Cameroon coach Rigobert Song has played down suggestions his team is under unfair pressure from former star Samuel Eto’o, who predicted an African World Cup final between his nation and Morocco before the the tournament began.
Song, whose team faces Serbia in Group G on Monday, denied a break with former Internazionale, Barcelona and Chelsea striker Eto’o and said the expectations created by his bold prediction were not the reason for Cameroon’s defeat by 1-0 against Switzerland in their opener.
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The Indomitable Lions have not won a World Cup group stage match since beating Saudi Arabia in 2002 when Eto’o, now president of the Cameroon Football Federation, was the last player to score a goal for victory for the country.
“The president of the federation is passionate about football. He was a footballer himself, he lives, breathes and dreams about football, but he does not put any burden or stress on our shoulders,” Song told reporters on Sunday.
“That’s not the reason why my players didn’t score against Switzerland. I would say that sometimes he even wants to put on his shirt and go out on the pitch to play, because he wants to give it his all.”
“The president is a very supportive gentleman … and he’s easy to talk to. He’s open and we communicate a lot.”
Third-placed Cameroon and bottom-place Serbia, which lost 2-0 to pre-tournament favorites Brazil, will go into Monday’s clash knowing that another defeat would leave them fighting for the round of 16.
With Cameroon facing Brazil in their last group match, Song backed his players against Serbia and picked up a win.
“We know exactly what awaits us,” Song said. “It will be a decisive match and we are well prepared. We know what we have to do, we have the right mentality.
“We’re really looking forward to getting started. We can’t wait for the whistle to blow so we can get down to business. I think they’ll see a different side to this Cameroon team and silence our critics.”