Despite their premature exit, the team demonstrated that it could do better if better harnessed.
The premature exit of the Indomitable Lions from the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea has obscured the fact that the team was under reconstruction and that the objective was not winning in Equatorial Guinea but in Cameroon in 2019 when the country host the competition. It may sound awkward for one to sing the praises of the Lions at a time emotions are high and everyone is hitting out at the players.
However, if one keeps away emotion and looks the squad with some discernment and detachment, one would realise the Lions accomplished so much for a team under reconstruction just six months old. While admitting that no one would have spat on a fifth continental consecration for the Lions on the way to the 2019 AFCON, we should not lose sight of the fact that the boys demonstrated some positive qualities which offer a glimmer of hope within the perspective of hosting and winning the competition in 2019. There is still a chance for the Lions to sharpen their claws in Cocircte d’Ivoire 2017 before the much expected 2019 edition.
Among the positive signs shown by the Lions in Equatorial Guinea was the return of the so called fighting spirit which has been missing in the team for a long time as well as good team spirit and availability of immense individual talents. As concerns the fighting spirit, the Lions demonstrated in all three games that they had the zeal to play.
Though they didn’t maintain the same tactical discipline as in the qualifiers probably due to pressure, the Lions showed some sequences of good collective play. The mood in the team was however tainted by rumours about differences among some players born out of lack of information or a vacuum in communication between the press and the team as Cameroon journalists didn’t have access to the squad to confirm or negate allegations. They only had a fifteen minute opening before training sessions to take still and motion pictures without the opportunity to ask questions except during pre-match or after match press conferences. Nature does not like void and information lacuna breeds rumours.
The most important positive lesson from the Lions participation at the 2015 AFCON in Equatorial Guinea is the availability of budding talents epitomized in Goal keeper Ondoa Joseph and Njie Clinton. There are also Salli Edgar and Benjamin Moukandjo who incarnate the new fighting spirit of the Lions. The important thing is that the average age of the group is below 23 years, which means the players still have a great margin of progression.
The 2015 AFCON has been a great experience for most of them who now know the difference between a qualifier match and a tournament. By 2019, they will be having at least two AFCON experiences and this is a non-negligible asset. The Lions might have lost the battle but not the war. Besides the fell arm in hand and were far from ridiculous as they didn’t concede many goals.
Source : Cameroon Tribune