Cameroon can outdo class of 1990, Le Guen says

Durban: Cameroon`s players are capable of taking the team beyond the World Cup quarter-finals, surpassing the country`s 1990 performance, coach Paul Le Guen said on Monday.

"We`ve scouted around and brought together many talents...fresh players like (Benoit) Assou-Ekotto, Enoh Eyong, and (Eric) Choupo-Moting have integrated well," Le Guen told a news conference on the eve of the team`s departure for South Africa.

"Today I am proud to say I have a team which is efficient, the players are in good condition. I am optimistic we will go far, and why not beyond the quarter-finals?"

Cameroon became the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals, in Italy in 1990.

Le Guen said he would be relying heavily on striker Samuel Eto`o, who helped Inter Milan to win the Champions League final last month.

"I have players on whom I can count and Eto`o is the first," he said. "He is a great player, he is my captain, I believe in him, I`m sure he will deliver the goods. I will be counting on Eto`o and Choupo-Moting to make a good match and score goals because they are very intelligent players."

Eto`o threatened last month to miss the World Cup after being irked by criticism of his commitment to the Indomitable Lions from 1990 World Cup scorer Roger Milla, but the striker played for part of a friendly against Portugal last week before being sent off for dangerous play.

Le Guen said Cameroon had deliberately organised a tough build-up to the World Cup.

"We had a very hard training programme. Instead of going for weak teams to pounce on them with plenty of goals, we chose tough, difficult teams like Georgia, Slovakia, Portugal and Serbia because we wanted our players to do better and be stronger," he said.

"I can say I am very satisfied with the preparations. Even if we lost the last two warm-up games against Portugal and Serbia, we are getting better and better, the team spirit is very good, the players are very ambitious and I am sure we`re going to do well in South Africa."

Cameroon take on Japan in their opening Group E World Cup match in Bloemfontein next Monday.

Bureau Report

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