25, September 2020
Indomitable Lions coach António Conceicao says he is looking to improve his squad by looking for new talent both in Cameroon and further afield.
The Portuguese has now been in charge of the former African champions for a year after taking over from Dutchman Clarence Seedorf.
While the chance to train with his players and play matches has been affected by the global Covid-19 pandemic Conceicao has been keeping busy.
“I’m in regular dialogue with Fecafoot (the Cameroon Football Federation) to extend our work to the youth national teams, to make the best of our experience to for those teams,” he told BBC Sport Africa.
“Finding and developing new talent and bringing them to the national team is something that will make Cameroonians proud.
“I’m trying to improve the network in the countries where there are big Cameroonian expatriate communities through personal contacts and I can then observe players that I have identified.
“We’ve also been reaching out to young Cameroonian players playing abroad that can end up playing for other countries, in order to try to bring them on-board and want to play for Cameroon.”
Since he took charge, after their exit from last year’s Africa Cup of Nations in the last 16 at the hands of Nigeria, the Indomitable Lions have been limited to playing three matches.
October’s international break gives him the chance to hold a training camp and play a friendly against Japan in the Netherlands.
“We will have the chance to bring together a squad of players for the first time after a break of almost a year,” he said.
“We’ll bring the group together, and work on team spirit; exchange ideas with the players on what we want to bring to the national team.
“Also get to know and observe players who are new to the team; give players the opportunity to play for the national team, so that we can also draw conclusions and get new ideas for the future.”
In November the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers resume and although Cameroon have qualified as hosts they are taking part in the campaign and have back-to-back games against Mozambique.
Conceicao has admitted that the coronavirus pandemic has created new problems for his team and Fecafoot.
“There are a number of additional logistical difficulties in organising team gatherings, with the increased difficulty of bringing in players to Africa,” he explained.
“I don’t want to focus on the problems instead I have to focus on the solutions that despite all the limitations will allow us to work with Fecafoot for the best of the team.
“At the moment I am working hard with Fecafoot to try and improve training conditions for the team, working conditions in general, and the running of the team.
“Things are going well with the federation, and we feel they’re open to co-operating.”
He also insisted that taking part in the Nations Cup qualifying process despite qualifying as hosts is something he feels is important.
“I want to look at this situation as a way of improving the national team and bring in new players, so as to be able to have the best possible squad for the tournament itself,” he explained.
Conceicao is fully aware of what is expected of him and his team by the Cameroon fans.
It is a major responsibility, I know how important the national team is for all the people in Cameroon and the pride they have in their national team,” he added.
“There is the added responsibility of hosting the Nations Cup in Cameroon in 2022. So I am very conscious of the hard work and the difficulties that come with this task but I am very motivated.”