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Cape Verde 1-1 Cameroon Post-Match Tactical Analysis

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AFCON 2021: Cape Verde 1-1 Cameroon Post-Match Tactical Analysis as the host nation shared spoils to qualify for the knockout stages of the AFCON

The final group stage match of the AFCON 2021 hosted by Cameroon saw the host nation share spoils vs Cape Verde in a 1-1 encounter as captain Vincent Aboubakar continuous his goal hunting adventure.

We at BraggsSports have re-watched the match over and over again and here we lay down our tactical assessment of the game with emphasis on the Cameroon indomitable lion playing tactics.

Why Cameroon suffered vs Cape Verde (Why Cameroon has suffered so far this AFCON 2021)

Instinct is overlooked by most. That ‘instant’ where some players hesitate or process information before their action, is only an instant but still significant. You can see, if you have watched enough football, that some players are just infinitesimally quicker than others.

It can even take decision making out of the equation at some particular moments and or actions. And, in “quicker” I mean quicker in cognitive processing. Some in football, call it “feeling” of/for the ball. But what it is, is actually something totally regarding our brains.

Aboubakar’s work rate at this Afcon 2021 has been unwavering. He must have so much built up aggression inside when considering that he works so hard and has such a big impact with so few touches. His talent is CRYING out for more of the ball and chances to impact games.

Repetition of some actions do make them easier for us to execute, but people still vary greatly in their ability to;

1) store that information,

2) identify similar situations,

3) recall that information.

Which are all cognitive. Then, there remains only the last step; Execution.

Cameroon’s tactics are so reductionist and based on game-state. We are winning but so what if our style isn’t conducive to winning games in the long-run? Antonio Conçeicao’s approach of changing tactics each game based on the opposition shows his tactical nous but isn’t sustainable.

What if he gets it abit wrong (like he did against Cape Verde)? Will the players really be able to take in a brand new system in each and every game when there’s games every 3 days? Will the players care to when the training is so tactical? The best teams have set ways with slight changes.

See, when pressing, Cameroon will press in a 4-5-1 shape due to our man-marking nature. However, Aboubakar will easily be passed around by the 2 CB’s and the goalkeeper so it will be tricky for us to truly collapse the play pressing wise. Because in the knock outs stages, most teams we face now will be prepared to play football. You know what i mean by play football, it is like a European Champions league with no underdogs.

From that Cape Verdian goal of yesterday, look at how disengaged our block are from the CB’s. Any half decent technical team will keep the ball and force us back in these situations. Teams like Morocco and Nigeria have too many good players to do so plus they can expose us so badly in transitions.

The Pierre Kunde – Nicolas Ngamaleu – Collins Fai Right Field Partnership Situation

Cameroon do struggle in relation to holding the width on the right in settled play. Sometimes the interchangeability of positions can result in too many players being central, particularly when Collins Fai and Ngamaleu prefer the half space. They’re overly reliant of Pierre Kunde from RCM to provide that width.

See, it’s fine in most circumstances because typically one of Ngamaleu, Kunde, or Fai will hold the width, but in settled play Kunde won’t be wide on the right and with Ngamaleu/Fai preferring the half spaces it can mean Cameroon lack natural width.

Again, it’s largely fine when Cameroon combine on that side of the pitch (right side) but that’s because Kunde can drift across and occupy the spaces Ngamaleu and Collins Fai aren’t occupying. However, when progressing into the final third, Kunde/Ngamaleu are naturally central with often nobody holding the width.

Antonio Conceicao has coached it so there will typically be at least one of Fai or Ngamaleu holding the width in settled play but with both of them naturally preferring the half space, it can often result in nobody holding the width. When u put more than 2 anti-virus in a PC, the PC becomes slow or may not know which one to use and do an automatic task.. It’s one of Our biggest weapons but also an issue.

Player Analysis: Nicolas Ngamaleu

Ngamaleu is a player who excels at combination play and interchanging between the lines but he’s not ruthless. He needs too many chances to get something right. Should i not say that he suffers from recalling situations or storing information?

That’s where he’s brilliant – combining between the lines. He has different skills in those situations, but that’s where he excels. Otherwise, in transition, he’s not so ruthless. He doesn’t have special physical/ball striking qualities when needed.

Player Analysis: Michael Ngadeu

Ngadeu is a superb recovery defender. He’s the aggressor profile who is also good in the air and at defending his box. However, he does *NOT* lead the last line. Because he’s slow. That’s what Van Dijk, Ramos (when on form), Marquinho etc do. Without a runner alongside him (Onguene or even Nohou Tolo at LCB), he struggles.

Sure, this means that Ngadeu is flawed, and he is capable of making mistakes because this is his profile – the aggressor type typically make more mistakes than the more conservative CB’s. However, he is currently playing as LCB which is not his role, hence the poor display leading to the Cape Verdian  goal.

Player Analysis: Pierre Kunde

Kunde is a great example of having various angles to work with just because of great body control. Should start to use man marking as a tool (without the ball) more to be a controller at the highest level but his body control, agility, and football IQ alone gives him a lot of angles. You still don’t have to have the ball to control the game.

Most of his problems are on the mental side of his game. He is too aggressive enough on the ball or in his movements. It’s probably because of his transformation from a 6 to a CM. Should explode when he fully adapts to the position.

Player Analysis: Nouhou Tolo

First Afcon call up and Tolo is balling. Whether playing as wing back in Conceicao’s 4 man backline or LCB in Conceicao’s 3 man backline, Tolo has proven to be consistent defensive. The Tactics set by Conceicao suits him so well.

However, Tolo lacks confidence and very poor going forward while playing in the the back 4. Against Cape Verde yesterday as well as against Ethiopia, he lost so many chances in transitional play and numerical advantages. This is where Oyongo Bitolo used to strive.

MUST READ: Player Analysis: Zambo Anguissa- Napoli Midfield Dynamo

Andre Onana

The guy we know at Ajax is not the same in Cameroon Indomitable Lions team. Andre Onana lacks command in the air in his own box. We saw this twice which almost cost us, and one of such mistakes lead to Burkina Faso’s opener vs Cameroon. The situation was felt yesterday vs Cape Verde which if not for a defenders presence would have been another goal.

In an interview after the 4-1 win against Ethiopia on Afcon 2021 matchday 2, the Ajax shot stopper said; “Its been 7 years since i have been playing at a high level with the same style but it is only in Cameroon that i have been made to understand that i am not serious with my game because i have always been like this”

There is no denying to the fact that Onana is a top class goalkeeper, there is no denying to the fact that Cameroon has defensive issues, but Onana has been poor while defending his Motherland. If you watch the Cape Verdian goal yesterday so closely and in slow motion, you may realize that Onana still would not have saved the ball even if Fai collins didn’t block his way, why because his leg had already partially slide.

Let him accept criticism and improve his game, SIMPLE.


Game-state is problematic for Cameroon when considering that we don’t press high with regularity. As such, we have got to be efficient with the ball when we get it. Which both Midfielders (Kunde/Zambo) couldn’t do in the most part of the game. Kunde had 34 touches in 64 mins (low). With Zambo having 76 in 90 mins (average).

They cannot afford any silly giveaways in the knock out stages because most opponents will keep the ball due to the lack of pressure from us. That’s all Cameroon have to do to win from now on  – don’t give the ball away stupidly in the build-up and they can force opponents back and create down the sides because top teams in Afcon always defend very narrowly.


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