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New coach, new challenge
Cameroon's Indomitable Lions will be competing in the FIFA World Cup for the fifth time, a record for the African continent, and again go into the tournament with high hopes of being able to set new benchmarks for African soccer.
It is the fourth successive appearance for Cameroon, who are also reigning African champions and hold the distinction of being the only side from the continent to have reached the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup. It was in Italy in 1990 that Cameroon captured the world's imagination with their charismatic team, characterised by the unique goal celebrations of 38 year-old Roger Milla. For the first time, an African team showed no signs of being in awe of their opposition and it was only in extra-time in Naples that their colourful run was finally ended by England.
Many of current crop of Indomitable Lions have already tasted international success with the triumph of Cameroon's under-23 side at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Key players from that unexpected triumph, including current African Footballer of the Year Patrick Mboma, his strike partner Samuel Eto' o and the exciting winger Lauren Etame Mayer, will return to the world stage in Japan and Korea.
In contrast to its undoubted skill on the pitch, the Cameroon side has been through much coaching turmoil over the last year and will have a new face at the helm for the 2002 finals - German-born coach Winfried Schäfer, formerly with Bundesliga clubs VfB Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, who took over the managerial reins exactly seven months prior to the start of the tournament.
Significant past players:
François Omam-Biyik, Roger Milla, Jean-Manga Onguene, Theophile Abega, Thomas N'Kono
-- Quarter-final 1990 FIFA World Cup
-- Champion 1984, 1988, 2000 African Cup of Nations
-- Champion Olympic Games 2000
-- Champion All Africa Games 1999
-- Champion African under-20 1995
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