The head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon António Conceição da Silva Oliveira says he had a hard time calling-up some players ahead of a training camp in the Netherlands next month due to travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cameroon will camp in Netherlands from October 5 to 13, 2020 with the list of pre-selected players dominated by European-based players. They will face Japan in an international friendly game on October 9, during the FIFA break.
Thirty-two (32) players were selected by the Portuguese tactician on Monday September 14, but his list excluded 2017 Afcon MVP Christian Bassogog, John Mary, Arnaud Djom amongst others.
Coach Toni Conceicao told Cameroon Tribune that the global health crises
is at the origin of the absence of some players but insisted he will continue to monitor them to ensure he builds a winning squad ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the African Cup
of Nations qualifiers.
“Covid-19 really affected us. We should have played a couple of friendlies by now as well as other competitions. We should have trained more. We were limited in our choices. The World Health Organization does not permit players from other continents to come. For instance John Mary, Bassogog; Djoum and Seidiki Aboubakary,” Coach Toni Conceicao said.
Even the goalkeepers in Cameroon aren’t among those selected due to the health crises. We will continue to monitor the players in order to build a solid squad for the World Cup and Afcon qualifiers’,” he added.
Among those called-up for the training gathering are Russian based professional footballer Njie Clinton and Nicolas N’Koulou of Torino in Italy who both return to the den.
According to the former CFR Cluj Gaffer both players have shown their interest to return to the squad and believe their experience will improve on the quality and output of his team.
“They are players who have a positive history with the Indomitable Lions and for one reason or the other were away from the team. Like I said on the first day, the national selection is meant for everyone as long as they are discipline and meet up with the coaches expectations.’’
“I had a conversation with N’Koulou before he was selected and he showed signs of availability and commitment in future with the national selection. Clinton Njie’s case is different. He has resolved the problem he faced. He also showed interest to return to the team more motivated. He knows what is required of him.”
António Conceição da Silva Oliveira was appointed on 20 September by the Ministry of Sport and Physical Education.
He replaced Clarence Seedorf who was sacked after he failed to impress at the Nations Cup last year.
António Conceição da Silva Oliveira has taken charge of two games with the Lions. He recorded his first win against Rwanda and a draw with Cape Verde Island in Yaoundé.
The Indomitable Lions are aiming to clinch her sixth continental AFCON title when they stage the 24-team biennial continental tournament in 2022.