Rigobert Song is concerned that the talent drain from Cameroon will prevent the Indomitable Lions from thriving in future editions of the African Nations Championship for home-based players.
Despite being one of the continent’s giants – and the reigning African champions – Cameroon were dumped out in the first round of the ongoing CHAN in Morocco after taking one point from their three group-stage matches.
While Song is content with how his team fared against Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Burkina Faso, he’s concerned that the sustained exodus of talent from the Elite One will prevent the Central Africans from ever assembling a competitive CHAN team.
“I think if we keep these players for the future, we can go far,” the head coach told KweséESPN, “but I know that we have no chance of keeping the local players.
“Certainly some of them will move abroad within a few days,” he added. “You can see that we are always working towards a goal that will never be reached.
“That’s our concern, but we’ll do what we can with what we have, and we won’t give up.”
Despite boasting the likes of Minnesota United-bound Frantz Pangop and reigning Elite One Player of the Year Alphonse Tientcheu, Cameroon were sent packing from the biennial tournament after losing their first two matches.
Regardless of their poor showing, Song has defended his players’ performance and is happy with how they acquitted themselves in Morocco.
“Overall, I’m satisfied by my players, because they showed that they were ready for this and they did what we expected of them,” he continued. “Maybe we wanted more, but they showed their strengths compared to to the qualities they have.
“These are amateur players and, for the majority, this was the first time they’ve left the country,” the former Liverpool defender added. “They were surprised, but that’s where you have to start from.
“They were surprised, sure, but they’ve shown what they have inside them – desire and determination,” he concluded. “Maybe the second half of the tournament would have been different for us, because the hardest thing is to get past the first round.”
Ed Dove is the Soccer Editor for KweséESPN. Follow him on Twitter @EddyDove.