As we round up our AFCON 2017 coverage, we throw the light on the exploits of the Champions, Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions.
The team of Belgian tactician Hugo Broos defied great odds to climb to the top of African football despite what seemed like setbacks from the beginning.
Broos is the first to admit that the decision of eight players to pullout of the squad for the tournament was troubling. He described it in a pre-tournament interview as a case of putting club above country.
I don't have 23 players, I have 23 friends. Over the weeks we went from being a squad to being a family. It is unbelievable what all the guys did. It is tremendous.
“These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulation.”
He described his crop of players as friends, ‘‘I don’t have 23 players, I have 23 friends. Over the weeks we went from being a squad to being a family. It is unbelievable what all the guys did. It is tremendous,’‘ he told BBC sports.
‘‘This was the reason we won the cup, because of the spirit in our camp, the guys who were on the bench were happy – and the players who came off the bench, decided the game,’‘ referring to the final game where two substitutes came on to win the game.
Game by game account to the Indomitable journey to AFCON glory
Game 1: Cameroon vs. Burkina Faso
Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on January 14, 2017; ended 1 – 1
Captain Moukandjo’s 35th-minute goal was cancelled late in the game.
Game 2: Cameroon vs. Guinea-Bissau
Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on January 18, 2017; ended 2 – 1
Goals from Siani (61’) and Ndadeu-Ngadjui (78’) won the game after the Lions fell behind.
Game 3: Cameroon vs. Gabon
Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on January 22, 2017; ended goalless
Cameroon advanced to next round with 5 points, second in the group behind Burkina Faso.
Game 4: Cameroon vs. Senegal – Quarter-final stage
Stade de Franceville on January 28, 2017; ended goalless
The Lions progressed 5 – 4 on penalties scoring all their five kicks. (Moukandjo, Oyongo, Teikeu, Zoua, Aboubakar)
Game 5: Cameroon vs. Ghana – Semi-final game
Stade de Franceville on February 2, 2017; ended 2 – 0
Ndadeu-Ngadjui (72’) and Bassogog (93’) sealed qualification into the final
Game 6: Cameroon vs. Egypt – Final game
Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on February 4, 2017; ended 2 – 1
Nkoulou (59’) cancelled El Neny’s 22’ lead before Aboubakar hit the winner (88’).
Buoyant Broos speaks after the triumph
Barely a month on, he feels ‘sorry’ for the group of eight in a post-final interview with the BBC;
‘‘There was a lot of trouble before, players who wouldn’t come with us. Ok, it’s their decision. But maybe they are now saying to themselves, ‘Sh*t! Why didn’t I go with them?
‘‘We came here and I think nobody thought we would go so far. We tried to get through the first round. We did it, So we said, ‘OK, let’s see what happens against Senegal’. We won the game again.
‘‘Then you get a boost of confidence and from that time we believed that if we get a bit lucky we could win the final.’‘ The rest they say is history.
‘‘I feel happy, a little bit tired because we went to bed late this night (Sunday) again I’m very satisfied, very happy what my team did this tournament. Now we are going to Cameroon again and I think there will be a crowd waiting for us
‘‘My assistant told me (coach) you will not believe what you will be seeing in Yaounde…’‘
Second medals after AFCON gold presented by President Paul Biya
Cameroon secured their fifth AFCON trophy in neighbouring Gabon. That was the first medal for the action and hard work on the pitch, before long they received an off pitch medal.
President Paul Biya awarded the entire team the Knight of the Cameroon National Order of Valour at a reception held at the Unity Palace in the capital, Yaounde.
Members of the team also dominated the Awards category of the tournament. Goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa was picked even above Egypt’s legendary Essam El Hadary. Michael Ndadeu-Ngadjui made the defence of CAF team of the tournament.
Also present in the team was Christian Bassogog who was also named Man of the Competition. Captian Benjamin Moukandjo was also listed in the substitutes of the team.