Most of the FC Barcelona first team are away this week to play international friendlies, but Alex Song faces a far more urgent matter. On Sunday at 15.30, Cameroon have the second leg of their Brazil 2014 World Cup play-off against Tunisia to deal with.
The first leg in North Africa just under a month ago saw the sides draw 0-0, so Cameroon are going to need to win in order to seal classification. They reached this stage by winning their group with 13 points, four more than their closest rivals, Libya. In this final stage of CAF qualifying, ten teams are playing in five head-to-head play-offs, with the winners over two legs going to Brazil next summer, and the losers staying at home.
Song has appeared in every game of the campaign so far and started all of them apart from one with Togo. He also played all ninety minutes of the first leg in Tunisia, while Barça B’s Bagnack was named in the squad for the first time ever, although he didn’t get to play and this time has not been included.
The Indomitable Lions are looking to make it into the finals for the seventh time. Their first appearance was at Spain 1982, which was in fact the first time the country had ever entered the tournament. Since then they have only missed out on two editions, Mexico 1986 and Germany 2006, but have only made it out of the group stages once, Italy 1990, when they famously became the first African side to reach the quarter finals, where they lost a 3-2 thriller to England.
If Cameroon do qualify, every country with members of the Barça first team in their squad will have made it into the World Cup. The other Barça internationals are Valdés, Jordi Alba, Piqué, Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro and Cesc (Spain), Neymar and Alves (Brazil), Messi and Mascherano (Argentina), and Alexis (Chile), all of whom have already qualified, as have Holland, although due to injury, Afellay only featured in 33 minutes of the qualifying campaign. After trouncing New Zealand 5-1 this week, Mexico already have one foot in the final stages, but the injured Jonathan dos Santos has played no part.