Cameroon look bet­ter off with­out Song

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

of mak­ing it through, per­haps even above Ivory Coast, some­thing that would have seemed un­think­able six months ago.

Which makes the events of the past few days, as Song was called to speak to the Cameroo­nian au­thor­i­ties, baf­fling.

It’s been widely as­sumed that the ac­tion was taken be­cause Stéphane Mbia is strug­gling with a ham­string in­jury, but Song would not be a di­rect re­place­ment: Mbia has played at right-back and cen­tre-back dur­ing qual­i­fy­ing.

It may be that Song’s form for West Ham this sea­son prompted Finke to con­tem­plate for­give­ness and it may be that the po­ten­tial loss of Mbia, who suc­ceeded Eto’o as cap­tain, has brought a feel­ing that the squad could do with a lit­tle more ex­pe­ri­ence, but it was never a straight­for­ward de­ci­sion of one or the other. As it turns out, talks be­tween Song and the Cameroo­nian man­age­ment led to Song an­nounc­ing his in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment.

Re­tire­ment in Cameroo­nian foot­ball never seems to be for­ever, so it may be that Song, who is only 27, will re­turn at some point. But it’s hard to avoid the con­clu­sion that, well as Song has been play­ing, Cameroon, at least un­der Finke, are bet­ter off with­out him.

He does not fit nat­u­rally into the hard-press­ing style, is per­haps a lit­tle slower in re­leas­ing pos­ses­sion than Finke would like and, per­haps most im­por­tant of all, his ego may have been dis­rup­tive, par­tic­u­larly if he al­ways had half an eye on the Pre­mier League and West Ham’s pur­suit of Euro­pean foot­ball.

As the for­mer Cameroon goal­keeper Joseph-an­toine Bell pointed out, Zam­bia’s suc­cess in the Cup of Na­tions in 2012 came as a wake-up call to the tra­di­tional pow­ers, prov­ing that or­gan­i­sa­tion, dis­ci­pline and team spirit would trump star names. Nige­ria’s suc­cess two years ago fol­lowed the same prin­ci­ples; it was very much Stephen Keshi’s was sig­nif­i­cant too that the side Nige­ria beat in the fi­nal was Burk­ina Faso, an­other welldrilled unit.

Cameroon, with a lit­tle more flair and the au­da­cious press­ing-game, have now adopted the the­ory: if the big names don’t fit, they don’t play, and so Song will spend the next month in east Lon­don. — Guardian LON­DON — Thierry Henry (pic­tured) has slammed the “out of or­der” Ar­se­nal fans who vented their fury at Arsene Wenger af­ter a de­feat at Stoke City last month.

A group of Ar­se­nal sup­port­ers ver­bally abused the long-serv­ing Ar­se­nal manager as he boarded a train back to Lon­don fol­low­ing a 3-2 Pre­mier League de­feat at the Bri­tan­nia Sta­dium.

Ar­se­nal have won six of their eight games since then to si­lence Wenger’s crit­ics and club leg­end Henry was baf­fled by the tor­rent of abuse his for­mer boss was sub­jected to.

The for­mer Ar­se­nal striker is quoted as say­ing in sev­eral Bri­tish news­pa­pers: “You can be up­set, I to­tally un­der­stand that. But when I saw what hap­pened at Stoke I was like, ‘that’s to­tally un­nec­es­sary’.

“Fans do have a voice, I to­tally un­der­stand that, but what I saw af­ter the Stoke City game was out of or­ can ex­press that you are up­set, but to do it in that way was a bit too much. — Four­fourtwo. POR­TU­GAL and Real Madrid star Cris­tiano Ron­aldo (pic­tured) has ex­pressed pride at mak­ing Fifa’s World XI for eight straight years along with Lionel Messi.

Ron­aldo picked up his third Bal­lon d’or on Mon­day, beat­ing four-time win­ner Messi and World Cup cham­pion Manuel Neuer to foot­ball’s top in­di­vid­ual play­ing prize.

“To be hon­est, no, I didn’t think I’d be at the top of world foot­ball for so many years,” Ron­aldo told “It all hap­pened so fast. In my opin­ion, the hard­est thing is main­tain­ing that level.

“I’m proud to have been in the World XI for eight con­sec­u­tive years and al­ways vy­ing to be among the best three, as it’s some­thing very few peo­ple man­age to do. I think just Messi and I have done it, not many more any­way.

“I don’t think any­one else has done it eight years in a row, which is why it’s im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing.

Year af­ter year I keep work­ing hard with my club and na­tional team so that I con­tinue to stand out.

This recog­ni­tion is an in­di­ca­tion that things are go­ing well and that I’m en­joy­ing an ex­cep­tional ca­reer.”— Kick­off

VIN­CENT Aboubakar (right) seen here vy­ing for the ball with Brazil’s de­fender Marcelo is one of the new young play­ers im­press­ing for Cameroon since the low of their World Cup exit.

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