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Best Cameroon XI of all time

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Ace Football presents a detailed list of the best players to have starred for the Indomitable Lions.

Football fans best remember Cameroon for their incredible run in the 1990 World Cup, where they defeated Argentina. However, the Indomitable Lions have long been a major force in African football.

Four-time Africa Cup of Nations winners have been regular representatives of the continent, introducing some of the greatest African names in football history.

Let’s take a look at our picks for the best Indomitable Lions XI of all time.

Goalkeeper and Defenders

23 Jun 1990: Portrait of Thomas Nkono the Cameroon goalkeeper during the World Cup match against Colombia in Naples, Italy. Cameroon won the match 2-1. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon/Allsport

GoalKeeper: Thomas N’Kono

Cameroon has produced several great goalkeepers in their football history, but none of them reached the same heights as N’Kono.

The former Canon Yaounde star moved to Espanyol in 1982 and developed into one of the best goalkeepers of his era. He made over 300 appearances for the La Liga side while standing between Cameroon’s posts in three World Cup campaigns.

N’Kono’s incredible performances during Cameroon’s unbeaten run in the 1982 World Cup won him an African Footballer of the Year award. He went on to claim the AFCON title with the Lions two years later.

Left Back: Pierre Wome

Wome was part of Cameroon’s golden generation of the early 2000s. His strong start at Canon Yaounde’s academy ranks earned him a move to Serie A, where he went on to play for Roma, Bologna, Brescia, and Inter.

He won an Olympic gold medal with Cameroon in 2000 before winning back-to-back AFCON with the Lions in 2000 and 2002. At Inter, Wome claimed a domestic double during their unforgettable 2005-06 campaign. His notorious penalty miss against Egypt in 2005 cost Cameroon a World Cup spot. But that mistake is not enough to influence Wome’s reputation as one of the best Cameroonian defenders of all time.

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Centre Back: Raymond Kalla

Kalla was one of those players whose consistent performances could easily go underappreciated because of their unglamorous playing style.

His physical presence in Cameroon’s backline provided the Lions with great consistency during their three World Cup appearances in 1994, 1998, and 2002. The former Bochum center-back made 63 caps for Cameroon, winning two AFCON titles.

Centre Back: Rigobert Song

Song is widely considered among the greatest defenders that Africa has ever produced. After making his international debut as a teenager in 1993, the former Liverpool defender went on to make 137 appearances for the Indomitable Lions.

He was able to play both as a right-back and a center-back, combining his defensive skills with impressive technical abilities. Song represented Cameroon in eight AFCON tournaments, winning the tournament in 2000 and 2002.

Right Back: Laurén

Lauren does not have too many close contenders when it comes to the best Cameroonian right backs of all time. He was part of Arsenal’s ‘Invincible’ team, winning two Premier League titles under Arsene Wenger.

Laurén also played as a member of Cameroon’s golden generation that won back-to-back AFCON titles after claiming the gold medal in the 2000 Olympics.

The Indomitable Lion retired from international football during his mid-20s, making only 26 appearances for the national team. However, his impact on Cameroon’s backline during the early 2000s place him among the Lions’ greatest-ever stars.

Midfielders

13 Oct 1999: Geremi of Real Madrid is tackled by Philip Cocu of Barcelona during the Spanish Primera Liga match at the Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain. The game ended 2-2. \ Pic: Nuno Correia \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK /Allsport

Central Midfielder: Théophile Abega

Abega is another member of Cameroon’s powerful team during the 1980s. He captained the Lions on the road to their first-ever continental trophy in 1984, scoring against Nigeria in the final.

The ‘Doctor’ claimed the African Footballer of the Year award later that year, establishing a reputation as one of the best African midfielders of his era.

Abega spent most of his club career at Canon Yaounde, where he won two African Champions League titles. He went on to play for Toulouse in Ligue 1 before ending his career at Swiss side Vevey United.

Central Midfielder: Geremi

One of the most decorated African stars of all time, Geremi played for several top European clubs during his career. He won two Champions League titles at Real Madrid before claiming two Premier League trophies at Chelsea.

Similar to a few other players on our list, Geremi was part of Cameroon’s golden generation in the early 2000s. He won the 2000 Olympic gold medal before claiming consecutive AFCON titles in 2000 and 2002.

Geremi’s versatility enabled him to play in several midfield positions for the Indomitable Lions. He went to make 118 caps for Cameron from 1996 to 2010, scoring 13 goals.

Attacking Midfielder: Frédéric N’Doumbé

N’Doumbé established a reputation as one of the best African footballers in the early 2000s. His performances for Caiman Douala earned him a move to France, where he played for Le Harve, Montpellier and Saint-Etienne.

The Cameroon great became a cornerstone of Saint-Etienne’s glorious ear in the 60s. He won four Ligue 1 titles in 1964, 1967, 1968, and 1969. An inspiring figure for several generations of Cameroonian stars, N’Doumbé was one of the first African stars to break into a major European team.

Forwards

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Right Winger: Samuel Eto’o

After starting out his career in Real Madrid’s academy, Eto’o went on to develop into one of the greatest African players of all time at Mallorca and Barcelona.
He won two Champions League titles during his five-year spell at Camp Nou. The Cameroon icon then joined Inter, where he played an integral role in their treble-winning campaign of 2009-10.

Eto’o won the gold medal with Cameroon in the 2000 Olympics before claiming back-to-back AFCON titles in 2000 and 2002. The four-time African Footballer of the Year scored 55 goals in his 112 appearances for the Indomitable Lions.

Left Winger: Patrick M’Boma

M’Boma scored one of the most memorable goals in Cameroon’s history against France in the 1998 World Cup. The former Paris Saint-Germain star went on to become a club legend at Japanese side Gamba Osaka, where he won the J-League in 1997.

M’Boma’s international goal tally of 33 is only surpassed by Samuel Eto’o. The former Sunderland star was another member of Cameroon’s golden generation, winning two AFCON titles and an Olympic gold medal.

He won the African Footballer of the Year award in 2000, establishing his place among Cameroon’s greatest players of all time.

Striker: Roger Milla

With so many great strikers in Cameroon’s history it is always tough to select one player for the role. Both of the last two players on the list can replace Mila as our team’s target striker.

However, Milla’s career is so impressive that even playing in front of Eto’o and M’Boma does not seem too outlandish for him. Having scored for Cameroon at the age of 41 in 1994, the Cameroon great is the oldest goal scorer in the World Cup history.

Milla’s longevity was accompanied by his achievements at the club and international level. He won two AFCON titles and two AFCON Golden Boots before claiming two African Footballer of the Year awards.

As one of the best Ligue 1 strikers in the 80s, Milla won two French Cups with Monaco and SC Bastia. He then moved to Indonesia in the closing stages of his career, where he played for Pelita Jaya and Samarinda.

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