Oyongo: We don’t have big players, but we have the mentality
Cameroon defender Ambroise Oyongo revealed to FIFA that the team’s mentality was the reason behind their success in the Africa Cup of Nations.
On Sunday, Cameroon won their fifth Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-1 victory over Egypt. However, Cameroon had personnel issues before the competition, as several big-name players decided not to join the national team for a variety of reasons. Regardless, the 23 players Cameroonian players that left for Gabon quickly formed a tight-knit bond, that helped them win their first AFCON title in 15 years.
In an interview with FIFA, Oyongo revealed that the Indomitable Lions’ ‘fighting spirit’ is the reason they won and that they deserved to win after playing against all of the big teams in Africa. Cameroon had to face off against Senegal and Ghana, before facing Egypt in the final.
When asked about when winning the fifth title became a reality, the defender said, “After beating Senegal, we became more confident, because Senegal was the best team at this Africa Cup of Nations. So when we beat them, we were confident that we could win this competition.”
Even though the 25-year-old player has played at the FIFA U-20 World Cup before, he said that it does not compare to the AFCON. According to Oyongo, this competition was much harder because he had to face off against better players, who play in some of the best clubs around the world. Some of the top players that Oyongo mentioned were Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, Ghana’s Christian Atsu, Gabon’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Senegal’s Sadio Mane.
By winning this competition, Cameroon has now qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup, which will be held in Russia later this year. The defender stated that their qualification is huge, as all of the best teams from around the world will be competing in this competition. He went on to talk about the team’s preparation saying,”I think we will prepare well for that competition. We have a good team and if we prepare as we did for AFCON, we will be ready and we can do something there.”
“I think our main strength is the mentality of the team. We are a group, and if everyone accepts what the coach says, we can do anything,” added Oyongo.
Cameroon will be facing bigger names in Russia, and according to Oyongo, in football, you have to always be prepared to against all of the best players, so they have to always be focused. Nevertheless, he admits that it is not easy, they could play against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, which would be difficult.
“You have to accept that, you have to fight if you want to play against the best, so I will take up the challenge.”
Oyongo, who plays for Canadian club Montreal Impact will have a break until the 15th of February as they are now in pre-season, so he will have time to rest and recover. It is worth noting that the defender played every minute for his side in the competition.
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