Since the victory of the Super Eagles at the 2013Africa Cup of Nations, this national team has aroused admiration in Cameroon, with its representation of local players and the sidelining of experienced professionals such as Osaze Odemwingie.
Certain figures within Cameroonian football even wish Cameroon could do the same thing, by sidelining their “bourgeois” professional footballers to the benefit of their local players who have “the hunger to win”.
An idea which does not however appeal to former Indomitable Lions’ goalkeeper Joseph Antoine Bell:
“Nigeria is not Cameroon. We cannot copy Nigeria’s example under the pretext that they included local players in their AFCON team. Because to do this one would have to be certain that Cameroon have amateur players of the same calibre as Nigeria. But this is not certain,” Bell was quoted as saying on MTNfootball.com.
It was in fact a local player, Sunday Mba of the Enugu Rangers, who scored Nigeria’s victorious goal in the Afcon final against Burkina Faso.
But for Joseph Antoine Bell, Cameroon should not be asking questions about locals or professionals since, according to him, they are all Cameroonians, who should be selected according to strict criteria of performance.
“The national team is about excellence. These are the best players who are selected to play and to defend the colours of their country.
“The national team is not about the juxtaposition of talents. But this is what we have been doing in Cameroon for a long time now.
“The national coach should select the best players who are able to be deployed for a specific plan.”