Former Indomitable Lions head coach, Jules Frederic Nyongha has warned that the upcoming Africa cup of nations should not be a platform for preparing the world cup. To him those are two different competitions with differing stakes so Cameroon should not be caught in the web of trying to serve two masters at a time. The cute-looking head coach who takes delight in providing his technical expertise to his regional division two club took time to host Camfoot.com in his Ngousso residence where we had an exclusive chat with him on some burning issues.
Camfoot.com : Just some few weeks to the start of the Africa cup of nations, what is your position on Cameroon’s participation?
Jules Nyongha : You know as I was saying to some friends a while ago to some friends before you came in, the Africa Cup of Nations should not be a step of preparation for the World Cup ; because they are two different competitions. The world Cup is a totally different competition from the Africa Cup of Nations. So we are going to play the Africa cup of Nations to win the competition; we are not going there to try players for the world cup as I hear people say. So we should not go to Angola saying we are going to prepare for the world cup and if when things go wrong we will start bringing up excuses that we went there to prepare for the world cup. No, let us go to Angola to win the trophy.
Camfoot.com : So what is the road map in winning this competition?
Jules Nyongha : If we want to win, then everything must be put forward to give the opportunity to the coaches to work during these two or three weeks left for the preparations. The coaches have the obligation of preparing the team and taking the best talents to the Africa Cup of Nations in order to bring back the trophy. After the competition, we will have enough time to prepare for the world cup; I think we still have about five or six months to prepare.
Camfoot.com : Is it not already a negative point for Cameroon that all its opponents already have an elaborate program but theirs is yet to be established definitely?
Jules Nyongha : I think the head coach is aware of all these things and he knows fully well what he is doing. That is why I am emphasizing that we must win the Africa Cup of Nations and for that to happen, the preparations must be perfect. We must start preparations early enough.
Camfoot.com : You just said the head coach knows what he is doing; talking about him, how can you assess his performance so far?
Jules Nyongha : It is a good performance. I think many things have changed to give him the opportunity to get this result. The standard of the players, his own standard as a top quality coach and things have been ameliorated all over. I think it is just a sort of electro-shock. But this will be just periodical so the head coach and his assistants must do their best to maintain all these standards till the world cup, so that the players don’t have any problems. I think they have everything at their disposal so it is equally in their interest to produce results.
«…This is now the opportunity to appoint a Cameroonian as assistant so that he could benefit from Paul Le Guen’s experience.»
Camfoot.com : As a one time coach of the indomitable lions as well as many of your colleagues, do you have any contributions to make to the growth of this team at the moment, especially helping the technical bench in knowing the players more?
Jules Nyongha : I think in my own humble opinion national coaches can play a great role. But I think that is the Minister’s affair, if they don’t need a Cameroonian or African, I think they have their reasons. But let me tell you one mistake they are making. It has often been said that local coaches don’t have the experience to coach the national team ; so this is now the opportunity to appoint a Cameroonian as assistant so that he could benefit from Paul Le Guen’s experience. But on a personal note I don’t think I have anything to learn from him because I have been training this team also and I have been producing results also; so I think they have to appoint a national as assistant and give him the opportunity to learn.
Camfoot.com : Don’t you think it is an insult to Cameroonian football that the whole technical team is comprised only of foreigners right up to the medical officials?
Jules Nyongha : I have always decried this but some people think it is because I want to come back; I say no. This is very shameful. It is just as if you have sold your country to somebody else to do what he wants so I don’t really appreciate this and I think no Cameroonian coach appreciates this equally. At least one of the Cameroonian coaches should have been there to learn and see what is going on so as to gain the experience of the Africa Cup of Nations and World cup. I have been at those competitions so I think I have enough experience now, so why not try another coach equally?
Camfoot.com : If you were to be appointed assistant head coach of the Lions, what will be your innovation now that you think you have the experience?
Jules Nyongha : (Laughs) As I said earlier, I cannot be assistant because I think I am equally qualified to be head coach of the team which I had earlier handled. I have said a national should assist Paul Le Guen so that he can gain experience; is it not in the interest and growth of our football if a national coach can benefit from such experience?
Camfoot.com : What are Cameroon’s chances of toping their group?
Jules Nyongha : No competition is really easy. We are going there to play against good players, good teams because they all qualified after playing very difficult games so we have to take everything equally very serious if we want to win. But are think we have greater chances.
Camfoot.com : If you were to be an adviser or a consultant of the technical bench of the Lions, what advice would you give them?
Jules Nyongha : Hard work!! Hard work!! Go to the Africa Cup of Nations with the spirit of determination and have just one objective; lifting the trophy. I don’t think I have more for that is exactly what I would have done if I were there.
Camfoot.Com : And what can you tell the authorities?
Jules Nyongha : The Federation and the ministry have to work together as they have been doing for some time now. Let them work hand-in-gloves in order to give the team maximum chances and opportunities to the coaches.
Camfoot.com : I think you have forgotten one; integrate local coaches equally, not so?
Jules Nyongha : (Laughing) sure! Sure! (Seriously laughing mockingly) You have said everything.
Camfoot.com : : Head coach it has been a pleasure talking to you…
Jules Nyongha : Thanks for the opportunity you gave me to talk on some issues most people are ignoring. I am always available to give my humble opinion if it will be useful to you and all Cameroonians.
Interviewed by Francis AJUMANE in Yaounde