Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cameroon Greatest All-time 23 member team

This blogger Artur Yanturin of Russia copied many of my blog teams.  This blog was one of them.  It was my Russia All-Time Team here.  His team was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.   His Spartak Moscow All-Time team entry of was published in October 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2017.  His entry of the Dutch-German rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona was written in 2020, but mine was uploaded in 2014.  He also copied many many of my blog entries.

His Facebook and Instagram

Cameroon World Cup 1990
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for Cameroon.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Africa All-Time Team
GhanaCameroonNigeriaSouth AfricaTunisia
AlgeriaMoroccoEgyptIvory CoastSenegal,
North Africa
The Rest of Africa(excluding Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Nigeria and North Africa).
African Born

Cameroon was best remembered for its "Cinderella" run during the 1990 World Cup Finals.  Roger Milla became a World Cup icon by scoring 4 goals as a 38 years old.  However, the Indomitable Lions actually put African football into the world map even before that.  Eight years earlier, they finished undefeated at the WC Finals in Spain.  They are also a major force in African football.  They won 4 African cup of Nations and qualified for every WC Finals since 1990, except in 2006.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.  The team is not an All-Star team. I tried to be as realistic as possible.   A few of the players are selected for tactical reasons at the expense of more famous players.
African Nations' Cup Winner in 2000

GK: Thomas N'Kono
Thomas N'Kono was among the best keepers from the 1980's and probably the most famous goalkeeper ever from Africa.  He played in three WC Finals.  Gianluigi Buffon was inspired by him and named his son Thomas after him.  After playing in his country with Canon Yaoundé and Tonnerre Yaoundé he moved to Spain with RCD Español in 1982. , He received the France Football African Footballer of the Year award in 1982 and in 1979.

GK: Joseph-Antoine Bell
Joseph-Antoine Bell was voted African keeper of the Century. His international career was limited by living in the same generation as N'Kono.  He was on three WC teams, but only started his last WC Finals in 1994. In a 20-year career, he played in his native Cameroon as well as in Côte d'Ivoire and Egypt before moving to France, where he played for Marseille, Bordeaux and eventually ending his playing career with Saint-Étienne.
Joseph-Antoine Bell

GK:  Jacques Songo'o
Jacques Songo'o was voted the 6th African best keeper of the Century behind Bell and N'Kono.  He appeared in over 200 games for Deportivo La Coruna and won Ricardo Zamora award for 1995-1996.  His international career was limited by playing behind two of the best keepers in African history.  He was on the WC team in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002.  He only started at the WC Finals in 1998.

Lauren  was known for his career with Arsenal in England. He was part of Arsenal's "Invincibles", a title given to Arsenal's team that went undefeated team in the Premiership.  He was named in the PFA Team of the Year that season.  He also played in Spain. With Cameroon, he won two African Cup of Nations. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Cameroon.
Stephen Tataw was the captain of Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup Finals where they reached the quaterfinal. He was considered to be the Cameroonian greatest defender ever.  At the club level, he played with Tonnerre Yaounde from 1988 to 1991, and for Olympic Mvolyé from 1992 to 1994. In 1995, he then joined Japanese side Tosu Futures where many viewed him as the first African-born professional player in Japan.
Stephen Tataw
CB:  Emmanuel Kunde
Emmanuel Kunde was a member of both 1982 and 1990 World Cup team.  He scored against England in the quarterfinal of the 1990 World Cup finals.  He won the 1984 and 1988 African Nations Cups. Kundé scored the winning goal in the 1988 African Nations Cup final against Nigeria with a penalty kick. He had 102 caps for Cameroon. For his club career, he mainly played at home.

CB: Joël Matip 

Joël Matip began his professional career with Schalke 04 in 2009, and was part of their teams that won the DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup in 2011.  In 2016, he moved to Liverpool FC where he won the Champions' League.  He was born in Germany, but represented Cameroon where his father came from.  From 2010 to 2015, he played 27 times for Cameroon.  In 2015, he announced that he resigned from the national team.

