By Yana Nzumafo*
After months of speculation and rumors on his future, Volker Finke, recently confirmed by FECAFOOT as head coach of the Indomitable Lions, named his 25-man squad to take part in preparations against the upcoming AFCON 2015 qualifying matches, where the Lions are to face DR Congo and Ivory Coast.
Marking his second spell as head coach, Finke began by adding new faces to the squad. Just 10 of the 23 players who participated at the World Cup where called. Of the 13 players axed by the German born trainer, some familiar faces which where notably absent included Benoit Assou Ekotto, Jean II Makoun, Aurillien Chedjou and Alex Song who still serves suspension.
However, team Captain, Samuel Eto’o, who many expected would be called, was ignored by Finke. Those retained include, Enoh Eyong, Vincent Aboubakar, Landry Nguemo, Edgar Salli, Nikolas Nkoulo, Joel Matip, Gaetang Mbong, Stephan Mbia, Tchoupo Moting and Benjamin Moukanjo.
Amongst the 25 selected players, three are home-based talents who have impressed the German, namely: Cedric Djeugoue of Cotton Sport; Christian Zock who plays for Cosmos of Bafia; and Pierre Sylvain, Tonerre of Yaounde’s number one shot stopper. The 25 selected players comprise three keepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders, and seven attackers:
Guy Rolland Ndy Assambe of Guynamp in France, Pierre Sylvain Abogo who plays for Tonerre of Yaoundé and Fabrice Ondoua, FC Barcelona’s second team goalkeeper
Cedric Djeugoue of Coton Sport, Nikolas Nkoulou of Olympic de Marseille in France, Joel Matip of Shalke 04 in Germany, Gaetang Bong of Olympiackos Greece, Frank Bagnack of FC Barcelona, Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo of New York Red Bulls in the United States, and Jerome Guhota of Valencienne, France.
Enoh Eyong of Atylyspor Turkey, Stephen Mbia of FC Seville Spain, Landry Nguemo (club-less), Raoul Loe of Osasuna Spain, Edgar Salli of Monaco France, George Mandjeck of Kayseri Erciyesspor Turkey, Guy Christian Zock, Cosmos Bafia, and Mark Kibong a Mbamba of Koryaspor Turkey.
Eric Maxim Choupo Moting of Shalke 04 Germany, Benjamin Moukandjo of Nancy France, Vincent Aboubakar of FC Porto Portugal, Jean Marie Dongou of FC Barcelona Spain, Leonard Kweuke of Gaykur Rizespor Turkey, Clinton Njie of Lyon France and Franck Etoundi of FC Zurich Swiss
Despite rumours that Finke was going to be sacked, after a disappointing World Cup campaign, with names such as Pierre Ngue Ngue as possible successor to the German, also considering the performance of the national team in Brazil, it was expected that the former Fribourg Manager would turn in his resignation letter.
However, following the decision to retain Finke, the Lions’ den did not see change only in the squad, but was extended to the technical bench. Volker Finke would be assisted by Ghanaian Ibrahim Tanko whom he has been working with since taking over the national team as head coach. Meanwhile, one of the German tactician’s assistant, Martin Ndtoungou Mpile, finds his way out of the den, while under 20 coach, Alexander Balinga, takes over as second assistant and Bonaventure Djoukep as third.
Also, adding to these changes, goalkeeper coach, Jacques Songo’o is no longer with the national team; veteran goalkeeper, Aloum Boucar, has replaced him. Vincent de Paul Atangana takes over from Raphael Nkoa as the new team press officer, while Oyomo Ofone holds the position of national team Director, formerly held by Philemon Oumarani. Tamo Moktomo takes over from Boubakany Sidika as team Doctor.
With the reshuffle in the locker room and an almost new Indomitable Lion’s team, filled with a mixture of both local and international talent, expectations of football lover’s nationwide are high, as the team would travel to Kinshasa on September 6, to play DR Congo in one of their qualifying matches for the 2015 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, to take place in Morocco.
*(UB Journalism Student on Internship)