Former defender Lauren Bisan Etame Mayer has said that the 2000 Cameroon team would have beaten Arsenal’s invincibles.
Mayer was an integral figure for the vintage Cameroon team that won both the 2000 AFCON and Olympics gold medal, and the Arsenal side that went the whole 2003-4 season unbeaten in the Premier League.
“It’s two different teams, two different competitions. I would say Arsenal if you’re talking about a competition like the Premier League. But put the games in Africa playing in 35, 40, 45 degrees and I’m telling you that Cameroon wins,” Lauren told the Mail.
”On the pitches that Cameroon had to play on: Burkina Faso, Togo and so on. Put Xavi, Iniesta, the great Barcelona players on those pitches, let’s see if they can play the same fantasy football.”
To win the 2000 AFCON, Cameroon needed shootouts to overcome Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
The side defied odds when they won the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
After finishing second behind USA in group C, they beat Brazil that had the likes of Ronaldinho, Edu, Lucio and Geovanni among other stars, in the knockout and later knocked out Chile at the semis.
At the finals, Cameroon edged Spain that had big names like Carles Puyol and Xavi, via shootouts.
Lauren was the player of the tournament in the 2000 AFCON.
He also scored three goals in the 2000 Olympics. He was on target in the shootouts against Spain, with Samuel Eto’o, Patrick Mboma, Geremi Njitap and Pierre Wome converting their kicks.