Former Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham and Barcelona stars are part of Cameroon’s star-studded all-time greatest squad.
Cameroon are Africa’s most successful footballing nation on the international stage, having played in a record seven World Cup’s and being the first African country to reach the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup in 1990, when England required extra time to overcome the Indomitable Lions.
In addition to their impressive World Cup showings, Cameroon reached the Confederations Cup final in 2003, where they lost to France, and have won the African Cup of Nations five times, most recently in 2017.
They also won Gold at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where Samuel Eto’o inspired them to victory over a Spain side containing Joan Capdevila, Carles Puyol and Xavi, among others.
Below is Cameroon’s definite 15 man squad, plus their 8 reserves from which you choose which 3 join the initial 15 to create a final 18 man squad.
Unusually for an African national team, Cameroon have an excellent pedigree when it comes to goalkeepers, with more depth only up front than they have between the sticks. The finest of the bunch, Thomas N’Kono, had an imposing and aggressive goalkeeping style, with excellent reflexes and agility. Widely regarded as the greatest African goalkeeper of all-time, Gianluigi Buffon said he was inspired by N’Kono as a youngster. He won 112 caps for Cameroon and spent much of his career in La Liga with Espanyol.
Whilst N’Kono is widely regarded as the better of the two, it was Joseph-Antoine Bell who was named Africa’s Goalkeeper of the Century in 1999 by IFFHS. A capable deputy if ever there was one, Bell won 52 caps for Cameroon, featuring in three World Cup’s, one Olympic Games and a handful of African Cup of Nations. A title winner in Egypt, Bell later played in France, turning out for Marseille, Toulon, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne.
This squads designated right-back is former Arsenal Invincible – Lauren. Predominantly a right sided midfield player in Spain prior to his arrival in north London, Arsene Wenger transformed him into an effective attacking full-back, and he made 242 appearances in six years at Highbury. Lauren won 24 caps for Cameroon and won two Premier League titles and three FA Cup’s with the Gunners, adding another FA Cup triumph with Portsmouth before retiring.
Cameroon’s greatest centre-back and one of the best Africa has produced as a continent, Rigobert Song won 137 caps for Cameroon, winning the African Cup of Nations twice and reaching the final of the Confederations Cup. Song spent the bulk of his career with Metz in France and Galatasaray in Turkey, but also turned out for Liverpool and West Ham in the Premier League. He played in four World Cup’s for Cameroon, being sent off in two of them, a joint record he shares with Zinedine Zidane.
Versatile former Premier League ace Geremi can play in a raft of positions from right-back to centre-back, central midfield and even on the right side of midfield. A two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid and two-time Premier League champion at Chelsea, Geremi had a decorated career. He won 118 caps for Cameroon, winning Olympic Gold in 2000 and the AFCON in 2000 and 2002.
Unlike many in this squad, Emmanuel Kunde spent the bulk of his career playing in his native Cameroon, for Canon Yaounde, who were one of the most dominant sides in Africa during his decade at the club. Kunde later headed to France, aged 31, where he spent two years, turning out for Stade Lavallois and Stade de Reims. He won 66 caps for Cameroon and was an AFCON champion twice.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto has had an up-and-down career, not least with his national team, but ultimately deserves a place in this squad. After a shaky start to life at Tottenham Hotspur, Assou-Ekotto soon settled in nicely, spending almost a decade at Spurs and seemingly solving their left-back issue. Now with Metz in Ligue 1, the 33-year-old has been capped by Cameroon 24 times, but hasn’t played for his country since head-butting a teammate at the 2014 World Cup.
Another player who is still active within the game and another who has had a mixed career at times, Alex Song won 49 caps for Cameroon, and is currently playing in Russia with Rubin Kazan. The former Arsenal and Barcelona man has a La Liga title to his name and played 65 games in two seasons at the Nou Camp, but has never won a trophy with Cameroon.
An all too familiar story to the recent tragedy of Cheick Tiote, Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed in the 72nd minute of Cameroon’s 2003 Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia, and died later that day. A talented midfielder, Foe was just 28, but had already won 62 caps for his country, as well had played for the likes of Lens, Lyon, West Ham and Manchester City.
A clever footballer with super vision and an eye for a pass, Theophile Abega won 16 caps for Cameroon between 1976 and 1987. Nicknamed ‘the Doctor’ due to his intelligence on the pitch, Abega was Cameroon’s answer to Socrates. He spent almost his entire career in Cameroon barring a single season with Toulouse.
An attacking midfielder with an impressive goal scoring record, Cyrille Makanaky scored 93 goals in 289 games at club level for the likes of Toulon, Lens, Malaga and Villarreal. A member of the Indomitable Lions side which became the first African nation to progress to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990, Makanaky won 14 caps for his country.
The first winger in this squad, Salomon Olembe was a left sided midfielder who played football in France, England, Qatar, Turkey and Greece. Best known for his stints with Nantes and Marseille, Olembe won 64 caps for Cameroon, and played a big part in his countries 2002 African Cup of Nations triumph.
From midfield to attack, we start with Cameroon’s greatest ever footballing export. Samuel Eto’o is the most decorated African footballer of all-time, having won league titles in Spain and Italy, the Champions League on three occasions and much, much more. Eto’o won 118 caps for Cameroon, scoring 56 goals, making him Cameroon’s all-time leading goal scorer and he is just as prolific today aged 36, still scoring goals for fun in Turkey for Antalyaspor.
In becoming Cameroon’s greatest ever player, Roger Milla was the man Samuel Eto’o had to overtake. The timeless centre-forward who played with a smile on his face and practically invented the goal celebration scored 37 goals in 63 games for Cameroon.
Milla has scored the same amount of World Cup goals as Geoff Hurst and Lionel Messi, including famous strikes against Colombia and Russia, the latter of which made him the tournaments oldest ever goal scorer at 42.
It’s fair to say Cameroon have been pretty gifted when it comes to strikers, and Francois Omam-Biyik makes it a hat-trick of quality centre-forwards in the initial 15. The scorer of 45 international goals from just 77 caps, Omam-Biyik was also prolific at club level in Ligue 1 with Rennes, Cannes and Lens, and also in Mexico with the countries biggest side, Club America.
That’s it for Cameroon’s definite 15, now it’s over to you to pick which three reserve players get the nod and join the likes of Eto’o and Milla in Cameroon’s final 18. The eight reserve players to choose from are as follows:
1. Jacques Songo’o – Former Metz and Deportivo La Coruna goalkeeper – 98 caps
2. Bertin Ebwelle – Former Tonnerre Yaoundé, Bali United and Olympic Mvolyé full-back – 47 caps
3. Raymond Kalla – Former Extremadura and Bochum midfielder – 63 caps
4. Louis Paul Mfede – Former Stade Rennais midfielder – 44 caps
5. Stephen Tataw – Former Olympic Mvolyé and Tosu Futures full-back – 43 caps
6. Emmanuel Koum – Former Grenoble, Monaco and Chaumont striker – Unknown number of caps
7. Jean Manga-Onguene – Former Canon Yaounde forward – 7 caps
8. Patrick M’Boma – Former Cagliari and Parma forward – 57 caps