On Life, love and Politics

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Profile: Cameroon Coach, Paul Le Guen February 17, 2010

Filed under: Indomitable Lions/Lions Indomptables,Sports — kikenileda @ 7:45 AM

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Paul Le Guen was appointed to the position of coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in July 2009 after a few weeks as an interim at the helm of the national team by legendary goalkeeper Thomas Nkono. Le Guen would later keep Nkono on as the goalkeeper's trainer and his senior assistant.


Le Guen only originally signed on for a commando-mission of six months, with the sole mission of helping the Indomitable Lions make it to the World Cup in South Africa.  
Before moving to Africa, Le Guen was one of the symbolic defenders in the French league and a legend for Paris Saint-Germain, where he was a beloved figure during their glory years, winning a UEFA Cup Winner's Cup in 1996 and playing more than 400 games with the capital cub. He was also selected for the French national team 17 times during the same period.

As a coach, he was quickly very successful with Rennes, helping them reach new heights and showing a real knack for developing new talent. After a few disputes over his responsibilities with the club, he resigned and took a year off from football. He was then called by Jean-Michel Aulas to take on new champions Olympique Lyonnais when their coach Jacques Santini was appointed to the French national team.  During his spell at Lyon, from 2002 to 2005, Le Guen managed the amazing feat of winning three consecutive titles with the now seven-time champions. That's when he decided to leave because of internal conflicts and his unwillingness to see his work meddled with by Aulas' right-hand man, Bernard Lacombe, feeling untrusted despite three titles.

His decision to leave Lyon gave him time to rest for a year before taking on Glasgow Rangers, a team where he never managed to be heard by his players. Being known as a quiet man and the consumate professional, he couldn't understand the Scottish team's behaviour, which he deemed unprofessional. After a year and a half, his sacking coincided with a lobbying campaign by most of his ex-teammates at Paris Saint-Germain, wanting to help him reproduce the success he had with Lyon.

Le Guen this time didn't take a year off and was back with "his" team. But the results never matched the unrealistic expectations of the fans given his previous record and Lyon's dominance of French football at the time. He nonetheless managed to win a Coupe de la Ligue and a Coupe de Francewith PSG. 

After that semi-successful run in Paris, there were talks of him going to Lille OSC, but ultimately the appeal of coaching at the World Cup got the best of him.

With the Indomitable Lions, in his very short run, he has decided to change a few things, even though some people might think they're not enough. By giving the armband to Samuel Eto'o and benching Rigobert Song, he's making a transition that could have set his career ablaze. But with the addition of young new talent, the Cameroon fans are delighted to see fresh faces and want more of them. 

Paul Le Guen seems safe for now, but his sucess with the Lions will lie in his ability to manage bruised egos from the dinosaurs whilst entertaining the new youngsters ready to take over.

 

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