The FECAFOOT scribe made this remark in an interview with Cafonline.com, following a meeting between CAF President, Issa Hayatou and representatives of the five teams in Cairo on 21 February 2014. Cameroon is in Group A with hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.
Cafonline.com: Cameroon will be making a record seventh appearance by an African team at the World Cup in Brazil, what are your expectations?
Tombi A Roko Sidiki: Firstly, we have to prepare very well to make an impact. In 1990, we became the first African team to reach the quarter-final and we hope to do better this time. May be qualify for the semis. Why not?
Do you think you can make it from a tough group with hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico?
Surprisingly for Cameroon, our players tend to do better against highly rated teams than supposed ‘average’ teams. We are not scared of any team in our group. We are aware Brazil is one of the favourites, but they are not the only team in the group. There is also Croatia and Mexico. Our main ambition is to go beyond the first round and to realize that we have to prepare very well and remain ambitious.
Cameroon failed to win a game at last World Cup in 2010. How are you seeking to break that jinx?
Unity has been critical to the strength of the current team and things are getting better. This a new generation of players and it is our hope they will do better. We have already chosen our base, Vitoria (a city on the southeast coast of Brazil), and a training camp in Austria in May. We have also arranged three main friendly games; against Macedonia on May 26 and Paraguay on May 29, both in Austria. After, we will play Germany on June 1 in Monchengladbach in Germany. There are also plans for a fourth game on June 7 in Cameroon against a yet-to-be-determined opponent, as a sign-off before leaving for Brazil.
What do you make of the chances of the other African teams going to Brazil?
All the African teams have a good chance to reach at least the second round. Nigeria has a young team, likewise Ghana. For Cote d’Ivoire, they have an experienced team and this may probably be the last chance for the likes of Didier Drogba, Didier Zokora, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure among others, because they may not be around four years later in 2018. Algeria too has a young and good team. We (African teams) must take our chances. As discussed during our meeting with CAF [on February 21 in Cairo], the ambition is each African side qualifying out of the group phase.
Is Brazil 2014 the perfect moment for Africa after several unsuccessful attempts?
I believe the time is right. Africa has barely experienced 60 to 70 years of football. To get to the top, you need more experience. For instance, France won the World Cup after about a 100-year experience in football. I feel Africa has learnt a lot during the 60 to 70 years and I hope we can improve on our quarter-final performances in 1990 (Cameroon), 2002 (Senegal) and 2010 (Ghana).
My other conviction is the fact that the World Cup will be held in Brazil for the first time in 50-years. In my opinion, Brazil and Africa has a lot in common and also the famous Brazilian player, Pele, has African roots. This reason makes the moment right for Africa.
Confederation of African Football (CAF) News
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