Beware wounded Cameroon Lions, Renard warns team

Zambia coach Herve Renard hopes his players have short memories as they prepare to face Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations tommorrow.

After making a losing start to the previous tournament in Ghana two years ago, the Indomitable Lions roared back with a 5-1 mauling of the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets).

And after Cameroon were stunned 1-0 by central Africa neighbours Gabon three days ago, Renard has warned his squad that a wounded lion is an animal to be feared.

“Zambia are not scared of Cameroon, but I hope they do not recover their form against us. A lion is more dangerous when wounded,” Renard said ahead of the Group D showdown against fellow French coach Paul Le Guen.

“I hope we can knock Cameroon out of the Nations Cup and remember this is a battle between Cameroon and Zambia and not a battle between two French coaches.”

After Samuel Eto’o-led Cameroon flopped, Zambia had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Tunisia despite taking an early lead through Jacob Mulenga and creating more clearcut chances.

Captain and striker Christopher Katongo is one of the Zambian survivors from the five-goal thrashing in Kumasi, which equalled the heaviest Nations Cup loss suffered by the copper-rich country in the competition.

He scored the last-minute consolation goal after Joseph-Desire Job (two), Geremi Njitap, Achille Emana and three-time African Footballer of the Year Eto’o had struck for Cameroon.

All but Job, no longer part of the squad, are available for selection as Le Guen tries to pick up the pieces and get Cameroon back on track for a quarter-finals place.

Losing to an early goal from Gabon captain and out-of-favour Hull City striker Daniel Cousin meant the Frenchman experienced the bitterness of defeat for the first time since being put in charge of the Lions last August.

But there was no sign of anxiety from the man who led Lyon to three French titles in a row as he put his squad through their paces just a few metres from the hotel housing Cameroon and Zambia in this southern town.

“Obviously I am disappointed at the outcome against Gabon and hope for victories when we meet Zambia and Tunisia in our remaining group fixtures,” he said.

“We remain focused on winning this tournament, my players are calm, they are training well and we approach the game against Zambia with all the seriousness it deserves.

“Cameroon did not deserve to fail against Gabon as we dominated the greater part of the game,” Le Guen said, referring to constant second-half pressure that failed to deliver an equaliser.

Gabon tackle 2004 champions Tunisia earlier Sunday in the first half of a double-header at the 20,000-capacity Tundavala Stadium, one of four built for the tournament with Chinese assistance.


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