FIFA Confederations Cup history
Cameroon will be making their third FIFA Confederations Cup appearance at Russia 2017, having graced the competition twice in a row at the start of the millennium. The Indomitable Lions experienced a baptism of fire at Korea/Japan 2001, suffering 2-0 defeats to Brazil and Japan before exiting the tournament on a positive note with a 2-0 victory over Canada. In France two years later, a youthful Samuel Eto’o struck to give Cameroon a 1-0 win over the Brazilians, with the Africans then scoring late on to edge Turkey by the same scoreline before playing out a goalless draw with USA. Pius N’Diefi’s winner in the semi-final against Colombia was tragically overshadowed when Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed on the field of play and died shortly afterwards. A grief-stricken Cameroon side then went on to lose to Thierry Henry’s golden goal in the final against France, though the result was of little importance.

The Road to Russia 2017
Despite a glorious past and its four continental titles, Cameroon went into the CAF Africa Cup of Nations Gabon 2017 as outsiders, with a young and largely inexperienced squad and with confidence low after a string of disappointing results at recent international competitions. But just as Côte d’Ivoire did in 2015, winning the title shortly after the retirement of Didier Drogba, the Indomitable Lions made light of the fact the legendary Eto’o is no longer around, upsetting the odds to secure the continental crown once more.

After a slow start in the group, which saw them draw 1-1 with Burkina Faso and 0-0 with the hosts, the Cameroonians squeezed into the knockout phase with a 2-1 defeat of Guinea-Bissau. Though they went into their quarter-final with Senegal as underdogs, Hugo Broos’ charges held their opponents at bay in two hours of goalless football before progressing 5-4 on penalties. Semi-final opponents Ghana were also tipped to end their run, but late goals from Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui and Christian Bassogog saw Cameroon through to a final against Egypt. Though they fell behind in the first half, the surprise finalists – rallied by their nucleus of more experienced players – reacted after the restart, with Nicolas Nkoulou and Vincent Aboubakar scoring the goals that brought the country a fifth Africa Cup of Nations win.

The coach
A former Anderlecht and Belgium defender and a member of the side that reached the semi-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™, Hugo Broos is in his first job as a national team coach, having been appointed in early 2016. In securing the Africa Cup of Nations trophy one year into his tenure, he has already shown what he can do. After spells with a number of clubs in Belgium and brief stints in Greece, Turkey and Algeria, Broos did not receive the most enthusiastic of welcomes from the Cameroon fans, who doubted his ability to revive the national team’s fortunes in what have been challenging times - a task beyond his immediate predecessors. Yet, instead of lamenting the absence of figures of the calibre of Eto’o, Alexandre Song, Pierre Webo and Stephane Mbia, the Belgian has fashioned a solid and balanced side in record time, giving a chance to relative unknowns such as Fabrice Ondoa, Christian Bassogog, Sebastien Siani, Collins Faye and Frank Boya.

Key players
Fabrice Ondoa (goalkeeper), Benjamin Moukandjo (forward), Christian Bassogog (midfielder)

The stat
0 - No African team has ever won the Confederations Cup. Cameroon’s run to the final in 2003, when they went down to that Henry golden goal, is the best performance to date by the continent’s representatives in the competition.