Cameroon were minutes away from their World Cup dreams evaporating as they contested their play-off with Algeria earlier this year. But with Karl Toko Ekambi’s dramatic last-minute winner, the Indomitable Lions nicked a place in Qatar courtesy of away goals.
Captained by ex-Porto striker Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon finished third in their home Africa Cup of Nations at the start of 2022, missing out on a place in the final on penalties to Egypt – another African team not present in Qatar.
While they did not qualify for Russia four years ago, they were grouped with Brazil back in 2014, losing 4-1 in their final game having lost all three encounters – the other two to Mexico and Croatia.
They also disappointed in South Africa in 2010 but armed this year with some powerful forwards and one of the world’s most promising young goalkeepers in ex-Ajax player and current Inter Milan shotstopper Andre Onana, Cameroon could surprise many in the winter World Cup.
Here is everything you need to know:
Group fixtures(all times GMT)
Thursday 24 November: Switzerland vs Cameroon – 10:00
Monday 28 November: Cameroon vs Serbia – 10:00
Friday 2 December: Cameroon vs Brazil – 19:00
Goalkeepers: Devis Epassy (Abha Club), Simon Ngapandouetnbu (Olympique de Marseille), Andre Onana (Inter Milan).
Defenders: Jean-Charles Castelletto (Nantes), Enzo Ebosse (Udinese), Collins Fai (Al Tai), Olivier Mbaizo (Philadelphia Union), Nicolas Nkoulou (Aris Salonika), Tolo Nouhou (Seattle Sounders), Christopher Wooh (Stade Rennes).
Midfielders: Martin Hongla (Verona), Pierre Kunde (Olympiakos), Olivier Ntcham (Swansea City), Gael Ondoua (Hannover 96), Samuel Oum Gouet (Mechelen), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Napoli).
Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Al Nassr), Christian Bassogog (Shanghai Shenhua), Eric-Maxime Choupo Moting (Bayern Munich), Souaibou Marou (Coton Sport), Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford), Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu (Young Boys Berne), Jerome Ngom (Colombe Dja), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Besiktas), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Young Boys Berne), Karl Toko Ekambi (Olympique Lyonnais).
Ones to watch
Star – Karl Toko Ekambi: The reason Cameroon are in Qatar, the highly-rated Lyon forward’s goal sparked jubilant scenes as Cameroon beat Algeria in their play-off. He has scored 12 goals in 50 games since his debut in 2015, and netted five times at AFCON earlier this year. This will be his first World Cup.
Breakout talent – Bryan Mbeumo: The Brentford striker – who has linked up so brilliantly with Ivan Toney since the Bees’ promotion to the Premier League – represented France at youth level but switched allegiance to Cameroon in August, the nation of his father. He made his debut in a friendly against Uzbekistan and could be effective for the Indomitable Lions up front, whether from the start or from the bench.
Behind Brazil, Cameroon will be striving for the second spot in Group G but alongside Serbia and Switzerland – who impressively topped qualifying groups involving Portugal and Italy respectively – the Indomitable Lions may well have their work cut out. Their recent history suggests they will struggle too – they have not progressed to the knockout-stages since the team of 1990 and Roger Milla’s famous goalscoring celebration. Knocked out in the group stage.