CB: François N'Doumbé
François N'Doumbé played for Union Douala in Cameroon at the club level from 1972 to 1985.   He was a non-playing squad member for the Cameroon national team at the 1982 FIFA World Cup. He also was part of the side that won the 1984 African Cup of Nations.  In 1971, he was voted 3rd at the African Player of the Year behind Ibrahim Sunday and Robert Mensah. 

CB/RB:  Rigobert Song
Rigobert Song was a key player for Cameroon since making his debut as a teenager.  He has played at a record 8 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and served as captain in 5.  He went to 4 WC Finals from 1994 to 2010, missing the 2006.  He is Cameroon's cap record holder.  Song started his career with Metz. In 1998, he joined Salernitana. In 1999, he left Italy to start successive stints with Liverpool, West Ham United and 1. FC Köln, Lens, Galatasaray, and Trabzonspor.
Rigobert Song
Wome is one of eleven players to have played in the top division in Italy, Spain, England and Germany.   He played for Brescia, Roma, Fulham, Bologna, RCD Espanyol, F.C. Internazionale Milano and SV Werder Bremen, FC Köln, etc.  He won consecutive African Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002 and the Olympic gold medal in 2000.

LB:  Benoît Assou-Ekotto
Benoît Assou-Ekotto was born in France. He chose to represent Cameroon in football after rejecting callus by the French youth team.  He was capped 24 times between 2009 and 2014, He was a member of Cameroon's World Cup team in 2010 and 2014.  He started his career with Lens.  He has played 7 seasons with Tottenham Hotspurs. He also played for QPR, St. Etienne and Metz.  

Alex Song's father died when he was young.  His cousin Rigobert Song who also played for Cameroon brought him up as his second father. He started his career with Bastia in 2004. He played 5 seasons as a key player for Arsenal between 2006 and 2012 before transferring to Barcelona.   He played in two World Cup Finals in 2010 and 2014.  He was called up for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations and was the only Cameroonian named in the Team of the Tournament.
Alex Song
DM: Gabriel Abossolo
Abossolo was the true lung of the Girondins de Bordeaux where he played from 1959 to 1969.  His club finished second in the league three times in 1960's.  Before that, he played for Stade poitevin Football Club.  For the national team, he was one of their earliest players.  He played alongside Samuel Edimo, Frédéric N'Doumbé and Zacharie Noah. He died in Yaoundé at the age of 75.

CM: Geremi Njitap
Geremi Njitap began his career in Cameroon and then, Turkey.  He played three seasons with Real Madrid, where he won two Champion' League titles in 1999-2000 and 2001-2002.  He also played for Newcastle United and Chelsea. He earned 118 caps for Cameroon from 1996 to 2010, scoring 13 goals. He was a member of their squad for seven Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, winning in 2000 and 2002, as well as the World Cup in 2002 and 2010.
CM:  Marc-Vivien Foe
Marc-Vivien Foe died of a heart-related issue during the semi-final of the Confederation Cup between Colombia and Cameroon in 2003.  He was awarded the Bronze Star at the tournament. He had 63 caps at the time of his death. He was a part of the World Cup team in 1994 and 2002.  He also won two African Nations' Cup in 2000 and 2002. He played professionally for to Canon Yaoundé, West Ham, Lens and Manchester City.

AM/FW: Samuel Mbappe Leppe
Nicknamed "Marshall", Samuel Mbappe Leppe was a pioneer in Cameroon's football.  He played at the Oryx Douala in the 1950s and 1960s, winning five Cameroon champion titles. He never played aboard. He led his club side Oryx Bellois Douala to win the first ever African Champions Cup in 1965.  He was the first real star player in Cameroon.  Stade Samuel Mbappé Léppé in Douala, Camera is named after him.  He was also awarded the CAF Legend Award.

