DOUALA, Cameroon (AP) — Although Volker Finke's appointment as national team coach was surrounded by controversy in football-loving Cameroon, the "Finke Method" has already started to pay off.
Finke, who is German, replaced the popular Jean Paul Akono in May. Widespread criticism followed, including accusations from Akono that team sponsor Puma forced the country's football federation to hire Finke.
Ignoring it all, the former mathematics teacher flew to Yaounde to sign a two-year deal, insisting he was not in Cameroon on a short-term basis. His first task was to give the team a new direction by developing cohesion within a squad well-known for its internal dissent.
"The team twice failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations and did very badly at the 2010 World Cup, finishing with zero points," Finke told FIFA.com. "They were very divided. Within the squad we've spoken together a great deal in the last few months. Thanks to that we've arrived at a point where, together with the captain Samuel Eto'o, a very good team spirit has developed."
The "Finke Method" was first on display when Cameroon beat Tunisia in the World Cup playoffs, but the joy of qualification was hardly unanimous.
"He lacks the competence to take Cameroon to Brazil. The players' individual efforts secured qualification," former Cameroon great Roger Milla said. "For the World Cup, we need a coach who understands football."
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