LIBREVILLE (Reuters) - Cameroon coach Hugo Broos believes his methods have been vindicated as he looks to return the fallen giants to the pinnacle of the African game, an ambition that may be realised in Sunday’s Nations Cup final against Egypt.
Cameroon’s record of four Nations Cups is bettered only by their final opponents, while they have been Africa’s pioneers in the World Cup, playing in a continental record seven tournaments and becoming the first to reach the quarter-finals in 1990.
Despite being in the doldrums following miserable World Cup performances in 2010 and 2014, they have defied pre-tournament predictions to reach their first continental final since 2008.
“There has been a great impatience in this country to return to the glory days,” Broos told reporters on Saturday. “Cameroon were always one of the leading lights of African football and in recent years they’ve fallen.
“(Cameroonians) want the team they had 15 years ago, but you can’t do that in a day. You need time, you need to fail, in order to get there.”
Broos was widely criticized for his decisions ahead of the tournament, but his inexperienced side have impressed in Gabon and are one game away from winning Cameroon’s first Nations Cup since 2002.
“I’m happy I’ve turned the atmosphere around,” he added. “I’m proud of this team, that they’ve got to the final, and I hope they continue and win the trophy.”
Captain Benjamin Moukandjo also believes the team’s run has gone a long way to soothing the animosity that existed between players and fans following years of under-achievement.
“We knew we had an image to redress,” he said. “There was a disagreement between us and the supporters and we had to change this.
“We knew we had to get out of the group and we knew that if we did this, we’d already done well.”
Editing by Ed Osmond