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Cameroon need a fresh start after a controversial World Cup campaign and the retirement of talismanic captain Samuel Eto’o when they begin their African Nations Cup qualifying campaign on Saturday, coach Volker Finke said.

“This is a new departure for Cameroon, after the Brazilian World Cup which will still haunt the mind for a long time,” he told reporters in Yaounde.

“I’ve had to standardise many things and this is why I have made some sharp changes in the selection of the players.

“The idea is a balance between youth and experience, to build a competitive team for a better future. The talent is there, but you have to train them.

“It is possible that it can take a while but not too much. I’m ready to lead this reconstruction,” added the veteran German coach, whose contract expires after next year’s African Nations Cup finals.

Cameroon begin their qualifying campaign away against the Democratic Republic of Congo in Lubumbashi and then host Ivory Coast on Wednesday in Yaounde in a difficult start to the Group D fixtures.

Cameroon had a dreadful World Cup, losing all three Group A matches as they arrived on the back of a strike by their squad over promised payments for participation.

During the tournament in Brazil, two of their players fought on the field and midfielder Alex Song got a three match suspension for a vicious elbow in the back of Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic. He sits out the two Nations Cup qualifiers as a result.

Later the team were accused of match fixing but the results of a promised investigation by the Cameroon Football Federation not been released.

Four-time African footballer of the Year Eto’o quit the international arena last month after 56 goals in 115 appearances for the Indomitable Lions.

Reuters