Rocked by withdrawals, Cameroon will be hoping to put all that behind them once they take to the field at the Stade de l’Amitié in Libreville on Saturday evening to face Burkina Faso in their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations opener.
Kick-off is at 9:00pm (CAT).
The Indomitable Lions boast several unknown quantities in their ranks, with Guy N’dy Assembé, André Onana, Joël Matip, Allan Nyom, Maxime Poundjé, Ibrahim Amadou, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting having all made themselves unavailable for selection ahead of the tournament in Gabon.
But, despite being without several of their key players – especially in defence – the Indomitable Lions still have a strong squad with Vincent Aboubakar to lead the line for the four time champions.
Head coach Hugo Broos had tried his best to pursued the likes of Liverpool’s Matip to play in Gabon, but having failed in his attempts the former Belgium international had to settle for second choice options in several key positions. Nicolas Nkoulou’s presence in defence, though, will be a major boost.
Broos was in an upbeat mood ahead of this weekend’s clash despite all that has happened, with the Cameroon mentor happy with the progress made by his team in the build-up to the competition.
“A tournament like the Africa Cup of Nations is not played with 11 players,” said Broos. “It’s impossible! All players must be used. This is why we organise friendly matches to try some things.
“This lets you know which players are already on top and those who are not yet quite ready to start the tournament.
“My team is ready, we have plenty of options for Saturday, we have made great progress – there is much more rhythm and depth in our game. What we will try do is win our first game because that is very important.”
The Burkinabe boast a considerable threat with the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations runners-up hopeful that familiar names will help them escape a competitive Group A.
Stalwarts Jonathan Pitroïpa, Aristide Bancé and Charles Kaboré bring valuable know-how to a team that has been there and done it all before – against all odds.
Manager Paulo Duarte is in his second stint in charge of the Stallions, with the Portuguese watching on nervously from the bench as Banou Diawara’s goal nine minutes into stoppage time sealed their fifth successive appearance at Africa’s showpiece.
Form coming into the game
Cameroon: D W D D W
Burkina Faso: L L W D L
For Head to head click here
Goalkeepers: Moussa Germain Sanou (Beauvais/FRA), Herve Koffi (ASEC Mimosas/CIV), Aboubacar Sawadogo (RC Kadiogo/BUR)
Defenders: Patrick Malo (Smouha/EGY), Issoufou Dayo (RC Berkane/MAR), Bakary Kone (Malaga/ESP), Issouf Paro (Santos/RSA), Steeve Yago (Toulouse/FRA), Souleymane Kouanda, (ASEC Mimosas/CIV), Yacouba Coulibaly (RC Bobo/BUR)
Midfielders:Charles Kabore (Krasnodar/RUS), Prejuce Nacoulma (Kayserispor/TUR), Alain Traore (Kayserispor/TUR), Bertrand Traore (Ajax/NED), Cyrille Bayala (Sheriff Tiraspol/MDA), Bakary Sare (Moreirense/POR), Blati Toure (Omonia/CYP), Adama Guira (Lens/FRA), Abdoul Razack Traore (Karabuspor/TUR), Jonathan Zongo (Almeria/ESP), Jonathan Pitroipa (Al Nasr/UAE)
Forwards: Aristide Bance (ASEC Mimosas/CIV), Banou Diawara (Smouha/EGY)
Goalkeepers: Fabrice Ondoa (FC Séville, Spain), Jules Goda (AC Ajaccio, France), Georges Mbokwe (Coton Sport de Garoua).
Defenders: Nicolas Nkoulou (Lyon, France), Ambroise Oyongo (Impact Montréal, Canada), Mohamed Djeitei (Nastic Tarragone, Spain), Fai Collins (Standard Liège, Belgium, Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui (Slavia Prague, Check Républic), Adolphe Teikeu (Sochaux, France), Jonathan Ngwem (FC Progresso, Angola), Ernest Mabouka (MSK Zilina, Slovakia)
Midfielders: Sébastien Siani (Ostende, Belgium), Georges Mandjeck (Metz, France), Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian, Scotland), Franck Boya (Apejes)
Attackers: Vincent Aboubakar (Besiktas, Turkey), Benjamin Moukandjo (Lorient, France), Jacques Zoua (Kaiserslautern, Germany), Edgar Salli (Saint-Gall, France), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Angers, France), Clinton Njie (Marseille, France), Robert Ndip Tambe (Spartak Trnava, Slovakia), Christian Bassogog (Aalborg, Denmark).
© Backpage TXT