Though their light may have faded somewhat since they brightened up the world stage at the 1990 FIFA World Cup™, Cameroon are not a side to underestimate at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The top African nation in FIFA’s rankings, they also bring Africa’s richest pedigree to the finals. They have appeared a continental-best five times in the World Cup, and no other African side has yet eclipsed their historic run to the Italy 1990 quarter-finals – though Senegal equalled the achievement in 2002.
However, the team have not managed to advance past the group stage in three finals appearances since then, winning just once in their nine matches. They lost out on Germany 2006 entirely after missing a penalty kick in the final moments of their last qualifier against Egypt. But the long road to the 2010 World Cup has forged considerable momentum behind what many Cameroonians are hoping is the right mix of players, and a new generation of Roger Millas and Francois Omam-Biyiks.
The road to South Africa
Though the 2-0 victory in Morocco that clinched their qualification was straightforward enough, Cameroon had in fact completed an impressive turnaround in a campaign that started with just a draw from their first two matches. Two victories in four days over contenders Gabon were followed by a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Togo, and Cameroon’s four consecutive wins were more than enough to reach South Africa. In the end, the team, led from the back by...