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2022 FIFA World Cup: Andre Onana convinced Cameroon can become title contenders


2022 FIFA World Cup: Andre Onana convinced Cameroon can become title contenders

Isifu Wirfengla

By Beng Emmanuel Kum

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana says Cameroon is ‘ready to fight against any opponent’ at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and will give their best to win the tournament.

The Indomitable Lions who made history by reaching the quarter-finals in 1990 are drawn in group G with five-time Champions Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland.

But, the 26-year-old Inter-bound goalkeeper is undaunted by the World Cup draw as they look to end a run of poor results.

Since 1990, the Cameroon national team has failed to go past the group stage. They also lost all their games in the previous two appearances in 2010 and 2014, finishing among the bottom place teams on those occasions.

“We are in danger. We have a team ready to fight against any opponent. We will go there to represent Cameroon. I have Brazilian, Serbian and Swiss teammates with whom I play every weekend. If they can win this competition, why not us? Why can’t we win this competition?. We will go with this mentality and we will give our best while hoping that we go as far as possible. -Onana told Cameroon State media CRTV in an interview”.

Cameroon defeated Algeria on the away goal rule (2-2) to qualify for the 2022 World Cup finals. Onana who produced a string of fantastic saves during the breathless game to help his country secure qualification is upbeat they can emulate the examples of their predecessors at the World Cup.

“The match at Blida was historic. We were in danger and fortunately God was on our side. We played, we gave our all and we qualified. Now we have the World Cup ahead of us. It is an honor and a huge responsibility because our elder brothers set the bar so high”.

“We will try to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors. But Cameroon will always be Cameroon. We will defend the colors of our country in the best possible way.”

All hands on deck

Cameroon will make their record eight appearance at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. They are the most capped African nation at the tournament and hope to match the record of their historic 1990 World Cup squad this year.

To make an impact, Andre Onana has admitted he is looking forward to playing alongside one of the world’s best defenders in Liverpool center-back Joel Matip and former national team captain Nicolas Nkoulou. The defensive pair was part of the Cameroon team that competed at their last World Cup in 2014 which ended in shambles.

Matip, 30, announced his international retirement in 2015, a year after a debacle at the World Cup in Brazil. Since then, he has repeatedly turned down Cameroon’s call-up. Nkoulou, 32 retired shortly after winning the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations scoring the equalizing goal in the final. There have been considerable efforts to secure their return but in vain.  

“I wish they were here. Everyone will love to participate in a World Cup. I am convinced that they are Cameroonians above all and I believe they will come and defend their country with us because it will not be easy. We will need everyone”-Onana said.

Onana also disclosed he is “in contact with some of them [Binational footballers abroad]. But then there are personal choices. The most important thing is to rally everyone to defend the country the best way. We are going to the greatest competition and I think all those players who can help Cameroon are welcome”.

Cameroon face Switzerland in their group G opener of the 2022 World Cup campaign at the Al Janoub Stadium on November 24. But six month before their opening fixture, the five-time African champions begin their quest for a place at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

They will compete in group C with Kenya, Namibia and Burundi. Despite being focused on the World Cup, Onana believes Cameroon has what it takes to sail through. They finished third during the last edition as host.

“We will play against three big teams. I think we’re just going to continue with the fighting spirit and stay positive. With the individual quality that we have, I am convinced that we will qualify for the Nations Cup”.

Isifu Wirfengla
Isifu Wirfengla

Isifu Michael WIRFENGLA is holder of a Bsc. in Journalism and taking postgraduate studies in Information and Communication Sciences from the University of Yaounde 2. He has five years of broadcast experience. Apart from freelance/sports reporting, he is a trained, practising football referee in Cameroon.


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