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Mboma: I went to the Olympics as a tourist, but returned to Cameroon with gold

The former unpredictable Lions forward admits none of the players for the Sydney matches knew they would win a medal

Patrick Mboma has revealed that none of the players in the Cameroon squad for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney were sure they would return with the trophy.

The Indomitable Lions shocked many on September 30, 2000, when they beat Spain 5-3 after coming off two goals to force a 2-2 draw in normal time and the country’s first gold ever to win at the Olympic Games in Austria. .

Cameroon beat Chile 2-1 in the semi-finals to set up the final with Spain.

The 50-year-old said during the departure to Sydney that the group did not think about winning a medal and that he bought a digital camera to take photos because he knew they were traveling as tourists.

“We did not think about winning a medal. “I did not know everyone in the group and I knew that some of our great players like Marc-Vivien Foe, Salomon Olembe and Rigobert Song would not be released by their clubs,” said the 2000 African Player of the Year winner. . the Fifa website.

‘There were only five in the group that had played at the Africa Cup of Nations six months before, including Samuel Eto’o. He was a player I knew, but it was not enough to make a team. We said to ourselves, ‘This is going to be difficult. We’re going there to take pictures’ [laughs].

‘I went to buy a digital camera before we boarded the plane. I went as a tourist. I was excited about the chance to shrug with all these global sports stars, but I would soon be disappointed because we did not stay in the Olympic Village. ”

Asked to explain when the Cameroon group realized they could finally win a medal, Mboma said: ‘We have grown slowly but surely in confidence. To begin with, we just tried to make sure we were not fooling ourselves.

“We pushed out of our group and came up against Brazil in the quarterfinals. We just said, ‘It was great to be a part of it. Let’s try to keep our heads up. ”

On his goal against Brazil, Mboma said: ‘I can not explain it to you, but as soon as I put the ball down and take a step back, I know I’m going to score. I’ve achieved a few in my career, but I was not [Sinisa] Mihajlovic of [Michel] Platinum. That goal inspired us! ”

Mboma further revealed that Brazil beat them to persuade them to return home with a medal.

“Beating Brazil gave us so much confidence. We were all over them in the first 20 minutes and played with the right quality, ”Mboma continued.

“The problem was that we were without our two suspended defenders and that our defense decided to play the offside. It was a disaster, but our keeper, Carlos [Kameni], kept us in the game until we conceded an own goal with just over ten minutes left. ‘

During his career, Mboma played for Chateauroux, Paris Saint-Germain, Metz, Gamba Osaka, Cagliari, Parma, Sunderland, Al-Ittihad, Tokyo Verdy and Vissel Kobe before retiring on 16 May 2005.

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