Antonio Conceiçao defines himself as the antithesis of Seedorf: "I know that I do not have the" know-how "in terms of images of my predecessor"
The Cameroon coach gave an interview to RMCSport as he prepared his team for the international friendly against Japan, which was played last Friday. He has spoken on a variety of topics, and recognizes that he is certainly a low-profile breeder, unlike his predecessor Clarence Seedorf. According to him, this is the exact profile that the Cameroonian authorities were looking for. However, he assures us that if it is for professionalism, the Indomitable Lions will be served. Interview…
How do you manage to work in this particular context marked by the Covid-19 ?
It is not easy, neither for me nor for anyone. This situation limits the programming of matches at world level. And we also knew its limits. We should have already achieved six, seven, games that would have been important to draw a number of conclusions about players, in view of the CAN. We have a great responsibility for that. The requirement will be greater vis-à-vis Cameroon. We have to go as far as possible, which means at least the final.
The next CAN will be played in 2022, in Cameroon. Feel the pressure build up ?
We know what selection means to his people, who live intensely every moment of the Indomitable Lions. Being the organizing country, given its past, its track record, we know the obligation that we will leave our skin on the ground.
What is your assessment of your first year at the head of Cameroon ?
Despite the difficulties we have had to face, especially those related to this pandemic and the lack of competition that followed, I would say that we are on the right track. We are building a very good group, in terms of quality of play and character, in terms of solidarity, of understanding collective objectives. Because that's where it all starts. Team spirit makes the rest easy. I also feel that there are situations which are less good. And we must surpass them with our administrative staff. There are still some past questions that have not been forgotten by some players. We think that time will help us get past all of this. We must all - staff, administrative staff - show that we want to join forces.
Your appointment to the post of coach of Cameroon surprised a lot of observers. Do you think you have been boosted by the " fashion »Portuguese coaches ?
I'm not a fashionable coach, I'm already 28 years old in football (laughs) ! If the Portuguese coach is a bit fashionable, it is because for the past 10, 15 years, many of them have had success in Europe. And there is the competence and the organization. And I'm not saying that because I'm Portuguese. For me, it is not a question of nationality: a coach is competent or he is not. We are overwhelmed only if we want to. Today, we have incredible access to information with the Internet, social networks, exchanges of experience, methods… I see myself halfway between the coaches of the new generation and those of the old one. You have to know how to take the best of the past and current events. It goes for any profession. I know I don't have the " know-how In terms of images from my predecessor, Clarence Seedorf. I have not been a top level player, although I have an important background as a player. What was told to me when I was appointed Cameroon coach was that there was the will to change that. They were tired of recruiting renowned coaches whose work did not always follow. They therefore wanted to bet on a more coach " operator ". That's what I was told. I told them that with me they would have professionalism and honesty. I am not better or worse than another, I have my experience, as a coach, as a player.
Are you surprised to see Choupo-Moting sign for Bayern ?
First, I was happy to see him sign for Bayern Munich. What surprised me was that the PSG, who had it in his squad, and while he had been decisive to reach the final of the Champions League, let him go free. There must be a reason that the PSG made that decision. But if he signs for Bayern, it is because Bayern believes he can be part of their team. The people who make up the Bayern structure are not new to football and if they have made this decision, it is because they believe in him. What I also know is that Choupo-Moting did not sue in Paris because the club only offered him one more year, while Bayern offered him two. In any case, it's fantastic what happens to him. I spoke to him and I did not summon him to the last gathering so that he was quiet and could organize his life.
He is one of your leaders ?
It is part of the core of the pillars of the selection. This group is important to keep the locker room, in relations with the coach.
There is one player who has impressed you since you coach Cameroon ?
I'm not going to give a name, but we have a group of 21-23 year olds who have the potential to become top players. They play in medium-sized teams in Europe. They can take a step forward and it will only depend on them, their mentality, their daily work ...
You think of Lensois Ganago ?
He is one of those players. We've been following him since last year. Unfortunately he was injured but we hope he will be with us in November.
If we tell you, Karl Toko Ekambi ...
Toko, he reminds me of a hunter waiting for the rabbit (laughs). He is very smart. He is always looking for free spaces and the opponent's mistakes. He waits for the defender's error, as the hunter waits for the rabbit to come out. He has this creativity, this talent that a coach cannot give him.
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