FIFA World Cup countdown: Top 10 Cameroonian players of all time

As part of the countdown to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Sports Mole looks at the top 10 players in the history of Cameroon.
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Cameroon may never have threatened to win the World Cup, yet they have provided plenty of entertainment during their six outings at football's biggest tournament.

The four-time champions of Africa will forever be remembered as the nation that almost knocked out England at the quarter-final stage at Italia '90.

This summer they go into the tournament bidding to become the first African country to get their hands on the famous trophy.

Here, to continue our countdown to the World Cup, Sports Mole looks at the top 10 players in Cameroon's history.



10. Carlos Kameni (2001-present, 70 caps, no goals)

Carlos Kameni in action for Cameroon on February 09, 2005.© Getty Images

Such was the esteem in which Kameni was held, he was a full international before his 20th birthday. Since then, he's featured in two World Cups and five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments. He also kept goal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as Cameroon upset Spain to win the gold medal.

In terms of club football, the 30-year-old became a key figure during his eight-year career with Espanyol, whom he helped to lift the Copa del Rey trophy back in 2006.

Now of Malaga, he is no longer an automatic starter, but is still highly regarded in his homeland and is expected to be a part of the squad in Brazil.



9. Alex Song (2005-present, 39 caps, no goals)

Barcelona midfielder Alex Song in action for Cameroon on March 03, 2010.© Getty Images

Any player would find it difficult to turn down Barcelona's advances. Song had made himself a key part of the Arsenal midfield when the Catalans came calling in the summer of 2012, but it would be fair to say that the move hasn't worked out for the 26-year-old.

He showed during his time with the Gunners, though, that he would be an asset for many teams. An old-fashioned midfielder, Song is capable of putting in a tough tackle as well as picking out a pass - as he showed numerous times by laying chances on a plate for Robin van Persie.

His move to Barca hasn't helped where the Cameroon national side is concerned, although he was named in the Africa Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament in 2008 and 2010.



8. Francois Omam-Biyik (1986-1998, 63 caps, 12 goals)

The striker will forever be placed on a pedestal by Cameroon supporters for the goal that he scored during the 1-0 victory over holders Argentina at Italia '90. It was in fact the first goal of that year's tournament.

His performances in Italy earned him a switch to France with Rennes, before separate spells with Cannes, Marseille and Lens.

Now retired, Omam-Biyik is the manager of Gabonese football club US Bitam.



7. Patrick Mboma (1995-2004, 57 caps, 33 goals)

Patrick Mboma in action for Cameroon September 30, 2000.© Getty Images

Renowned for scoring goals from distance with his powerful left foot, Mboma scored one of his country's most memorable goals against world champions France in October 1998. With the ball bouncing loosely inside the area, the striker acrobatically beat Fabien Barthez with an overhead kick.

As well as three separate stints with Paris Saint-Germain, Mboma also played for the likes of Metz and Parma, but it was in Japan with Gamba Osaka that he had the most success, scoring 29 goals to win the J-League top goalscorer award in 1997.

He had an ill-fated spell in the Premier League with Sunderland, for whom he scored just the one goal, but that doesn't detract from the fact that he was key player for his nation for many years. His international goal tally of 33 is only bettered by one player.



6. Geremi (1996-2010, 118 caps, 13 goals)

Former Chelsea midfielder Geremi playing for Cameroon at the World Cup on June 19, 2010.© Getty Images

In terms of trophies, few Cameroon footballers have won more than Geremi. The industrious midfielder was on the books of Real Madrid when they won the Champions League in 2000 and 2002, as well as the La Liga title in 2001. During his time at the Bernabeu, he made the shortlist for the 2000 Ballon d'Or award.

A brace of Premier League titles and League Cups followed after he had completed a £6.9m switch to Chelsea, where Jose Mourinho was known to appreciate his ability to play anywhere in midfield or at right-back. He wasn't as successful with Newcastle United, but he did make over 50 appearances for the Magpies.

Meanwhile, his return of 118 caps makes him the second-highest appearance maker for Cameroon. He was part of the squad that won the Olympics in 2000 and two Africa Cup of Nations.



5. Marc-Vivien Foe (1993-2003, 64 caps, eight goals)

The late Marc Vivien-Foe celebrates scoring a goal for Cameroon on February 06, 2000.© Getty Images

Tragically, Foe's life was cut short at the age of 28 in 2003. Representing Cameroon against Colombia in the Confederations Cup, held in France, Foe collapsed and despite attempts to revive him, the midfielder passed away. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was hypertrophic cardiomyopath, a condition known to increase the risk of sudden death during exercise.

