Cameroon have played many high stakes games before but this one against the Comoros is different.
When Clarence Seedorf took over as coach of the Indomitable Lions he certainly did not think he would be facing a must-win game on the final matchday of the 2019AFCON qualifiers. Back in August 2018, Cameroon had an automatic place in the finals as hosts of the tournament.
Fast forward to March 2019 and they are 2nd in their group behind Morocco who have already qualified, within reach of 3rd place Comoros whom they have to beat to qualify for the Cup of Nations, now to be hosted by Egypt.
Forget that the Lions are defending champions. They have to qualify as a matter of national pride, to make it to the finals of the showpiece tournament they were supposed to be hosting.
This is a dangerous game for Seedorf but it is also a golden opportunity for him to earn the trust of all Cameroonians, especially those who have questioned his choices up until now. If he can steer the Lions to an emphatic win on Saturday, he can buy himself some time to continue laying the groundwork for a stable team that can stand the test of time.
The Comoros meanwhile have smelled blood. They are on the verge of a historic Cup of Nations qualification – all that’s standing between them and Egypt is Cameroon – who, far from being indomitable, have shown they are vulnerable throughout the qualifiers.
First they drew one-one against the Comoros on the reverse fixture, then struggled to beat the other minnows in the group, Malawi, by only 1 nil in Yaounde and then drew zero-zero against them in the return game.
The Lions undoubtedly haven’t been indomitable and the Coelacanths can see that. All they have to do stay focused and pounce on an opportunity the moment it presents itself.
This is why the Lions have to stay on their guard and not let up for any minute during that game. The goalkeeper – most likely Andre Onana or Fabrice Ondoa – needs to be on top of his game.
Fai Collins or Gaetan Bong or anyone else who is fielded in the back cannot afford a second of distraction and needs to mark his designated opponent nonstop. The midfield needs to stay tight and we hope to see the likes of Kunde Malong being the phenomenal whizzes we know them to be.
Most importantly, Choupo Moting, Clinton Njie, Jean Pierre Nsame, or whoever is upfront have to, not only to create tons of opportunities but convert them as well to avoid any nasty surprises.
The Indomitable Lions have not lost at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in 30 years. This is definitely not the time to break with tradition. They simply cannot start losing now.