WC 2022: Former Cameroon international Geremi Njitap speaks to FIFA.com

WC 2022: Former Cameroon international Geremi Njitap speaks to FIFA.com

The FIFA World Cup 2022 draws near and the excitement is mounting ahead of kick off in Qatar. Many nations are gearing up, publishing finals lists and preparing to make the long trip towards the Eastern deserts. One team that has been making headlines prior to the competition is Cameroon. Being the first African side to publish their list, the Indomitable Lions are already on their way to the competition. They will definitely be the first participating nation to arrive in the Middle East.

One man who knows the World Cup experience so well with the Lions is former Chelsea and Real Madrid player Geremi Njitap who played for Cameroon in the 2002 and 2010 editions of the competition.

In an interview with FIFA.com, the former Cameroonian international shares some revealing insights ahead of the Qatar show piece.

How much excitement is there for African teams ahead of the World Cup?

We are very excited because we have five great nations who got through. For me, as a former footballer, I hope that one or two teams will get through the first leg, the first round. That would be a very big achievement because I remember when Cameroon passed the first round, all of Africa was behind them. After that, it was Ghana. Since that, we haven’t seen any teams getting through the first round. So, for me, this time, I think we have strong nations who have qualified. The big achievement for us is to see them get through the first round.

How exciting is it for the nation to see Cameroon qualify after losing in Russia?

Listen, if you remember, or maybe you don’t remember, it was something special. Until the last minute, we were out against Algeria – and we scored historical goals. And, let me tell you something, in Cameroon, there were big celebrations because of that. And after that, we know the income of the qualification is important for a young federation like us because the financial income will help the Cameroonian Football Federation to develop the younger generation. That is why we were very, it was a big achievement for us. Now, the battle is to try to pass the first round.

What are you anticipating for Cameroon with a difficult group: Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland?

Listen, this World Cup is very special. When you look at the moment that it will be played, for me, there’s no favorite. Why am I saying that? Because most of the time, World Cups are played at the end of the season, which means that a lot of the players are a bit tired. But this World Cup is being played in the middle of the season when players are in the best condition – fresh. So, the usual favorites, it will be difficult for them, because it is 11 versus 11 and all of them are fresh. It is my point of view. and I think I understand football a bit, it will be very tough. It will be one of the toughest World Cups, whoever wins will deserve it.

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