Africa: Cameroon Raise Targets After Making Afcon Quarterfinals

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Over eight years ago, Cameroon were perennial contenders at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). Record tournament goal scorer Samuel Eto’o formed the core of their set-up.

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Between 1998 and 2010, Cameroon bagged two titles and guaranteed a quarterfinal at each of those editions.

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That was enough to win over many hearts on the continent while in their iconic green and red body-gripping kit.

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But when that crop of players like Rigobert Song, Geremi, Patrick Mboma, Carlos Kameni and Achille Emana faded, the story changed.

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They the missed 2012 and 2013 editions. Their return to Afcon was forgettable as they failed to make it past the group stages in Equatorial Guinea two years ago.

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The four-time Afcon champions have been smarter this time round. They booked their quarterfinal slot after a mature display worth a valuable point against hosts Gabon in Libreville on Sunday night.

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“We are happy to get this far,” Cameroon’s coach Hugo Broos told the media during the post-match press conference.

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His side had finished second with five points, level with leaders Burkina Faso, but with an inferior goal difference.

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Actually, Cameroon’s advancement out of Group A is the first time they have made it past the pool stages at any major tournament since the 2010 Afcon in Angola.

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Match fixing allegations

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They were stopped in the group stages at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments, with alleged reports of match-fixing allegations at the latter event in Brazil.

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Little wonder their nearly 1,000 fans in the stadium could not stop cheering on after frustrating Gabon. The Indomitable Lions are now keen for a greater roar.

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“Not everything is possible but we have to be ambitious,” Broos noted ahead of their quarterfinal with Senegal in Franceville on Saturday.

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Prior the showpiece, seven players including Liverpool’s Joel Matip turned down calls to represent Cameroon but Belgian boss Broos is impressed with those he has now.

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“Now that we have a new team, it is very positive that we have made it to the quarterfinals. I have total confidence in my players,” the 64-year-old added. Denmark-based Christian Bassogog has been a stand-out.

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