Cameroon don’t really have a well recognised keeper with Fabrice Ondoa in between the sticks. Some other custodians are probably better than him, but have been overlooked by the coach. I think it’s fair to say the performances of Nicolas NKoulou will be important. The big centre half is a physical beast and should be able to dominate in the air. But he’s been on the slide for a few years now and been pretty awful for Lyon this season, starting no games since the end of October. It was a surprise to see Aurelien Chedjou miss out on selection, even though there were doubts surrounding fitness. No Joel Matip is hardly going to help matters either. Another surprising omission from the squad is left back Henri Bedimo. Ambroise Oyongo will now start for them in this position and he’s actually someone who had a very good season for Montreal Impact and might be a pleasant surprise. Allan Nyom’s decision not to play in this tournament leaves a hole at right back.
Midfield options seem average at best but Cameroon do have some good players in attack. Key man upfront is Vincent Aboubakar who will lead the line. Benjamin Moukandjo will probably sit a bit deeper and is another worth watching. On paper, the Indomitable Lions appear to have some potential out wide, but whether someone like Clinton N’Jie can deliver remains to be seen. Winger Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was another omission from the squad and he could’ve been useful. I think we will see Cameroon lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation most of the time. They have scored in every game bar one since Hugo Broos took over as coach early last year. Their scoring record isn’t that great but a lot of teams have just parked the bus against them. The 3-2 friendly defeat against France showed what they can do against a more open team.
Draw & outlook
There’s good and bad news for Cameroon here. The good news is that they are in a fairly easy group. Host nation Gabon will be tough opposition and that is a match they could realistically lose. However, most will presume they have too much for Burkina Faso & Guinea Bissau. Finishing ahead of Burkina is not a foregone conclusion though. Even qualification would ensure a likely tough quarter final draw against either Senegal or Algeria. Cameroon would have to play extremely well from the quarter final stage onwards in order to win this competition. With the prospect of hard games, possibly going into extra time then it looks like a tough ask. The squad has potential with some stars in it, but as an all round package I prefer others. I also have concerns about team spirit and off the field issues. The Indomitable Lions look overrated right now.
Group prediction: 2nd
Overall prediction: Quarter final elimination