Having had success in France with Lens and Lyon, Foe also made an impact in England with West Ham United, where he spent a season. He returned to the Premier League with Manchester City in 2002 and he'd go on to score the club's last ever goal at Maine Road. In tribute to him, City have retired the number 23 shirt.

The late Foe, who rumour has it almost joined Manchester United in 1997, was also a major part of the Cameroon team, featuring in the 1994 World Cup, as well as winning two Africa Cup of Nations titles.



4. Rigobert Song (1993-2010, 138 caps, five goals)

Rigobert Song in action at the World Cup for Cameroon on June 24, 2010.© Getty Images

Uncle to Alex Song, no player has made more appearances for Cameroon than the centre-back. He made his debut as a 17-year-old and went on to feature at World Cups in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010. During the 1994 tournament in the USA, Song became the youngest player to ever be red-carded in a World Cup encounter.

Then, he was sent off four years later, becoming the first player to ever have been handed his marching orders at two separate tournaments, although Zinedine Zidane has since claimed that unwanted record. Nevertheless, Song was a stubborn influence at the heart of the Cameroon defence.

From his time at Liverpool, it seems that Song rubbed Jamie Carragher up the wrong way. In his autobiography, Carragher wrote: "Song walked on to the training pitch with a smile on his face. He was limping off it with a grimace an hour later. The first chance I got, I did him. Never have I hunted down a 50–50 tackle with greater appetite. 'You're not fucking laughing now, are you,' I said as he hobbled away."



3. Thomas N'Kono (1976-1994, 112 caps, no goals)

Thomas Nkono keeps goal for Cameroon against England on June 23, 1990.© Getty Images

Italy's Gianluigi Buffon is one of the best goalkeepers to have ever donned a pair of gloves. However, had it not been for N'Kono, we may never have seen Buffon appear between the posts.

Speaking to FIFA's official website last year, the Juventus custodian revealed: "It was Thomas N'Kono and his spectacular saves that made me fall in love with the position. He quickly became my hero and I called my son Louis Thomas in his honour. After he was born N'Kono called to congratulate me."

During his career, N'Kono played at three World Cups, particularly shining during Italia '90 where he was part of the team that went so close to defeating England in the last eight.



2. Roger Milla (1978-1994, 102 caps, 28 goals)

Roger Milla celebrates scoring at the World Cup for Cameroon on June 28, 1994.© Getty Images

No player has made as much of an impact on a stage as grand as the World Cup than Milla, who was 38 (allegedly) when he took Italia '90 by storm. He scored four goals as Cameroon defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals, where he would also become known for his trademark wiggling celebration by the corner flag.

Remarkably, the striker returned four years later in the USA, scoring against Russia to become the tournament's oldest ever goalscorer - breaking the record that he had set in Italy.

Like many players from Cameroon during that period, Milla moved to France, where he played for a host of clubs, including Bastia, Monaco and Montpellier. His impact for both and club an international resulted in Pele naming Milla on the list of 125 greatest living football players in 2004.



1. Samuel Eto'o (1997-present, 112 caps, 55 goals)

Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o in action for Cameroon on March 03, 2010.© Getty Images

Three La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, three Champions Leagues, one Serie A title, two Coppa Italias and one FIFA World Club Cup are among the honours that Eto'o can look back on when he retires. Indeed, he could even add to that bulging list by the end of the current campaign with Chelsea.

Goals have been 33-year-old Eto'o's bread and butter throughout his career, scoring over 350 for club and country to date.

His international career has been an eventful one, culminating in him becoming Cameroon's leading goalscorer of all time. As for individual accolades, the Chelsea frontman has been named African Footballer of the Year four times and finished third in the running for the Ballon d'Or in 2005.



Cameroon will face Brazil, Croatia and Mexico in the group stages of this summer's World Cup, and you can follow every match live with Sports Mole.

Continuing our 50-day countdown to the tournament, we will be looking at the greatest players in the history of Chile tomorrow.

Who is the greatest Cameroonian footballer of all time?

Samuel Eto'o
Roger Milla
Thomas N'Kono
Rigobert Song
Marc-Vivien Foe
Geremi
Patrick Mboma
Francois Omam-Biyik
Alex Song
Carlos Kameni
Other
Samuel Eto'o
36.1%
Roger Milla
18.2%
Thomas N'Kono
2.1%
Rigobert Song
1.6%
Marc-Vivien Foe
2.1%
Geremi
2.0%
Patrick Mboma
2.3%
Francois Omam-Biyik
2.0%
Alex Song
1.4%
Carlos Kameni
1.4%
Other
30.6%
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