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Cameroon: Antonio Conceiçao keeps his job with the Indomitable Lions

Conceiçao reste au Cameroun
Cameroon: Antonio Conceiçao keeps his job with the Indomitable Lions

Antonio Conceiçao remains at the head of the Cameroon national football team. Despite pressure from fans who demanded his head after the elimination in the semi-finals of the AFCON 2021, the Cameroonian Minister of Sports decided to keep the Portuguese technician.

Joy, but also blues in the soul. Many Cameroonian fans went to bed with this mixed feeling on the evening of 5 February 2022. Their team had just won the bronze medal in Yaoundé (Cameroon). The problem: the fans of Vincent Aboubakar's team were dreaming of a sixth title. But this was without counting on Egypt, which did not give the host country a chance to get past the semi-finals (0-0, 1-3 pen). It was an elimination that the Indomitable Lions' aficionados were quick to attribute to the coach.

Antonio Conceiçao was held responsible for this failure, following his incomprehensible choices that have fostered frustration in the dressing room, as evidenced by the Choupo-Moting affair. Not surprisingly, many Cameroonians have called for the head of the Portuguese coach. But they won't get it. At least, not now.

"Praiseworthy record''
Antonio Conceiçao is indeed maintained in the post of coach of the Indomitable Lions. The Cameroonian government reaffirmed its confidence in him on Sunday, through the voice of the Minister of Sports. "The priority today is not to destabilize the team by cutting the head of the coach," he said in the program "Actualité Hebdo", broadcast by the national television, Crtv. "The emergency, he continued, is the preparation in serenity of the World Cup play-offs scheduled for next March. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi believes all the more in the coach he recruited without the endorsement of the Federation in 2019, that the latter has a "commendable record" at the head of the Cameroonian selection.

"When we look at our record under Conceiçao, we have 23 games played. For these 23 games, the team has 14 wins, 7 draws and 2 defeats. Moreover, out of these 23 games, we have played 14 matches without conceding a single goal," he said. And that's not all: "At the end of the 2022 World Cup group stage qualifiers, Cameroon was ranked first. At the end of the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers, the Cameroonian team was ranked first. At the end of the group phase of the 2021 AFCON, Cameroon finished first and at the end of the competition, we were third.

Mboma and Song on the answering machine
The minister is confident for the future. And he took advantage of this showcase to cool the ardor of those who militate for the nationalization of the Cameroonian bench as in Senegal, which was led to victory by a local technician. "It is not because Senegal won the AFCON with Aliou Cisse that it will become a panacea. In 2019, Senegal had the same coach and did not win the trophy," he said. Patrick Mboma and Rigobert Song, two former players approached to take over the technical supervision of the selection will have to wait a little longer.

Antonio Conceiçao will continue his mission. The next objective is to qualify Cameroon for the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. The country of Samuel Eto'o will face Algeria in the play-offs next March. A double confrontation crucial for the survival of the Portuguese coach called to meet with the Minister of Sports who intends to have detailed explanations on the situation of the locker room, identify some shortcomings or deficiencies to then proceed to a review with the coach whose contract expires in November 2023.

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