AM: Theophile Abega
Nicknamed "Doctor", Theophile Abega won the Africans' Nation Cup in 1984 as Cameroon's captain.  With Canon Yaoundé, he won the 1978 African Cup of Champions Clubs, 1980 African Cup of Champions Clubs and 1979 African Cup Winners' Cup titles as well as four Cameroonian championships and five Cameroonian Cups. Later in his career, he moved to France to play for Toulouse FC before finishing in Switzerland with Vevey.
Theophile Abega
LW/AM: Frédéric N'Doumbé
Frédéric N'Doumbé was born in 1935.  At home, he was associated with Caïman Douala. In France, he played for Le Havre, Montpellier and AS Saint -Etienne in the 1960's. He won Ligue 1 titles in 1964, 1967, 1968 and 1969 all with  l'AS Saint-Étienne. He wa one of the first Cameroonian to play professionally in France.  His daughter is the pop singer Norma Ray.

FW:  Eugène N'Jo Léa
Eugène N'Jo Léa left Cameroon for France to study in 1951.  He ended up playing for St. Etienne and other French clubs while maintaining his studies.  With St.Etienne, he won the Lique 1 title while finishing as the league second highest scorer.  Over there, he played with Kees Rijvers and Rachid Mekloufi.  He co-founded the National Union of Professional Footballers in 1961 with  Just Fontaine and Jacques Bertrand.

ST: Roger Milla
Roger Milla became an international star after he scored 4 goals at the World Cup Finals in 1990 as Cameroon reached the quarterfinal.  He was already 38 years old. Many people credited Cameroon for putting African football on the map. Then, in 1994, he became the oldest goal-scorer in World Cup history when he scored against Russia.  He was voted the African Player of the Century.  He was the African Footballer of the Year in 1976 and 1990.
Roger Milla
ST: Jean Manga Onguene
Born in 1946, Jean Manga Onguene was the 1980 African Footballer of the Year.  H played in two African Cup of Nations: 1970 and 1972.  He represented Cameroon from 1967 to 1981. In 2006, he was selected by CAF as one of the best 200 African football players of the last 50 year.  He spent his whole career at Canon Yaoundé in Cameroon.

ST: Patrick M'Boma
Patrick M'Boma helped the Indomitable Lions to win the Gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.  He won two African Cup of Nations: 2000 and 2002. This led him into winning the African Player of the Year Award in 2000.  He was at one point the all-time leading scorer for Cameroon.  He had played professionally in Japan, France, Italy, Libya and England. 

ST: François Omam-Biyik
François Omam-Biyik became a national hero when he scored the goal that beat Argentina in the 1990 World Cup Finals.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in USA and France. He had success with different French clubs before moving to Marseille in the summer of 1992. He only played one match, and was transferred to Lens in October 1992. After a few years he continued his career in Mexico with Club América and Puebla F.C.

ST: Samuel E'too 
Samuel E'too started his career with the academy of Real Madrid, but he made his name with Mallorca. He was a part of the famous "REM" line at Barcelona where he won two Champions' league titles.   He moved to Inter Milan in 2009 and won a third Champions' league in 2009-2010.  In 2011, he joined Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia. He won the African Player of the Year award a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010. He was capped 118 caps with Cameroon.
Samuel E'too
Honorable Mention
Carlos Kameni, André Onana, Alioum Boukar, Nicolas Nkoulou, Ibrahim Aoudou, Elie Onana, Bertin Ebwellé, Michael Kaham, René N'Djeya, Raymond Kalla, Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Émile Mbouh, Stéphane Mbia, Andre Omam-Biyik, Cyrille Makanak, Charles Lea, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Paul Nlend, Grégoire M'Bida, Jean-Pierre Tokoto,  Alphonse Tchami. Vincent Aboubakar,  ST: Emmanuel Koum, Pierre Webó, Joseph Yegba Maya, Salomon Olembe, Samuel Edimo.

