon’s FIFA Cofederations Cup Russia 2017 adventure is over. Unable to repeat their run to the final in 2003, the Indomitable Lions picked up a solitary point on their first appearance on the global stage since their disappointing showing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
The Africans will nevertheless be taking away more than a few positives as they head home from Sochi.
*Contrasting experiences *The “Broos generation” came up against three different styles in their group matches: the tactical astuteness of Chile, the combativeness of Australia and the technique and possession-based play of Germany.
“We showed that we’ve got quality, but obviously we’ve still got work to do if we’re going to trouble the big boys,” Benjamin Moukandjo told FIFA.com on emerging from the dressing room.
*Targets for growth *“I’ve always said that Cameroon are one of the best sides in Africa, but that there’s still a big gap between them and modern teams like Germany,” said their Belgian coach Hugo Broos. “Cameroon doesn’t have any players in the big leagues any more. We absolutely need to improve our infrastructures and training.”
*Experience… *Time is a precious commodity in international football, which makes every gathering valuable. For a group of players that only came together in the autumn of 2016 and who play their club football in many different leagues, these three weeks as one unit will stand them in very good stead for the challenges that lie ahead.
*… for the future *The African qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia resume in a couple of months, with Cameroon facing a demanding schedule: a double-header against Nigeria on 28 August and 2 September, with a meeting against Algeria a month later.
“We’ve got a young team that’s only just getting acquainted with international competitions,” said a hopeful Moukandjo. “We’ve now got a better idea of where we stand, which will help us come back stronger next year and target the World Cup with a lot more going for us.”
*Reference points *Having had a taste of Russia, the Cameroonians want more. If they do manage to make it to the world finals next year, the experience they have had at the 2017 Tournament of Champions will work in their favour.
Smiles on faces
As they take their leave of the tournament, Broos’s charges do so with the same good humour they have shown throughout their stay in Russia, one of the strengths of this young and talented squad. They will also be taking away their famous ghetto blaster, which has provided the soundtrack to their appearances at the competition.