Rigobert Song steadily giving Cameroon football fans something to shout about again

Rigobert Song was a rugged, aggressive defender with a winning mentality

* As they open Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign against Switzerland on Thursday

* The teak-tough former defender oversaw a nerve-shredding but successful FIFA World Cup qualification campaign

* It is this courageous mindset the head coach wishes to instil in his players

* With Rigobert favouring a 4-3-3 formation and short, vertical passes

Maravi Express

Following Senegal’s bitter 0-2 loss to the Netherlands on Monday in Group A and Tunisia’s 0-0 result against Denmark on Wednesday in Group D, African fans seek solace in tomorrow’s Group G match between Cameroon and Switzerland.


A lot has changed in Cameroonian football over the past few years; first, Samuel Eto’o — the country’s record goalscorer with 56 — was elected president of Cameroon Football Federation in December 2021, with the stated aim of “giving football back to the footballers”.

And in February this year, Rigobert Song — Cameroon’s former talismanic captain and record appearance holder having gained 137 caps — took charge of the national team.

His objective? Restore some pride to a nation that was absent from the 2018 FIFA World Cup™. Rigobert Song is steadily giving Cameroon football fans something to shout about again.

The teak-tough former defender oversaw a nerve-shredding but successful FIFA World Cup qualification campaign and is readying his team for a tricky group in Qatar.

Following a dramatic qualifying campaign that culminated in a wafer-thin play-off victory over Algeria, Cameroon will take to football’s greatest stage in Qatar for the eighth time in their history — a record for an African country.

And captain Vincent Aboubakar and his team-mates fully intend to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps by making a significant mark on the competition.


After the match against Switzerland, Cameroon next face Serbia on Monday, November 28 and against Brazil on December 2.

Song’s approach and tactics

Forwards who crossed paths with Rigobert Song on the football pitch quickly discovered the ex-Indomitable Lions skipper was a rugged, aggressive defender, with a winning mentality, an outlook Song’s compatriots term ‘hemlé’.

It is this courageous mindset the head coach wishes to instil in his players with Song favouring a 4-3-3 formation and short, vertical passes.

His team is founded on impeccable defensive solidity, which is complemented by pace down the flanks in the shape of Collins Fai and Nouhou Tolo.

In midfield, Song selects players who can use their ball skills during phases of transition, while striker Karl Toko Ekambi often drops to collect possession deep or offer an additional option.

Overall, Song adopts a pragmatic approach focused on negating Cameroon’s opponents, which often produces performances that belong in the solid, rather than expressive, category.

Key player: Vincent Aboubakar

Vincent Aboubakar is not only Cameroon captain, but also one of the team’s most technically proficient players. At 30 years of age, the determined Garoua native, whose long international career began back in 2010 — alongside national-team stalwarts like Eto’o and Pierre Webo — is on the verge of competing in his third World Cup.

Now it is Aboubakar’s turn to serve as a role model for a squad in which many of the key players will be participating in their first World Cups. After netting eight times to top the scoring charts at the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, staged this year, the confident striker is unlikely to be fazed by his leadership responsibilities, nor by the challenges that await his team in Qatar, as he recently explained to FIFA+.

“We won’t be afraid of Brazil,” he said. “We, however, are also a big team, representing a big country, and we believe we can go far. We let our football do the talking. This tournament features the best teams in the world, and we have to prepare well in order to compete.”

One to watch: Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa has been in excellent form for Napoli in the first quarter of the Serie A season, a fact noted by the man in charge of Cameroon.

“Anguissa will be very useful for us in November,” Song said at the team’s recent training camp in Korea Republic.

Inventiveness, improvisation and exceptional speed of execution are among the attributes that have ensured Anguissa of a place in his country’s starting XI.

His principal quality, however, is an ability to extricate himself from pressure situations via outstanding dribbling skills — a priceless asset for a holding midfielder.


Now 26, Anguissa has matured considerably as a player in the period since a move to the Premier League with Fulham in 2018, and his determination, strong personality and resourcefulness are hugely influential on Cameroon’s style of play.

He repeatedly regains possession for his team and maintains an extraordinarily disciplined approach to his role.

Cameroon’s World Cup history

Cameroon are one of just three African nations to have reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup – alongside Senegal and Ghana — a feat they famously achieved in 1990, in Italy.

The Indomitable Lions, whose line-up included the irrepressible striker Roger Milla, shocked the world in their opening match of that tournament, beating defending champions Argentina, who featured the great Diego Maradona, courtesy of a Francois Omam-Biyik header — a goal that entered African footballing folklore.

Since that remarkable run to the last eight, Cameroon’s World Cup campaigns have looked eerily similar, with group-stage eliminations in 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014.

After failing to qualify in 2018, could Cameroon emulate the beloved 1990 team and finally give their fans something to shout about in Qatar?—Source @FIFA.com