Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar enter the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with egg on his face after the 30-year-old veteran striker has been dropped to the bench by head coach and former Indomitable Lions star Rigobert Song.
Aboubakar, who led all goalscorers at AFCON 21 with eight goals en route to Cameroon’s credible third-place finish as the host nation, comes into the winter tournament joint-third in goals for his nation, but form has been taken into account by Song after he made the call to rely on Bayern Munich’s Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting.
Though unexpected, being dropped to the bench puts Aboubakar’s comments directed at Egyptian star man Mohamed Salah back into perspective after the former FC Porto frontman has been openly vocal on his opinion regarding the Liverpool ace in the wake of Egypt eliminating Cameroon during AFCON 2021.
“He doesn’t impress me much. I say it clearly because I’m an honest person and I have my way of seeing things” he said back in February after Egypt won 3-1 on penalties in the wake of a 0-0 affair at Olembe Stadium. “If he impressed me, I would say so. But he doesn’t impress me much. He’s a good player, he scores a lot but he doesn’t produce a lot of stuff in the game. Of course, he’s doing good stuff in the Premier League because he’s been in a team that’s been there for years. He’s a good player but not at the level of someone like (Kylian) Mbappe.”
Aboubakar then laid into Salah once again in the run-up to the World Cup, doubling down on his controversial opinion.
“I’m not impressed by him. I can do what he does. I just don’t have the opportunity to play in a big club. I understand people’s attitudes, he’s one of the best goalscorers in the Premier League. It makes sense that when you go on about a player like that, people will talk. But I did say that it was my opinion, my point of view. I don’t give a toss if people don’t like it.”
Though he and Cameroon are set to clash with Switzerland to open play in Group G, his absence from the starting XI has put his comments in the firing line on Twitter after many referenced his critical remarks and calls into question how many chances he may get this winter to climb up Cameroon’s goalscoring list, with Aboubakar entering group play level with Patrick M’Boma on 33 goals.