Cameroon v Tunisia

Sunday 17 November

Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon

Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon

Cameroon and Tunisia will face each other on Sunday in one of the five CAF World Cup Qualifying play-offs. Tunisia missed a big opportunity in the first leg drawing at home and will find it difficult in rugged Cameroon. Both sides were fortunate in qualifying for the play-off round after teams from their groups fielded ineligible players and were docked points.

Tunisia and Cameroon both spurned several glorious chances as the first leg of their World Cup play-off ended goalless at the Rades Stadium. The German coach of the Indomitable Lions, Volker Finke, has marshalled a strong side led by veteran Samuel Eto’o for the return leg against the Carthage Eagles. Bedimo Henri of Lyon and Assou Ekotto Benoit of English Championship side QPR have been called-up in defence. In the midfield compartment, Mbia Stephane of La Liga club Sevilla makes a comeback after recovering from an injury that prompted his absence in Tunisia and is set to partner Alex Song of Barcelona.

In attack, Vincent Aboubakar of French Ligue 1 side Lorient and Olinga Fabrice of Malaga, who were in the waiting list in the first leg match in Rades now make their entry in the main list of 25. Aboubakar comes into the squad in good form having scored five goals so far this season. The Indomitable Lions will look to one of the greatest strikers in African history for goals, Samuel Eto’o. He has been in great form since moving to English Premier League team Chelsea and has scored three goals in his last three games. Cameroon only won three of their six group games to top their group and qualify for the play-off round. However, all three wins came at home and they will be looking to maintain that form in Yaounde on Sunday.

Ruud Krol has taken over the reins at Tunisia after the former manager resigned following disappointing performances in the group stages. The former Holland player agreed to combine the role temporarily with his job as manager of Club Sportif Sfaxien, whom he led to the Tunisian title last season. Krol represents a radical change from his predecessor as he plays with the typical Dutch 4-3-3 formation that has brought him success at CSS and adopts a much more attacking attitude than the previous manager who was more defensive minded. Tunisia have made seven changes to their 26-man squad.

The Carthage Eagles have recalled midfielders Jamel Saihi and Fabien Camus after the goalless first leg in Tunis last month. Montpellier’s Saihi returns to the squad after a long-term injury while Camus of Racing Genk returns four years after his only cap. There is a first call up for St Gallen midfielder Stephane Nater, another French-born player with Tunisian roots. Tunisia’s caretaker coach Ruud Krol has added more attacking options by including Ahmed Akaichi of Esperance. Tunisia started their qualifying campaign in the group stages with three wins over Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone but then failed to win a single match in the second round, drawing twice and losing 2-0 to Cape Verde at home in the final group game.

Cameroon have the better head-to-head record between the countries with six victories in the nine previous meetings, with Tunisia’s only win coming a decade ago in an international friendly in Tunis. Cameroon were the slightly better team in the first leg and will be more dominant at home. Back the Indomitable Lions to earn the victory to book their place in Brazil next year.

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