DOUALA, Cameroon (AP) — Cameroon coach Volker Finke included Samuel Eto’o and Alex Song in his 23-man squad for the World Cup, where the West African nation hopes to reach knockout stages for the first time in 24 years.
Cameroon was the first African team to make the World Cup quarterfinals in Italy in 1990 but has won just one game in the four tournaments it has qualified for since, failing to get out of its group in 1994, 1998, 2002 and four years ago in South Africa.
Finke included Chelsea striker Eto’o, Barcelona midfielder Song in a squad without any major surprises, along with defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who is on loan at Queens Park Rangers from Tottenham. Forwards Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choup-Moting also made the final squad announced on FIFA’s deadline day for player lists to be registered.
“A team is a blend of talent,” Finke said. “For Brazil, we need efficiency and experience to cruise into the second round.”
The German coach dropped five players from the larger group he took to Europe for a training camp in Austria and friendly games against Macedonia, Paraguay and Germany. Among those to miss out were veteran striker Mohammadou Idrissou and defender Jean-Armel Kana Biyik, whose father and uncle played at the 1990 World Cup.
Cameroon beat Macedonia, lost to Paraguay and drew with Germany in tuneup games for this month’s tournament. It will play Moldova in a final friendly at home in Yaounde on Saturday before heading to Brazil, where it meets Mexico, Croatia and the host nation in three tough group matches.
Goalkeepers: Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), Sammy Ndjock (Fethiyespor), Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport).
Defenders: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham/Queens Park Rangers), Henri Bedimo (Lyon), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray), Cedric Djeugoue (Coton Sport), Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille), Dany Nounkeu (Besiktas), Allan Nyom (Granada).
Midfielders: Enoh Eyong (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Rennes), Joel Matip (Schalke), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy), Landry Nguemo (Bordeaux), Edgar Salli (Racing Lens), Alex Song (Barcelona).
Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Mainz), Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea), Fabrice Olinga (Malaga), Pierre Webo (Fenerbahce).