“The players need more concentration. They need 100 per cent concentration. It is strange that they would bag three goals and only start fighting for equalisation at the end of the match. In the past each corner or a direct kick used to end with a goal for the Lions. It is not so today. So I will work hard to take car of this situation.”
Last Sunday, your team was thrashed, 3-2, by their Egyptian counterparts. What went wrong?
We started the match very well. But midway into the first half, we lost steam. We lacked 100 per cent concentration. The first goal was very shocking. I remember that there was a corner kick. Kameni had good reflex and sent it out. then there was this throw in by the Egyptians which led to the goal at the 45th minute. That was very bad for us. What happened is that our players lacked concentration for a few seconds. In the second half, Egypt was very aggressive and scored two more goals. Our boys were relaxed and only realised they were losing at the 45th minute. They became aggressive. But it was too late. they could only score two goals within three minutes. I have always told our players that they have 90 minutes to express themselves; no more, no less. I don’t know why they were slow in entering the game. All the same, I hope things will be better next time.
What next after the defeat?
I will make sure that we work very hard for the match against Sudan. Maybe we will bring in new players. I don’t know at moment. I will talk with the players an find out what really went wrong. I will meet them in their respective clubs. This will enable me to know why the players excel in their respective clubs and not in the national team. Maybe they have a psychological problem which we must address. Cote d’Ivoire now has nine points. It does not discourage me because I know we still have six matches left. I greatly believe that Cameroon will represent Group three in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Our last match against Egypt will be very decisive.
You have been calling new players to camp al the while. But the irony is that you don’t give them a chance to demonstrate their talents. Are you afraid to make changes in your team?
Not at all. For the match against Egypt, I used mostly players who excelled during the game against Cote D’Ivoire. It was a very crucial encounter and could not dare to start testing players on the pitch. However, for the next matches, I will see how I can use the new players .But I need to go to their clubs and see how they play. The one week camping which we organised is usually not enough to know a player very well. I need the means to go around.
Do you mean to say you have problems detecting talents because of financial problems?
Not actually. I usually prefinance the trips. The federation recently paid all my bills. My salary was also paid. I hope it should will continue like that. But what people should know is that all national coaches need money to work effectively. Now that our players are concentrated in Europe, I will make sure I take time to see how they function in their teams.
What do you think is needed to bring back some punch into your squad?
The players need more concentration. They need 100 per cent concentration. It is strange that they would bag three goals and only start fighting for equalisation at the end of the match. In the past each corner or a direct kick used to end with a goal for the Lions. It is not so today. So I will work hard to take car of this situation.
So we can say all is not yet lost ?
Yes. We still have hopes of qualifying for the 2006 world Cup and nations Cup. I will make sure this dream comes true. We will work harder for our next matches.
Tche Irene Morikang in Cairo