Hosts Cameroon are one of the teams to keep an eye on in the upcoming AFCON tournament.
The indomitable lions will look to lift the trophy for the first time since 2017. They are in the same group as Ethiopia and The Waliyas will not have an easy task when they go head-to-head with the 5-time Champions. We spoke to Cameroon Football journalist Njie Enow ahead of the showcase on January 9.
How has the preparation for Cameroon been so far?
The preparation for The Africa cup operations has been pretty smooth especially because a few months ago Cameroon hosted the African nation’s football championship and a lot of the facilities that will be used for the AFCON we’re used back then.
The only worry was that of the 60000 sitter stadium in Olympia where the opening ceremony and one of the games were to be played but overall we’ve had a decent preparation for the tournament. There’re obviously concerns about security in the Southwest of the West region where there’s been a successionist movement but the raw things should go on well.
Which star do you expect to shine in this tournament and who should we keep an eye on?
I think Sadio Mane just regained his goalscoring mojo heading to the Afcon, Riyad Mahrez is one to watch out for as well. Zambo Anguissa is in the form of his life so I think he can do wonderful things during the tournament. Mohammed Salah is an out of this world player who needs no introduction and I think he will get things right.
What do you think of Ethiopia as an opposition?
Ethiopia are a decent team. Even Cameroon’s coach said it. They have a very competitive domestic championship and a good crop of players. They wouldn’t be any pushovers and their recent display against Ghana shows their mettle.
Do you think the Cameroon team is better than the one who won AFCON in 2017?
This team right now has lost just 2 games in 16 and this was under appalling conditions. They’ve scored more and defended better but until they win the Afcon they aren’t as good as 2017 especially as the Afcon is the yardstick.
Would anything other than a title be a disappointment?
Only 7 teams have hosted the Afcon and won. All of Cameroon’s five titles were won elsewhere so we need to be cautiously optimistic.
Tell us a little about the coach, Toni Conceição, and his philosophy or approach to games?
Soft spoken Portuguese loves having a personal relationship with his players and he relishes high octane football.