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Ending Lions 

By Basil K. Mbuye — Since the German-born tactician, Volker Finke took over as coach of the Indomitable Lions; the team has only scored one goal in five matches.

The Lions registered a goalless draw in a friendly encounter against Ukraine, beaten by Togo 0-2, registered a 0-0 draw against DR Congo, beat Libya 1-0 and recently pulled another 0-0 draw away to Tunisia. Finke’s lack of authority to play Cameroon’s all time scorer, Samuel Eto’o as a centre forward contributes to the goal drought Cameroon is into.

The 32-year-old has been seen in a number of games playing from the wings and as a result, he has been less dangerous in the attack. Eto’o, who is losing his verve, finds it difficult animating the game from the wings. Also, the German seems to base his playing style on defence and so the goals are hard to come by. In all his games, he used nine defenders including the goalkeeper to face his opponents even when playing at home.

Famous tacticians like Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson, when playing defensively, use wingers or attackers that are energetic to play this role. Finke is still to get a player that his game is built around. When Cameroon plays, it is easy for one to see that there is no master of the game, as it is with other teams. That is, the Lions lack that player with a killer pass for the attackers to find the back of the net.

This, according to some football pundits, is the reason for Eto’o’s refusal to play as the main striker. Throughout the qualifiers, Cameroon has scored five goals in seven matches: Eto’o 2, Eric Choupo Moting 2 and Aurelien Chedjou 1. A record many will say is poor for a team with quality players. This does not equal the total number of goals scored by Ghana’s Asamoah  Gyan alone for his country.

In order to solve the goal deficiency problem, Finke will need to play young, swift and energetic players on the wings like Fabrice Olinga, Edgar Salli and Jacques Zoua. These players will have the energy to attack and also defend when the team loses possession. He should also play Eto’o alongside Choupo Moting with the two rotating at the centre forward. His lateral defenders should also be advised to play more offensive, to create scoring chances. For, as the saying goes, the best way to defend is to attack.

First published in the Post print edition no 01472

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