Squad Explanation
-- This team was created in 2014. I redid it again in October, 2022.
-- The greatest ever footballers from Cameroon were probably Samuel Et'oo, Roger Milla, Thomas N'Kono, Joseph-Antoine Bell, Samuel Mbappe Leppe and Théophile Abega.  They were automatic selections.  Rigobert Song perhaps should belong to this list.
-- Cameroon had a storied record in the world of football, but the research was tougher than I participated.  As compared to their neighbor Nigeria, I found it very difficult.  I remained fairly uncertain about a few positions.
-- Cameroon's World Cup in 1990 made history with African football. From that team, I selected 6 players.  They are Joseph-Antoine Bell, Jacques Songo'o, Roger Milla, Stephen Tataw, François Omam-Biyik,  and Emmanuel Kunde.
-- Cameroon won the Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympics with their under-23 team. They also took two AFCON titles in 2000 and 2002. From that generation, I selected 7 players: Patrick M'Boma, Pierre Wome, Rigobert Song,  Geremi, Samuel Et'oo, Lauren and Marc-Vivien Foe.  Carlos Kameni made honourable mention.  They outnumbered the 1990 team largely because the players were given more opportunities and exposure than the previous generations.  They got to play in the bigger Europe leagues. For example, Stephen Tataw only played club football in Africa and Japan while the later generations played a higher level.
African Cup of Nations 2002
-- The Confederation of African Football (CAF) compiled a list of 200 greatest African footballers of the last 50 years in 2006. I used this list as a reference.  The Cameroonians selected were: Frédéric N'DoumbeGabriel Abossolo, Emmanuel Koum, Charles Lea, Samuel Mbappe Leppe, Jean Manga Onguene, Ibrahim Aoudou, Roger Milla, Thomas N'Kono, Paul Nlend, Jean-Pierre Tokoto, Théophile Abega, Joseph-Antoine Bell, Emmanuel Kunde, François Omam-Biyik, Stephen Tataw, Samuel Eto'o, Marc-Vivien Foe, Patrick M'Boma and Rigobert Song.
-- Samuel Etoo won the African Player of the Year award a record four times: in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2010.   Thomas N'Kono, Roger Milla, Patrick M'Boma, Jean Manga Onguéné, Théophile Abega and Théophile Abega also won the award.  M'Boma is the only winner of BBC African Footballer of the Year from Cameroon.
-- The IFFHS chose the following players as Cameroon's greatest All-Time Best XI: Thomas N'Kono, Geremi Njitap, Rigobert Song, Emmanuel Kundé, Pierre Womé, Lauren, Théophile Abega, Samuel Mbappé Léppé, Samuel Eto'o, Roger Milla and Patrick M'Boma. They also created a second team: Joseph-Antoine Bell, Stephen Tataw, François N'Doumbé Lea, Ibrahim Aoudou, Bertin Ebwellé, Émile Mbouh, Marc-Vivien Foé, Cyrille Makanaky, Jean-Pierre Tokoto, François Omam-Biyik and Jean Manga Onguene.
Frédéric N’DoumGoalkeepers
Frédéric N’Doumbé
-- Cameroon is Africa's greatest goalkeeper producing countries.  Thomas N'Kono is considered to be Africa's greatest goalkeeper.  He inspired Gianluigi Buffon of Italy to play goalkeeper.  He was named African Player of the Year twice, which was rare for a goalkeeper to win the award.  However, Joseph-Antoine Bell was named "African Goalkeeper of the Century" by IFFHS, as part of their "Century Elections" ahead N'Kono.  Both were rivals in their prime. They were undisputed selections.
Thomas N'Kono
-- Cameroon was blessed with great keepers.  Carlos Kameni is easily ranked in the top 10 greatest African keeper. He won an Olympic gold medal as a 16 years old. But I could not find space for him.  I gave the third keeper spot to Jacques Songo'o. Along with N'Kono and Bell, he was known as the Big Three of Cameroonian goalkeepers. He brought Deportivo La Coruna to their first ever La Liga title.  His team was known as the "Super Depor". He was an understudy to Bell in his prime.
-- At the time of writing, Andre Onana is making a name in European club football.  He already had a great run with Ajax.
Alioum Boukar
Alioum Boukar played over 50 times for Cameroon, but he was lesser known than the other goalkeepers I just mentioned.  They made honorable mentions.
Alioum Boukar
Alioum Boukar
