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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 21:00 GMT
Ambition of Indomitable Lions
By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Ghana

Samuel Eto'o
Samuel Eto'o will be a key figure in the Indomitable Lions' attack
Should Cameroon win Sunday's final of the Africa Cup of Nations, they will justifiably be able to lay claim to being the continent's most successful football nation.

A win against Egypt in Accra would take them level with the Pharaohs on five African crowns apiece, yet Cameroon can back up those titles with other feats.

One of just two African countries to have reached the last eight of the World Cup, having done so in 1990, they are also the only one to have appeared at five World Cup finals.

Furthermore, Cameroon has also won Olympic gold, triumphing in dramatic style against Spain at Sydney 2000.

So the only thing missing from any Indomitable Lions fan's argument about their team is the right to say no one else has won more Nations Cups.

Andre Bikey
Andre Bikey (right) remonstrates with the referee and medical staff

And this could be achieved on Sunday, when two of Cameroon's old guard will undoubtedly be to the fore once again.

At the age of 31, captain Rigobert Song has played more Nations Cup matches than anyone in history and will be contesting his 33rd game on Sunday.

Although his pace has diminished, his experience always shines through - or perhaps, more recently, it is the sight of nephew Alexandre in midfield that spurs him on.

Up front, the incomparable Samuel Eto'o has already made his mark in Ghana - having overtaken the highest scoring tally of goals in the finals.

Otto Pfister
Pfister says he has the 'winning formula' for Cameroon

The record had been held for 38 years by Ivory Coast's Laurent Pokou until the three-time African Footballer of the Year converted a penalty against Sudan to take his tally to 15 - which he later extended to 16.

There is history between the two giants of African football too.

Three years ago, Cameroon failed to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 1990 when they were held 1-1 at home by Egypt in their final qualifying game.

You have to go back to 1996 to find the last sub-Saharan Nations Cup won by someone other than Egypt or Cameroon

BBC World Service's Piers Edwards

There is also the small matter of their opening Group C defeat against the Pharaohs, when they lost 4-2, to avenge.

Yet that game was lost in the first half with Egypt leading 3-0 at the break, but once coach Otto Pfister introduced Song at half-time the game tipped in Cameroon's favour.

Drafted in to take charge as late as October, the German has reached only his second Nations Cup final after decades in African football.

Obviously, he must reshuffle his defence to replace Andre Bikey after the centre-back was dismissed in farcical circumstances in Thursday's semi-final defeat of Ghana.

But Pfister has great faith in not only his players, but also himself.

"Each coach has his coaching secret. I use 'Otto Pfister's Winning Formula', which is my special training programme for preparation - and does not include what you learn in a sports university," the 70-year-old told BBC Sport.

"If you use all your knowledge, you will have a result at the end of the day - that is clear."

As Pfister chases his first Nations Cup success, he can take heart from the fact that Cameroon won their inaugural title in 1984 after losing their opening match that year - to Egypt.



SEE ALSO
2008 Cup of Nations qualifying
20 Oct 07 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Bikey to miss final after shove
08 Feb 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Pfister delights in Cameroon win
07 Feb 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Cameroon 'helped by reputation'
05 Feb 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Pfister lavishes praise on Eto'o
30 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Pfister praises Lions' strength
26 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations
Eto'o goal record
26 Jan 08 |  Africa Cup of Nations


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