Former Liverpool defender Rigobert Song has been confirmed as the new Cameroon head coach on the orders of the country’s president, Paul Biya. The 45-year-old replaces Toni Conceicao, who led the national team to a third-placed finish at January’s Africa Cup of Nations.
Song is the country’s most capped player, making 137 appearances for the Indomitable Lions. A statement said Cameroon needed “a new breath”. “On very high instructions from the President of the Republic, the coach of the men’s national football team, Mr Antonio Conceicao, has been replaced by Rigobert Song,” Cameroon’s sports minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombi said.
“The Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot) is invited to take the necessary measures for a rapid and harmonious implementation of these very high directives.” The appointment would be unusual because Fifa rules require any member association to be independent and avoid any form of political interference.
Conceicao had led Cameroon to World Cup qualifying play-offs and they will play Algeria in a two-legged tie in March for a place at Qatar 2022. Song, who also played for West Ham in England and had spells in France, Italy, Germany and Turkey during his playing career, also featured at four World Cups and won the 2000 and 2002 Africa Cup of Nations titles.