-- Lauren Etame Mayer only played for Cameroon 24 times in an era, where it was considered to be very small.  He was chosen for his club career with Arsenal.  He was among the best defender of his time and not many African defender could claim that.  Fourfourtwo magazine voted him as the 17th Greatest African players ever played in the Premiership.  He was the third defender on the list. The second rightback would be Stephen Tataw.  He was considered one of Cameroon's most important player. Both Geremi Njitap and Andre Kana-Biyik (dropped in 2022) were also rightbacks, but I took them as midfielders.  I also looked into Michael Kaham.
-- Pierre Wome was probably Cameroon's greatest leftback. He was well-dedicated internationally during Cameroon's Golden Generation in the 2000's.  He was sadly remembered for missing the penalty kick that would have sent Cameroon to the 2006 World Cup Finals.  However, he scored the last and decisive penalty that won the Olympic Gold medal in 2000. Benoît Assou-Ekotto established himself as good fullback playing in the Premiership, one of the top European leagues.  I also looked into Bertin Ebwellé
 -- Rigobert Song was probably one of Africa's greatest defenders. In 2012, he was given the CAF Legend Award. He is Cameroon all-time cap record holder. He went to 4 World Cup Finals.Then, I selected Emmanuel Kunde as my second central defender. His name was in most all-time lists.  I looked into Raymond Kalla. François N'Doumbé. Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Nicolas Nkoulou, Joël Matip and Ibrahim Aoudou for the final two central defenders. Their names were often mentioned. 
-- Joël Matip only played 24 times for Cameroon, but his club career was stunning as compared to other players mentioned.  He was probably one of the greatest African defenders of his generation.  He helped Liverpool winning a Champions' League in 2019 as a starter. So I took him as the third central defender.
Joël Matip 
-- Then, I would choose one from Nicolas Nkoulou, Ibrahim Aoudou and François N'Doumbé.  Liked Matip, Nkoulou's club career was impressive. He spent over 10 seasons playing in Ligue One and Serie A. He made Ligue 1 Team of the Year twice.  He captained the national team at one point. He also had a role in the 2017 AFCON victory.  I don't know much about either Ibrahim Aoudou and François N'Doumbé, and how they were rated in Africa.  I did not know how to rate them. Both were on the IFFHS's Best XI second team. and were selected into CAF's greatest 200 African footballers in 2006.  N'Doumbe never had a chance to play outside Africa, but Aoudou spent some time playing club football in France. Aoudou also played in all three matches of the 1982 World Cup Finals while N'Doumbe never entered the field.  However, N'Doumbe was voted 3rd at the 1971 African Player of the Year.  Although I usually do not always rely the placing of an award,  I decided to reward him with a spot based upon that.  For a year, he might be one of the best African players in the world.
-- Raymond Kalla earned 63 caps for Cameroon.  He played in three World Cup Finals: 1994, 1998 and 2002.  He played in three different countries. He first played for Panachaiki F.C. in Greece then Spain's CF Extremadura, where he competed in both major divisions. In 2002, after Extremadura dropped another category to the third level, Kalla signed with VfL Bochum.  He was on my 2014 team.
 -- Many people listed Geremi Njitap as a top 10 greatest ever players for Cameroon. He had done better than most Cameroonian footballers in his club career.  He is also the third most capped player for this country. He was also a versatile player that this team badly needed.  
-- Alex Song was often portrayed as someone who could have done better in his career.  Nevertheless, he spent 8 seasons with Arsenal and another two with Barcelona (as a backup).  Not many African footballers could claim that. Furthermore, this team needed more defensive midfielders.  Rigobert Song is his cousin. He served as a second father to Alex. 
-- Marc-Vivien Foe's name was all over the internet.  His tragic death might have added some sympathy point, but he had a successful club and country career.  
-- DM Gabriel Abossolo spent 11 seasons with Girondins de Bordeaux in the 1960's at a time when a few Cameroonian played in Europe.  Bordeaux finished second three times in the league with him.  He could both attack and defend.  He was known as the "lung" of his club team.  He was also named as  one of the CAF's greatest 200 footballers.  I somehow overlooked him in 2014.  In 2022, I decided to drop Andre Omam-Biyik over him.  I also considered dropping Jean Manga Onguene pr Patrick M'Boma.
