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Saturday, 6 April, 2002, 10:45 GMT 11:45 UK
Cameroon get their man at last
Cameroon's German manager Winfried Schafer
Divided loyalties: Cameroon's coach Winfried Schafer
In Winfried Schafer, Cameroon are convinced they have finally found the right man to guide them to success at the World Cup.

After hiring and firing three coaches during qualification for the finals, the German was called in to bring some much-needed stability to the ship ahead of a busy 2002 for the Indomitable Lions.

First there was the business of attempting to defend the African Nations title won in 2000 with success in Mali at the beginning of this year.

Then, of course, the big one - the World Cup.

Former Borussia Monchengladbach defender Schafer was the man chosen for the task.

Cameroon football's governing body, Fecafoot, offered him a one-year contract last September.

He accepted straight away, but did not take charge of his first match - a goalless draw in a friendly away to Poland - until mid-November.

German showdown

To take up the post, Schafer left German club Tennis Borussia Berlin where he had been coach since 1999.

And, it was perhaps no surprise when at December's World Cup draw, football fate decreed that Schafer must prepare his new side to take on his home nation.

After negotiating Group E tmatches with the Republic of Ireland and Saudi Arabia, Cameroon head into what could be a crunch second round decider with three-time World Champions Germany.

Having also coached at Borussia Mönchengladbach, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, Schafer knows plenty about how Germany will intend to play.

Winfried Schafer
Born: 10.01.1950
Playing career:
Mönchengladbach 1968/70, 1977/85
Kickers Offenbach 1970/5
Karlsruhe SC 1975/7
403 games/46 goals
Coaching:
Mönchengladbach 1982
Karlsruhe SC 1986/96
VfB Stuttgart 1998
Borussia Berlin 1999

He is also no stranger to success.

As a player at Mönchengladbach he won the German championship in 1970 and the Uefa Cup in 1979.

Then, of course, there was that African Nations Cup triumph just five months after taking on the Cameroon job.

Had things not gone so well in Mali, then, given the frequency with which the managerial revolving doors rotate in Cameroon, Schafer could well have fallen by the wayside long before now.

Instead, the plan could not have gone any better so far.

Schafer has acted quickly to steady the squad. He immediately settled on a core of about 30 players, and has now stated he does not envisage many changes from the 22-man party he used in Mali.

With the experienced Rigobert Song and Patrick Mboma still around and stars like Lauren and Samuel Eto'o in the ranks, the German will be seeking at least a repeat of the last-eight appearance in 1990.

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GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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