Ace Football lists and profiles the five greatest Cameroonian goalkeepers throughout football history.
Cameroon has given birth to footballing geniuses in all kinds of positions, from strikers right down to goalkeepers.
Several men, in particular, have stood out in the past for the Indomitable Lions, but who would you rank as the best? Does anyone come to mind? Ace Football has a go by profiling the five greatest Cameroonian goalkeepers of all time.
5. Alioum Boukar
Alioum Boukar was between the posts as Cameroon won the African Cup of Nations in 2000 and 2002. He claimed 52 caps for the national team, registering 18 clean sheets. The goalkeeper also made the 1998 and 2002 World Cup squads, playing all three games in the latter tournament.
Boukar began his club career at Canon Yaounde from 1992 until 1995. The Cameroonian then headed for Turkey, embarking on a 15-year spell in the European nation. He played for several Turkish clubs, including Samsunspor and Istanbulspor.
The former keeper changed his name to ‘Ali Uyanık’ after acquiring Turkish citizenship.
4. Jacques Songo’o
After years as an understudy, Jacques Songo’o became the No.1 Cameroonian goalkeeper in 1998. He became a rock for the Indomitable Lions, representing them in two World Cups and the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations.
That said, Songo’o is perhaps best remembered for his club career – namely at Deportivo La Coruna. The Sackbayeme-native helped the club win their first and only La Liga title in 1999/00. He even won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy in 1996/97, an award for the best goalkeeper in Spain.
Songo’o also spent time in France at Toulon, Le Mans, and Metz before later becoming a goalkeeper coach for the Cameroon national team.
3. Carlos Kameni
Another man on this list of Cameroonian goalkeepers to star in Spain was Carlos Kameni. The Douala-born star played for Espanyol and Malaga, keeping 97 clean sheets in 334 La Liga appearances. He also represented the latter in the UEFA Champions League and was crowned as the club’s Player of the Year in 2014/15.
Kameni made history for the national team by becoming the youngest ever footballer to win Olympic gold at 16, playing in all three knock-out round games – including the tiebreaker in the finals.
The 2002 AFCON winner made 74 appearances for Cameroon at international level. Now aged 38, he currently plays for Djiboutian side Arta/Solar7 alongside former teammate Alex Song.
2. Joseph-Antoine Bell
Named as African Goalkeeper of the Century by IHHFS, Joseph-Antoine Bell was special. ‘JoJo Bell’ was renowned not only for his shot-stopping abilities, but for his willingness to emerge from the box to sweep up the ball when his team played with a high defensive line.
The former goalkeeper spent most of his career in France at Marseille, Toulon, Bordeaux, and Saint-Etienne. He also enjoyed a glorious stint in Egypt, winning the Egyptian Premier League and African Cup Winners’ Cup at Al-Mokawloon Al-Arabi between 1982 and 1983.
On the international scene, Bell was part of the Cameroon squad that won AFCON in 1984 and 1988. He even played in two World Cup group matches in 1994 in the United States.
1. Thomas N’kono
Topping our list of Cameroonian goalkeepers is Thomas N’Kono, the one that made Gianluigi Buffon, an all-time great, feel ‘inspired’ to become a goalkeeper himself.
Despite his somewhat small stature, N’Kono was a strong and athletic keeper at his peak. The Dizangue-native debuted at Canon Yaounde in 1974, winning four league titles and two CAF Champions Leagues, before joining Spanish side Espanyol in 1982. He made over 300 appearances for the Barcelona-based club across an eight-year spell, reaching the UEFA Cup final in 1988.
The two-time African Player of the Year won over 60 caps during his international career. He was part of Cameroon’s run to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990, famously keeping a clean sheet against reigning champions Argentina in the group stage, and was in the Indomitable Lions squad that won the African Cup of Nations in 1984.