18, June 2017
Unity and hard work are the Africans’ greatest assets
“We’ve all become firm friends,” explained skipper Benjamin Moukandjo
The first thing that becomes obvious to anyone spending time with the Cameroon squad that has travelled to Russia to take part in the 2017 Confederations Cup is the strong friendship that appears to unite the reigning African champions.
“When it’s just us, we tell jokes and make fun of each other, but once we’re out on the training pitch, everything gets serious again – we know when we need to get down to work,” forward Benjamin Moukandjo explained in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com in the Moscow hotel where Les Lions Indomptables have decided to base themselves ahead of their opening match with Chile today.
“I’ve been coaching for 29 years and I’ve never had a squad like this before,” the man at the helm, Hugo Bross, said earlier this year at the 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, from which his charges emerged victorious. “I keep telling them every day that they have something they need to cherish – and that’s friendship. They’re genuine friends, and you don’t often get that in a football team.”
Moukandjo smiled, nodding in agreement at his coach’s assessment. “Over time, and especially during the Cup of Nations campaign, we all became firm friends,” said the Lorient attacker. “We headed off to the tournament as a team, but while we were there we became a family.”