World Cup: Three Cameroonians enthroned in record participation in Africa
African nation with the most participations in the World Cup, Cameroon also drags in its bag the only African players with the most World Cups to their credit.
Of the fifty or so African nations affiliated to FIFA, only 13 have ever had the privilege of seeing their national anthem performed during a Football World Cup match. With 7 participations to its credit, Cameroon is the one with the most participations in a World Cup final phase. It is therefore quite logical that the country of the Indomitable Lions has the only African players with the record of participation in the most prestigious of football competitions.
Jacques Songo’o: the pioneer!
It is the precursor of this Cameroonian tradition of players « record holder » of participations in the World Cup. With the Indomitable Lions, he participated in four final stages of the World Cup, with one match in 1994, and three matches in 1998. He officiated as a substitute goalkeeper in 1990 and 2002. Yet present in the national team since 1984 (until 2002), he will unfortunately be relegated to supporting roles for a long time, due to strong competition with Thomas Nkono and Joseph Antoine Bell. His 46 selections in 18 years will still make him the first African to cross the bar of 4 participations in the World Cup.
Rigobert Song: the emblematic!
Record holder of selections (137) for the Indomitable Lions, Rigobert Song is a player with remarkable precocity. In 1994, he participated in his very first World Cup when he was only 17 years and 353 days old: a record at that time. At the end of his rich career in 2010, the emblematic captain of the Indomitable Lions equaled the record of his compatriot Jacques Songo’o with 4 participations in the World Cup (1994,1998, 2002 and 2010).
Samuel Eto’o… With forceps!
Author of 3 of the last 4 goals in the history of Cameroon in the World Cup, Samuel Eto’o is considered the best player in the history of Cameroon, and even in Africa. He played his first World Cup in France in 1998, when he was only 17 years and 3 months old, being the youngest player in the competition and beating the record previously set by his compatriot Rigobert Song four years earlier. He will then take part in the 2002, 2010 and 2014 editions. In 2014, he goes to the forceps, because suffering from a knee. He will also play only the first match of the Lions, because being forced to forfeit because of his discomfort that he drags his knee well before the World Cup. The objective of accumulating 4 World Cups having been achieved, he retired from international football after 116 selections and 56 achievements, including 3 in 10 World Cup matches.
The Qatar 2022 World Cup is, for sure, not the one that will make it possible to equal this record held by 3 Cameroonians, let alone beat it. If there are several players likely to compete for their 3rd in the world including Choupo Moting, Aboubakar Vincent, André Ayew (Ghana), it will still be necessary to wait to see the record of Songo’o, Song and Eto’o equaled then beaten. For now, these three former Lions, who symbolize Cameroon’s great footprint on the African continent, can rest easy, because the road remains long for current and future generations.
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