GOAL | Since being appointed to lead the Indomitable Lions last September, the Portuguese has taken charge of three matches
Villarreal midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa – on loan from Fulham – has hailed Cameroon coach Toni Conceicao as being “very close to his players,” saying the 58-year-old deserves more time to prove himself with the team.
Conceicao succeeded Clarence Seedorf as Indomitable Lions coach in September 2019 and has been in charge for three matches so far.
His first game at the Cameroon helm was a 0-0 international friendly match against Tunisia, followed by a similar result in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at home against Cape Verde Islands.
But Cameroon’s first victory under the Portuguese came in their second Afcon qualifying match away in Kigali when they scrapped to a 1-0 victory over Rwanda to settle for second place in Group F which is led by Mozambique.
Zambo Anguissa had started all three matches under Conceicao who has left Cameroonians divided in opinion after what appears to be unimpressive performances.
“Speaking to him, there is only good [in Conceicao],” Zambo Anguissa was quoted by Press Sport as having said on Canal+.
“From the start, he put a point of honour on what we players like; player-coach rapprochement and dialogue. He is very close to his players, he gives us and we want to give him back. He was clear with everyone. I think we should give him time and patience.”
Conceicao’s next competitive matches would have been back-to-back matches against Mozambique in March but Caf cancelled Afcon qualifiers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Indomitable Lions role is his first job in Africa after being with Romanian side CFR Cluj, Vitoria Setubal and Moreirense in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
Cameroon will host the 2021 Afcon finals and are participating in the qualifiers to earn game time.
After lifting the 2017 Afcon trophy, Cameroon were knocked out at the Round of 16 stage by Nigeria at the 2019 edition and the 2021 tournament will be a stern test of Conceicao’s tactical pedigree as Cameroon are pressed to reclaim the title on home soil.
The 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers are another concern for Conceicao after the Indomitable Lions did not make it to the 2018 tournament.
Cameroon will have to deal with Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Malawi in the first qualifying round.