Eto’o puts his coach on the spot

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BOTH Cameroon and Den­mark will have their backs to the wall when they meet in a World Cup Group E clash at the Lof­tus Vers­feld sta­dium this evening.

Hav­ing lost their open­ing matches, both sides know that de­feat in their sec­ond game of the group stages could spell the end of their in­ter­est in this year’s tour­na­ment.

If the Nether­lands and Ja­pan were to draw in the other group game, then a de­feat would see ei­ther Cameroon or Den­mark elim­i­nated. But with two ri­vals al­ready on three points, any­thing other than a vic­tory will leave ei­ther side still with a moun­tain to climb in or­der to reach the knock-out phase.

And that’s some­thing that has not been lost on In­domitable Lions mid­fielder Enoh Ey­ong Takang who be­lieves the Africans must im­prove up front fol­low­ing their open­ing 1-0 de­feat to Ja­pan.

“It re­ally is a do-or-die game. We must win it if we want a chance to progress,” he said. “We have to get the strike force go­ing. We will have to score.” That was some­thing they failed to do against the Ja­panese, de­spite dom­i­nat­ing the sec­ond half.

Cameroon looked im­po­tent in at­tack against a team that was con­sid­ered by far the weak­est in the group. One rea­son for that was coach Paul Le Guen’s de­ci­sion to play star for­ward Sa­muel Eto’o wide right, a po­si­tion he ex­celled in un­der Jose Mour­inho for In­ter Mi­lan this sea­son.

But Cameroon are not In­ter and Mal­lorca’s Pierre Webo, who played through the mid­dle, is not on the same level as Diego Mil­ito, which made Le Guen’s de­ci­sion even harder to com­pre­hend as Eto’o was anony­mous al­most through­out the match.

And speak­ing to French TV chan­nel Canal Plus, Eto’o left no mys­tery as to his feel­ings that his coach had made a mis­take.

“At the end of the World Cup, Paul must an­swer to the of­fi­cials. And me, as a player and cap­tain, I must do the same,” he said.

“I played where the coach wanted. I gave it ev­ery­thing and I tried to put my team-mates in good po­si­tions to do their job.

“But I am the best scorer in the his­tory of the Cameroon na­tional team be­cause I play in a cer­tain po­si­tion (cen­tral striker).”

It’s not just up front that the In­domitable Lions have prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to Monaco de­fender Nicolas Nk­oulou, his team need to tighten up at the back as well.

“We lost a bat­tle but not the war. Ev­ery­one’s be­hind us. It’s im­por­tant to re­act on the pitch,” Nk­oulou said.

“We’re not very happy with the num­ber of goals we’ve con­ceded (eight in the last three games). We’ll do all we can to per­form bet­ter come Satur­day.”

Den­mark are in an equally pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion hav­ing lost their opener against the Nether­lands 2-0.

They weren’t helped by an own goal from Daniel Ag­ger but coach Morten Olsen said they have to for­get that game and quickly fo­cus on chal­lenges ahead. “We still have two im­por­tant games,” he said.

And he will be hop­ing that he can use Arse­nal tar­get-man Nick­las Bendt­ner for more than an hour, as he did against the Nether­lands. “He couldn’t play any more. What we saw was fine and he will play again,” said Olsen.

Poulsen has a hard time get­ting over the own goal. “I have thought about it a thou­sand times,” he said. “Of course, I have tried to think about all the pos­i­tive mo­ments and I think the team and my­self played a good first half. Yet the (own) goal keeps com­ing back.”

Dan­ish fans have for­given Poulsen, and he has not been lam­basted by team-mates or Olsen. – Sapa-dpa & Sapa-AFP

QUES­TIONED: Paul Le Guen

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