Wednesday Aug 25, 2021. 10:00
Cameroon national team manager Antonio ‘Toni’ Conceicao has said the Indomitable Lions are “ready to go into battle” for their upcoming 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.
Cameroon will face Group D rivals Malawi in Yaounde and Ivory Coast in Abidjan on September 3 and 6 respectively.
The 59-year-old Portuguese manager has been in charge of the Lions since September 2019, succeeding Clarence Seedorf, and will face his first major challenge in trying to return Cameroon to the World Cup after missing the last edition in 2018.
“The first game that concerns me is Malawi. This is a team that is theoretically weaker than Ivory Coast and Cameroon, but which comes to Yaounde to complicate things for us, to cause us problems,” said Conceicao, as quoted by CAF’s official website.
“It’s a team that is very strong physically, that gives everything, fights for all the balls. We will have to put a tactical strategy with the creativity of our players to make the difference.
“Nowadays there are no easy matches. A lot of difficulties are expected against Malawi, Mozambique and Ivory Coast. But we are prepared and ready to go into battle.”
On the progress he has made in reforming the team’s playing style, ‘Toni’ added: “The players are starting to understand what I want defensively and offensively. Defensively the team is solid, offensively we have a lot of play.
“It’s true that in the last two games we missed goals (1-0 and 0-0 against Nigeria in friendlies), and individual quality in front of the goals, but we work on it with the players. We have all the arguments to fight the other big countries.”
The Portuguese also sees the World Cup Qualifiers as having a double value, as they will not only determine a place at Qatar 2022, but also prepare Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held on home soil in January and February of next year.
“We have six games before the AFCON. The World Cup qualifiers are more important. Obviously, if we have a good performance that will help for AFCON,” he concluded.