In prelude to the crucial upcoming AFCON 2023 cracker ,some key players of the Cameroon National team are without clubs less than a month to the crucial 2023 African Cup of Nations(AFCON)qualifier clash against Burundi.
Goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa, Fai Collins(right back) Nicolas Nkoulou(center back), Oyongo Bitolo(left back) and Kevin Nkoudou( Forward) are the players who are yet to make a move to another club since they left their former clubs.
Ondoa,27, made a comeback to the Lions Den in June this year ahead of Cameroon’s friendly game against Mexico, where he was between the sticks for Cameroon after been absent for a while. The 2017 AFCON winning goalkeeper parted way with FK Auda in July on mutual agreement after a season and half spent with the club.
Though Andre Onana has retired from International Football, he remains the most competitive keeper the country boast off as at now, according to experts.
31-year-old Bitolo has not found a club since leaving Montpellier in August 2022, after suffering from an injury that ruled him out for almost a year. He lastly featured for Cameroon during the 2021 AFCON on home soil.
Fai Collins ,has been one of the Lion’s pride at defense especially during the 2021 AFCON on home soil. The defender has since then secured his spot in the national team as first choice but things may seem complicated now since he left Al Tai this July after two seasons and has not had a new destination yet.
Olivier Mbaizo has been Fai’s lone replacement for a while now in the den and this is his opportunity to make a name as first choice if at all Fai does not earn a call.
Enzo Tchato Bill, is another Right back option performant at club.
Ace defense man, Nicolas Nkoulou ,who has been vice captain of the National team since his return before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, prematurely ended his stay with Aris Thessaloniki FC this July after making just 17 appearances and 11 as a starter since 2022.
The 33-year-old 2017 AFCON winner returned to the National team in September 2022, after five years of absence but has still not been very convincing at the shaky defense compartment of the lions which still remains a course for concern. Song may have to savor other options since the ace defender has been out of action for over two months now.
Georges Kevin Nkoudou at 28, is yet to get engaged with another club since he parted ways with Turkish side, Besiktas at the end of his contract. He was one of Song’s striking options for the World Cup in Qatar and 2023 AFCON qualifiers.
Kevin lastly played a competitive match on April 16 with Besiktas against Trabzonspor. The Winger may not be much of a worry for Rigobert Song who still has Bryan Mbeumo, Toko Ekambi, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu as better options.
At press time ,these five players are almost uncertain for the Cameroon -Burundi call on September 12, when the Lions receive Burundi at the Roumde Adjia stadium in the last decisive AFCON qualifier game in search of a ticket to the final of the competition in Code D’Ivoire next year.
Asides these key players without clubs, Song has got another major challenge; injured players.
Eric Maxim Choupo Moting and Zambo Anguissa are injured and may not be eligible to feature for the Lions when they take on Burundi next month.
Cameroon’s midfield sensation, Pierre Kunde Malong has not been very competitive in over two months now with club. He was last seen on the pitch in the friendly against Mexico on June 11.
What’s consoling is the fact that the likes of Olivier Ntcham, Gael Ondoa, Jerome Ngom Bekeli, Olivier Kemen are doing well at their different clubs and look assuring for the task ahead.
Cameroon must beat Burundi next month if they must pick up a ticket to the 34th edition of Africa’s biggest Football competition in January next year.
The Indomitable Lions seat second in group C with four points, level on points with Burundi and one away from leaders Namibia.
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