‘Loss not an option’


Building castles in the air? Maybe. But Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden (RVG) says a draw is the minimum result that he is looking for when his charges inavade the Indomimitable Lions of Cameroon’s  den at Ahmadou Ahidijo in Yaounde tomorrow.

Asked what his realistic expectations are from the Group B 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, RVG said: “I think what we must always have in our mind is that they are one of the biggest teams in Africa with an impeccable record and they are currently the champions.

“They deserve respect, but we shouldn’t fear them, no!”

Plotting Cameroon’s downfall?: RVG (L) and his backroom staff share notes during training yesterday

The Flames mentor said he draws his inspiration from Comoros who came within touching distance of causing an upset against the reinging African champions who came from behind to force a one-all draw last month.

“I think we can draw a lot of inspiration against Comoros that if we can fight like men possessed then we could get a result from this match,” he said from Yaounde yesterday.

RVG said either a draw or a win could boost his charges’ confidence levels ahead of the second-leg tie four days later at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

After arriving in Yaounde on Tuesday afternoon, the Flames first training session was delayed because of a heavy downfall and they only loosened up later in the evening.

Asked how he assessed his charges after their first proper training session with a full squad yesterday morning, the coach said: “I am happy with the attitude of the foreign-based players, they have shown a lot of commitment and they are responding well to the tactics which were mastered during the local camping.”

Commenting on the prospects of playing in wet conditions as it is rainy season in the West African country, RVG said: “We knew about the weather [through advance team] and we are preparing for any situation.”

Meanwhile, according to www.goal.com, following injuries to key players Clinton Njie of Marseille and FC Porto forward Vincent Aboubakar, Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf has been forced to alter his squad.

France-based duo of Felix Eboa Eboa and Felix Bahoken are also unavailable, while Dimitri Oberlin has opted to stay with the Switzerland Under-21 side despite being called up by Seedorf.

Cameroon are ranked 50th on Fifa/Coca-Cola world rankings, 75 places above the Flames.  Cameroon have won two of their five games against the Flames. Malawi won once while the other two games ended in draws.

The two sides last met during the Afcon qualifier in 1995 when the Indomitable Lions triumphed 3-1. The Flames’ only victory by a similar margin was in 1987 during the All African Games. In their first meeting in 1980, Cameroon earned a 3-0 win in a 1982 Fifa World Cup qualifier. The other games ended in goalless and one-all draws. n

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