Profiles - World Cup Teams - Cameroon
Cameroon Cameroon will set a record for Africa when they make their fifth World Cup finals appearance this summer.

With Morocco's surprise failure to qualify, they have now progressed to the World Cup finals more times than any other African country.

Already, they have achieved the distinction of going further in the tournament than any other of their African rivals, reaching the quarter-finals in Italy in 1990 where they lost a memorable game in extra-time to England 3-2 in Naples.

And their appearance in Asia will be the fourth consecutive visit to the World Cup finals although on the last two occasions they were unable to match the charismatic showing that captivated the world's attention at Italia '90.

Cameroon, who are also the reigning African and Olympic champions, have come a long way from the carefree and wild image they created more than a decade ago, where they combined some sublime skill and breathtaking passing with brutal tackling that earned them two red cards and 13 cautions in the 1990 finals.

There is much more a businessman-like attitude now to the team, emphasised by the proficient way in which they swooped through their qualifying group.

Eight successive wins, first in the preliminary round and then in their group, set Cameroon on their way to another World Cup appearance.

But the off-field distractions continue to plague the country, who went through three coaches in the qualifiers, before Wi and appointed a fourth this year alone.

Government interference in the team affairs has always been a bugbear for coaches of the team.

The sports ministry funds the team and the incumbent minister's patronage is almost always a licence for a major say in the running of the national side.

A spat between French Pierre Lechantre and sports minister Bidoung Mkpatt cost the former his job in May. Lechantre had been removed last December in favour of Jean-Paul Akono, the coach at the helm of the under-23 side, which won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney last year.

Akono proved unpopular with the fans and left after just four months in charge with Lechantre briefly restored to his post before he was fired.

Little-known Frenchman Robert Corfu took charge of Cameroon's last two qualifiers but was then also removed.

German Schafer took charge of the side with just three months to prepare before Cameroon defended their African Nations Cup title in Mali.

But their success in January showed he is not be short of talented players to work with, the vast majority based with clubs across Europe.

Captain Rigobert Song, the only player ever to be sent off in two World Cups (1994 and 1998) is the sometimes erratic marshal of an occasionally unsteady defence but it is in attack where the Indomitable Lions are at their strongest.

Youthful Samuel Eto'o and Patrick Mboma, who was last year's winner of the African Footballer of the Year title, scored nine goals between them in the World Cup qualifiers but are kept on their toes by Pius Ndiefi of Sedan in France and the injury-prone Joseph-Desire Job of Middlesbrough.

Another English-based player Lauren of Arsenal adds pace on the flank and the midfield is anchored by the strength of Lyon veteran Marc-Vivien Foe, who missed the last World Cup with a broken leg. homepage