Cameroon fans were not happy with their team’s performance yesterday. Many expected them to win especially after Senegal’s 1-0 win over France the previous day.
Cameroon were the favourites but at the end of the match they were lucky to have snatched a point.
I blame it all on tactical mistakes on the part of coach Winfried Schaefer. He kept Patrick Mboma too long on the pitch. And when he rested him, I thought he should have brought in Ndieffi instead of Patrick Suffo.
Those who followed Cameroon at the Africa Nations Cup finals in Mali in March will agree with me that Ndieffi proved a better man compared to Mboma. He goes back to collect the ball, he can run it, avoid tackles and creat scoring chances. He can also score. The only thing Mboma can do is score- in most cases, only one goal in a match. His only other advantage over Ndieffi is that he has a much bigger name.
On three occasions in the second half Mboma needed to make a run to create space. He did not. He prefers that his wingers do whatever they can to get a cross over. On a day when the likes of Eto’o and Olembe were not at their best it was asking to much expecting defenders to run in crosses on top of their other defence responsibilities.
Schaefer should have brought in Ndieffi early in the second half. That is the time Cameroon needed someone with the ability to have the ball in the opposition goal area regularly. Suffo did not do that. He played more in his own half and no wonder instead of the substitution changing Cameroon’s fortunes positively it gave Ireland the advantage.
As time ticked away, it was obvious that Ireland were the more likely to pull a dramatic last minute winner. We prayed that it stays at 1-1 and thanked God when it ended so.
Senegal beat France because they went into the match to play whatever football they knew. They arrived there and did exactly that. It was the same Senegal that we saw in Mali in March. They never tried to complicate themselves and they were rewarded. I doubt that even with Zinedine Zidane in the French midfield things would have changed. After all the French team had all the big names that you can think of. And that was their undoing. Coach Lamere never seemed to know what to do with his stars. So he sent them to the pitch and there they were for 90 minutes playing like a radar less ship at sea.
I have always had a liking for the Germans- since the good old days of Football Made in Germany. They are the only side that knows that football is about going at your opponent’s goal- at the shortest time possible. So they will do everything to get the ball further away from their goal. They are never ashamed of their style of play so long as it gives them goals and keeps their goal protected.
That is why they threw everything at Saudi Arabia yesterday and were rewarded with a great start. Another team would have underrated the Arabs and would be mourning now.