Cameroon look better off without Song
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 team.it 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 order.you 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 Fifa.com. “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.