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Hugo Broos Promises To Uplift Indomitable Lions 

Despite widespread talk that the new Indomitable Lions coach, Hugo Broos, has a poor record of accomplishment, he has promised to do more than his best to secure good performances for the national team. The former Belgian international who converted into coaching is already preparing for the game against South Africa in March. He says he knows the game style to implant. The Belgian champion in 1992 and 1996 with FC Bruges, 2004 with Anderlecht, two-time winner of the Belgian Cup and four times Coach of the Year in Belgium, also spoke about African football and supporters.
Excerpts:
Hugo Broos

Mr. Broos, how would you rate your reception in Cameroon?

I was very surprised. I didn’t know that presenting a coach was such an important thing for a country. I had a different picture in mind of a small ceremony, but really it is important in this country, who the national coach is. I know that it happens too in Belgium but it is more intense here, too many people, journalists and guests.

Did that make you measure how Cameroonians love football?

Yes, I know from some Cameroonian players in my team. When I spoke with them, I understood football is important for the people and the Minister; everybody likes football and everybody depends on football. If someone said the love for football is intense in Cameroon I wouldn’t understand, but I can now feel it.

You have been in Cameroon for these few days what plans have you?

I think in the next days and weeks, the most important thing is to know who is who, who does what and responsible for what? I know the team and the names of the players and my assistant, Alexandre Belinga, will provide me with more information. We are also working toward the game against South Africa.

Did you know the Cameroon national team before you came; their play style?

I have watched two videos already, the players and their play style. But before now, I knew Aboubakar, Song, Nkoulou. I know the players, but it is always a little bit different when playing in the national team. In the next weeks, I will look for games they have played before and certainly look for DVDs of the South African team.

I was coming to that, how well do you know the South African team?

Yes, I saw them play during the last African Nations Cup, it is a good and tough team and it would be a difficult game.

How do you evaluate African football; can you compare Algeria and Cameroon?

Algerian do not have a strong competition. They are professional but they don’t behave like professionals, both players and officials. However, they have a very good national team, with players in Europe and no local player in the national team. I know African football; I followed the last African Nations Cup very closely, all the games were on television. I know what African football is, but there are lot of differences in teams, some tough, some playing British football and like South Africa, playgood football. I will know in six months. Let’s hope we qualify for the Nations Cup, then I will learn more.


You know that football is full of support, fans who are like 20 million coaches?

(Laughs) You know already the World Cup in South Africa showed already what Africa is about supporters. I know what supporters; the 12th man can do for the national team. But they are also critical when the team does not do well. I hope to know Cameroonian supporters when we win; it is more fun than when we lose.

What is your take on those who say you have not won any big international competition and not coached a national team?

I am little bit surprised that some people are making a problem of that. I know a club and national team are different. You work with the players in a club every day, but with a national team for five times a year. Secondly, when training a club the choice is easier because the players are there, the coach is close to them and knows their performances, but at the end, you are playing football with 11, at the club and national team. I have to recognise that it is different but it is not a problem because there is always a first time for every coach to become the coach of a national team.

What would you do if someone tried to interfere with your job?

It is finished. I left JS Kabylie (Algeria) because one day the President of the club wanted to make the line-up with me, so I said either you are the trainer or I become the Chairman or vice versa, so don’t interfere in my role. I said this is my last game, it is finished. We won the game and were first in the league, and I left.

Do you have an idea of what you will tell the players in your first meeting?

Yes, I know exactly what I will tell the players, but I have to put it in writing.

Any message to Cameroonians; what do you promise them in the coming days?

I never promise because in football it is dangerous, the only thing I can say is that I will do more than my best for the national team to secure good results and good performances.

Interviewed by Leocadia Bongben

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