At the end of the month, the decisive matches of the World Cup qualifiers are coming up – and especially in the African countries, the tension is high and new impulses are being sought. After Ghana and Nigeria, Cameroon is now also changing its coach before the start of the play-offs. The new man on the sidelines of the indomitable lions is an old acquaintance from European football: Rigobert Song, Cameroon’s record international and former player for 1 FC Cologne, FC Liverpool and Galatasaray Istanbul, among others.
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Record international for the Indomitable Lions
Rigobert Song has played 137 times for the Cameroon national team. He has yet to make a name for himself as a coach in club football. However, Song is no stranger to the national team: from 2016 to 2018, the former defender was the coach of Cameroon’s so-called A-Team, a selection of Cameroonian professionals who play in the domestic football league. In 2018, he was the temporary interim coach of the national team. In 2016, Song suffered a stroke and was temporarily in a coma. However, Song has since made a full recovery. Most recently, Song coached his country’s U23 national team.
Toni Conceicao is dismissed by President Biya
Now Song has been directly appointed national coach by Cameroonian President Paul Biya. Previously, Biya fired his predecessor Toni Conceicao.
Despite a third-place, the Africa Cup was a big disappointment for the country – as hosts, they had hoped for more. Conceicao failed to lead the team to the final with all its superstars and a euphoric crowd behind them. Many experts criticised his personnel decisions heavily. For example, the most experienced national player, FC Bayern striker Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting, was only on the bench for the entire tournament.
A tough challenge for Cameroon: Algeria
A tough task now awaits Rigobert Song in the World Cup qualifiers. The indomitable lions will meet the team from Algeria. The first leg will take place in Yaounde on Friday, 25 March. Only four days later, the return match will be decisive. Will Cameroon make it to the World Cup again? Hard to imagine a World Cup without them.
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