Cameroon's World Cup campaign is in danger of imploding after senior players asked Paul Le Guen, the coach, to reconsider his team selection.
Coach Le Guen in selection battle with senior Cameroon players
JOHANNESBURG // Cameroon's World Cup campaign is in danger of imploding after senior players asked Paul Le Guen, the coach, to reconsider his team selection for their Group E match against Denmark today. Cameroon lost 1-0 to Japan and Denmark were beaten 2-0 by Holland in their opening games on Monday and both sides desperately need a win at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium to have a realistic hope of making the second round.
Cameroon's players are especially unhappy because Le Guen, the Frenchman, omitted seasoned campaigners such as Rigobert Song and Geremi, the defenders, and Alexandre Song, the midfielder, from the Japan game. "What we have seen in recent games, which we think is unfortunate, is that many young fresh players have been introduced into the team at the expense of experienced ones," Achille Emana, the midfielder, told reporters yesterday.
Cameroon, one of six African teams in the tournament, were expected to do well, but their chances now hang by a thread. Emana said the young players had been asked to do too much. "They cannot withstand the sort of pressure that comes with playing in big tournaments such as the World Cup," he noted. "That is why we are appealing to the coach to review the line-up for Saturday's game against Denmark."
Le Guen has not spoken to the media since Monday's loss and was conspicuous by his absence at yesterday's news conference. Emana, usually an attacking midfielder, came on as a second-half substitute against Japan but was also unhappy about the role he is expected to perform for his country. "More often than not I am not fielded in my right position. I'm made to chase the ball all over the field. And, in that case, how do you expect me to be effective?" he said.
Including Monday's defeat, Cameroon have gone eight matches without a win.