Cameroon coach Alioum Saidou expects his side to approach every game as a final when they kickoff their campaign against Congo in the TotalEnergies CHAN 2022 on Monday, January 16 at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran, Algeria
The Intermediate Lions, who finished fourth at the last edition at home two years ago, are under pressure to match their performance back then or better it.
“We are Cameroon. What is important for us is to play this match and win it. We have been preparing for some time and our players are looking forward to this. A game against Congo is a derby but we are ready for this level,” explained Saidou.
“Of course, playing in a three-team group is tricky and every game is a final. We have a good team and we played friendly games to prepare before coming here so we are confident. We have no choice but to deliver for our fans.”
Saidou might have lost forward Marou Souaibou who recently joined South African giants Orlando Pirates but he has other great players that he can rely on for a tournament of this calibre to deliver success for Cameroon.
He said, “There are players that are not available here but this is not something that is going to stop us. We shall make do with what we have. We still have some new local players who want to showcase their skills and I want to see more from them.”
Among those is youngster Jerome Ngom whose star shone at the just concluded World Cup in Qatar where his standout assist to captain Vincent Aboubakar saw the latter net past Brazil to become the first African side to defeat Selecao at that stage.
Djawal Kaiba, who on the other hand did not make it to the final squad to Qatar despite scoring in a friendly game against Panama, now has a chance to help Cameroon at the CHAN and propel them to the title.
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The pair’s teammate and captain of Cameroon Yves Moukoko said that, “The time to talk is over and now it is time to act. We have been preparing for this competition for at least three months now and we are good to go. We have something special, and we shall take it one game at a time.”
Moukouko revealed that he and his team-mates get extra motivation when they see two-time African champion and legend of the game Samuel Eto’o with them at the tournament. Eto’o is the Cameroon Football Federation president.
“He was a great player and when we see him and listen to what he has to say, we are very positive. We are here to win. Everyone is expecting us to work hard, play good game
Moukoko admitted that playing away from home has given the team less pressure than is the case when they played at home in front of their fans who expect nothing but victory.
“We have less pressure but for me this is a new competition. We must concentrate. We have big ambitions and if we start well, we can go very far in this tournament.”
Meanwhile, Moukouko added that his team has been welcomed very well in Algeria right from when they landed in Algiers and Oran where they are based.
“We came here to play football. When we were in the airports in Algiers and since we are arrived here in Oran, we have seen only positive vibes. We have been enjoying our stay and enjoying this African reception since we were here. Oran is beautiful.”
The game between Cameroon and Congo will be played at 1900hrs GMT.