The Indomitable Lions squad for AFCON 2023 will soon be known – so when will Rigobert Song announce his selection?
Cameroon head to Côte d’Ivoire in less than a month in the hope of adding another AFCON star to their jerseys as they aim to win the competition six times on away soil that has eluded them on home soil in 1972 and 2021. The Indomitable Lions will be among the favourites, having finished third at the last AFCON 2021 hosted in Cameroon, as well as boasting some of the best players in the game such as Andre Franck Zambo Anguissa, Andre Onana and Aboubakar Vincent.
Rigobert Song will have a serious headache on his hands to settle on a final squad to bring to the Ivory Coast, with so many top talents champing at the bit for a chance to represent their country on the biggest stage in African football.
So, when will he announce his Cameroon squad for the tournament and who will he pick? Kick442 brings you everything you need to know.
When will Rigobert Song announce Cameroon’s AFCON 2023 squad?
Song is expected to announce the final Cameroon squad for AFCON 2023 on or before January 3rd, 2024 which is the deadline given by CAF.
Prior to confirming his 27-man squad for the tournament in Côte d’Ivoire, the Indomitable Lions boss was required to submit a provisional or preliminary squad to CAF by December 14, 2023.
The preliminary panel, which is technically known as a ‘release list’, can feature up to 55 players, who are placed on standby for inclusion in the final 27-player pool.
As noted, the final deadline for squad submission is January 3rd, 2024, which is ten days before the opening game of AFCON 2023.
Replacements can be drafted into the squad in the event of injuries or illness up until the day before the team’s first game. In Cameroon’s case, their first game comes on January 15th, 2024, against Guinea.
Who will Rigobert Song include in the Cameroon AFCON 2023 squad?
The countdown to the 2023 AFCON is well and truly on, with 27 seats on the plane to Côte d’Ivoire now up for grabs as Rigobert Song pieces together his plans for another shot at African glory with Cameroon.
The Indomitable Lions reached the semi-finals in Cameroon two years ago, only to come up short against Egypt, and beat Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar 2022 before suffering more heartache by failing to qualify for the knockout stages with four points.
Positive steps are being taken in the right direction, but can a 6-year wait for tangible success be brought to a close in West Africa where Cameroon won it’s first silverware in 1984 and which players will be charged with the task of landing major silverware?
We will not know for sure who is definitely in Song’s Cameroon squad for AFCON 2023 until he formally announces it, but the most recent squad, injuries and the form of players usually gives a good indication.
With a squad of 27, a breakdown might go something like: three goalkeepers, nine defenders, eight midfielders and seven forwards.
You can see the last Cameroon squad selected by Song for November’s World Cup 2026 qualification games against Mauritius and Libya below.
Devis Epassy, Fabrice Ondoa, Andre Onana
Darlin Yongwa, Christopher Wooh, Nouhou Tolo, Leon Bell Bell, Oumar Gonzalez, Junior Baptiste Tchamadeu, Harold Moukoudi, Jean Charles Castelleto, Jerome Ngom Bekeli
Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa, Benjamin Elliott, Olivier Ntcham, Olivier Kemen, Yvan Neyou
Karl Toko Ekambi, Faris Pemi Moumbagna, Bryan Mbeumo, Clinton Njie, Vincent Aboubakar, Frank Magri, Georges Kevin Nkoudou
Kick442’s Analyst, Elume Raymond, takes a look at the hopefuls longing to see their names called :
Which goalkeepers will make Cameroon’s 2023 AFCON squad?
Manchester United keeper Andre Onana has been Song’s go-to option between the sticks since he came back from self-imposed retirement, as he blends shot-stopping ability with impressive distribution off the deck, and appears guaranteed to make the cut. The same could be said for Fabrice Ondoa following his eye-catching campaign during the 2017 AFCON, with the 27-year-old another of those getting comfortable with his feet as he is with his hands.
Abha’s Devis Epassy has often been in line for Cameroon and will hope to see that trend continue when some big calls are made ahead of the showpiece event in January. Simon Omossola has been in and around senior squads before, but would need untimely setbacks to be endured by others in order to see a path clear for him. Marcelin Mbahbi has been making quite a name for himself at Gazelle in the local championship but he, along with Cameroon U23 international Simon Ngapandouetmbu of Marseille, remain one for the future.
Which defenders will make Cameroon’s 2023 AFCON squad?
There are a number of spots in Song’s defensive unit that appear to have been filled, with 7 players currently odds-on to make Cameroon’s final 27-man party. Darlin Yongwa, Christopher Wooh, Nouhou Tolo, Olivier Mbaizo, Oumar Gonzalez, Harold Moukoudi, and the versatile Jean Charles Castelleto are all expected to get the nod. There is far greater competition at right-back with Malcom Bokele, Enzo Tchato and Junior Baptiste Tchamadeu all competing for one starting berth. Outside of the established elite, Leon Bell Bell’s value as a left-back could see him called upon. Thomas Etta Bawak, Fai Collins and Frank Atsama could figure if fortune favours them.
Which midfielders will make Cameroon’s 2023 AFCON squad?
There are another six apparently obvious selections when it comes to midfield berths, with Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa, Benjamin Elliott, Olivier Ntcham, Olivier Kemen, Gael Ondoua and Pierre Kunde almost guaranteed to secure a ticket. Yvan Neyou may be a key man at Leganes, but other playmakers are ahead of him on Cameroon’s depth chart. Martin Hongla will hope to have done enough to earn a call from Song, while Carlos Baleba’s progress at Brighton makes him a creative option. Samuel Oum Gouet will need to produce something special in Switzerland to work his way back into favour, while Jean Onana is another to have fallen out of favour since his last call-up in June 2023. Recognition may well come for the likes of Steve Mvoue and Jean Eric Moursou as they continue their development.
Which forwards will make Cameroon’s 2023 AFCON squad?
Given that he is captain of the Indomitable Lions and a man well on course to equal Patrick Mboma’s participation in the AFCON while chasing down Samuel Etoo’s all-time AFCON record goal haul for his country, it comes as no surprise to find that Vincent Aboubakar is top of the market when it comes to attacking calls. He will be involved if untimely injuries are avoided, as will Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, but other forward berths remain up for grabs. Karl Toko Ekambi remains highly regarded and is expected to make the plane, but his odds of inclusion may take a tumble if the dip in form continues. Nicolas Moumie Ngamaleu is scratching around for a spark at Dynamo Moscow, but still has a shot at selection, while Clinton Njie will be hoping to do enough at Sivasspor or beyond to prove that he can provide capable cover for the injured Bryan Mbeumo. Jerome Ngom Bekeli also intends to enter that race.
Georges-Kevin Nkoudou’s fine form at Damac FC has made him flavour of the month, but he will need to maintain his current standards in order to secure a ticket to Ivory Coast. Frank Magri has fared admirably in France with Toulouse, while Faris Pemi Moumbagna remains a handful at Bodo/Glimt, and they could be asked to provide back-up in a No. 9 position.
Stephane Bahoken needs to be figuring more frequently for Kayserispor in order to put himself into contention to add to his 22 caps. An attacking star may burst onto the scene out of nowhere and stage a late surge for selection within Song’s goal scoring ranks – the names Francois Regis Mughe, Leonel Ateba and current Cameroon Ballon d’Or winner Emmanuel Mahop comes into mind.
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