Despite a 1-1 draw with Guinea in their opening match at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on January 15, Samuel Eto'o, President of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot), remains optimistic about the Indomitable Lions' chances of winning the competition in Côte d'Ivoire.
Eto'o drew parallels with AFCON 2000, where Cameroon began with a 1-1 draw against host country Ghana and went on to win the tournament. "For those who remember, history will tell you how it ended," Eto'o said during the Cameroon Economic Day on January 17, organized by the Investment Promotion Agency (API) in partnership with the Cameroonian Embassy in Côte d'Ivoire and Fecafoot.
Despite the odds being against Cameroon following their draw with Guinea, described as a "modest" opponent, Eto'o hopes for a repeat performance in Côte d'Ivoire. The Indomitable Lions face a challenge against Senegal, the defending champions and current Group C leaders, who recently secured a 3-0 victory over Gambia.
In response to criticism and calls for the dismissal of Rigobert Song, the Indomitable Lions' manager-selector, following the draw with Guinea, Eto'o urged patience. "The competition is not as it began, but as it should end. We'll all have time to take stock. So let's keep our emotions in check," he said in a video published on the Fecafoot TV channel.
Eto'o was more measured in his comments at the ceremony for Cameroon's Ballon d'Or in December 2023. He acknowledged that soccer is not an exact science and that Cameroon could lose.
On social media, some users are also hopeful that Cameroon can secure their 6th title in Côte d'Ivoire. They note that the national team also drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso in their first match at AFCON 2017, and went on to win the African championship title. This gives Cameroonian fans reason to be optimistic that the Indomitable Lions will once again triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem