Cameroon

Population: 20.5 million (UN 2012)

Area: 475,442 km2

Capital: Yaounde

Currency: CFA franc

Federation: Federation Camerounaise de Football (Fecafoot), founded in 1959, affiliated to FIFA in 1964

Registered players: 22,045

Kit colours: Green shirts, red shorts, yellow socks

Team nickname: Les Lions Indomptables (The Indomitable Lions)

World Cup record: quarter-finalist (1990), first round (1982, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010)

African Nations Cup appearances: 16 (1970, 1972, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010)

African Nations Cup record: winner (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002), finalist (1986, 2008), third place (1972), fourth place (1992), quarter-finals (1998, 2004, 2006, 2010)

How they qualified for FIFA World Cup 2014: Won African qualifying Group I with 13pts ahead of Libya 9, DR Congo 6 and Togo 4, won 4, drawn 1, lost 1, 8 goals for and 3 against. Play-off with Tunisia first-leg 0-0, second leg 4-1, won 4-1 on aggregate.

Top clubs: Coton Sport Garoua, Union Douala, Canon Yaounde

Not only did Cameroon have to overcome another African World Cup giant in the form of Tunisia to make the cut for the 2014 World Cup finals, they also had to settle what their coach called ‘primary school squabbles’ within the ranks too.

The team boasts a superstar in four-time African player of the year Samuel Eto’o and the brooding goal-king had claimed there was a plot to isolate him by starving him of passes in the first leg of their play-off, a 0-0 draw in Tunis.

Whatever the truth, Cameroon were united enough to blow away Tunisia 4-1 in the return and this will be their seventh World Cup finals. Their German coach Volker Finke however would seem to have a few egos to soothe out in Brazil on top of the usual tactical and logistical headaches.

Despite boasting African Champions League semi-finalists Coton Sport Garoua as national champions, most of Cameroon’s squad play in Europe. Midfield enforcer Alexander Song of Barcelona is at the heart of their 4-3-3 system. Not to be mistaken with his cousin Rigobert, the two were in the line-up that was beaten by Japan, Denmark and Holland at the 2010 South African World Cup.

Finke has made a few waves by putting Charles Itandje in goal ahead of Eto’o's preferred Idriss Kameni, while other notable players would be midfielders Stephane Mbia and Jean II Makoun. Cameroon have won four African Nations Cup titles (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002) and made the final six times, which, when added to their World Cup record, you have perhaps Africa’s most accomplished side.

But after Eto’o and Song this group is made up of gritty journeymen rather than silky stars and they managed just 12 goals in 8 games and conceded four as they overcame Togo, Libya and the DR Congo in their qualifying group as well as the play-off with Tunisia.

Although Cameroon won the Sydney 2000 Olympic football tournament they are best remembered for the wonderful World Cup adventure at Italia 90. There they beat Argentina in the opener and saw the astonishing Roger Milla score twice in the round of 16 to get past Colombia and set up their never to be forgotten ‘Clash of the Lions’ quarter-final with England.

Cameroon glimpsed a semi-final spot before two Gary Lineker penalties edged them 3-2 in a match almost all neutrals wanted the Africans to win.

Despite the pain Cameroon’s legend was made on that campaign and fans the world over cast an eye down the list of finalists looking for their name when the contenders are announced. AFP

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