-- Andre is François Omam-Biyik's brother.  He earned 80 caps at one of the most important period of Cameroonian football's history.  He played in two World Cup Finals in 1990 and 1994.  He was remembered for receiving a red card in the upset win against Argentina at the opening game of World Cup 1990. He started a career in 1986 with Diamant Yaoundé. From 1988 to 1994 he played in France Ligue 1 with FC Metz and Le Havre AC.
-- Émile Mbouh was on the AFCON Team of Tournament in both 1984 and 1988.  He was on the second team IFFHS's Best XI for Cameroon alongside Marc-Vivien Foe.  However, he was not awarded as one of CAF's greatest 200 players in 2006.  So I had question mark about him. Sevilla won two Europa League titles with Stéphane Mbia as a key player.  He was named Europa Team of the Year twice.  Both players were solid candidates, but I did not have any room for them.
-- Samuel Mbappe Leppe was Cameroon's first ever star player.  Roger Milla considered him to be Cameroon's greatest ever footballer.  He was a forward/attack midfielder, I believed.  He was awarded with the CAF Legend Award in 2015. Some sources falsely claimed Kylian Mbappè is his grandson when Kylian first made his name with AS Monaco, but Kylian's father had quickly denied it.
 Samuel Mbappe Leppe
-- In his prime, Theophile Abega was considered as good as Roger Milla, but Roger Milla had better exposure with the 1990 World Cup Finals. Frédéric N’Doumbé was one of the first African stars to break into a major European team. At Saint-Etienne, he was a mentor to Salif Keita, but the club actually had Eugène N'Jo Léa a few seasons before he joined them in 1963.  
-- Cyrille Makanaky did well at the World Cup in 1990.  Grégoire M'Bida and Jean-Pierre Tokoto were also big names in the history of Cameroon's football. But I already had Frédéric N'Doumbé, Samuel Mbappe Leppe and Theophile Abega.  The three players only made honorable mentions.
-- Both Samuel E'too and Roger Milla needed no introduction.  Milla not only out Cameroon on the football map.  His amazing performance at the 1990 World Cup Finals transformed how the world viewed African football.
-- Eugène N'Jo Léa was a pioneer for Cameroonian footballer playing in Europe. He played in France during the 1950's and 1960's.  He helped Saint-Etienne to win their first league title in 1956.  He scored 29 goals (out 82 goals for their entire team) in 32 games that season.  In his prime, he was mainly a student.  He moved to Olympique Lyon and Racing Club of Paris because of his studies. He also contributed as a founder of  the Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionels, the trade reunion for footballers in France. 
-- Patrick M'Boma was a star in Japan, but he never really settled down elsewhere in his club career.  By his generation, a star player from Africa should have done better.  Nevertheless, he was at one point the second all-time leading scorer for Cameroon.  He helped Cameroon to win the 2000 Olympic Game.  In 2022, I decided to keep him.
Patrick M'Boma
-- Jean Manga Onguene was Africa's Footballer of the Year in 1980.  His greatest was with Canon Yaounde. They won three African Champions Leagues and six league titles.  Internationally, he played before the Indomitable Lions became a serious force to reckon with.
-- François Omam-Biyik scored the goal that upset Argentina in the 1990 World Cup Finals.  His club career however was limited.  Nevertheless, his name was mentioned frequently.  He scored 45 goals with just 77 caps for the Indomitable Lions.
-- I came across Joseph Yegba Maya during my research.  He played in France during the 1960's and 1970's, but I went with better known players.  He only made honorable mention.

Starting lineup


  1. Mbida Arantes should take A. Song’s place in the midfield.

  2. N'Kono
    Lauren Song Kunde/Kalla/Tataw/Ngadeu-Ngadjui Biyik
    Tokoto Abega
    Christian-Bassogog Milla Eto'o

    Biyik features as a left back in the CAF XI of 1986 and 1990.
    Christian Bassogog can emulate Eto'o from the right,
    Pick your preferred center back.

  3. I feel like Aboubakar should be considered for the final 23 after scoring 8(!) goals at AFCON 2022