Song has no plans to retire despite cup final blunder
Tuesday 12 February 2008
Cameroon players have refused to blame their captain Rigobert Song for their 1-0 defeat by Egypt in the African Nations Cup final.
Song, who was playing in his seventh Nations Cup, lost possession to Mohamed Zidan on the edge of his area and allowed the Hamburg striker to set up Mohamed Aboutereika for an easy finish in the 77th minute on Sunday.
"We played a good game but we conceded a goal at a very bad time," said Song, who had been aiming for a third continental triumph after lifting the trophy in 2000 and 2002. "Even if everybody has not been on top, all the players gave their best.
"I will continue with the national team. It is not because things did not go the right way that I am going to retire."
Right-back Geremi, who with Song and Samuel Eto'o was playing in his third Nations Cup final, denied that age was a factor. "We're disappointed but in football, when someone makes a mistake, you can't blame them because it happens," he said.
"It was special for me and Rigobert and Eto'o because it would have been our third Nations Cup.
"It's not a question of age: you are confusing age and experience. This is my fifth Nations Cup, I started young."
Bill Tchato, who deputised in defence for the suspended Andre Bikey, also refused to blame Song. "It could have happened to anyone. It is just that the best team on the pitch won, that's all," he said.
Song, one of the few players to answer questions after the game, said Cameroon were ready for new challenges. "There are competitions to come; we have the  Nations Cup in Angola and the 2010 World Cup. We need to have other ambitions," he said.
Cameroon will be able to rely on Eto'o, although the Barcelona striker was a shadow of his usually brilliant self in the knockout stages of the tournament.
In midfield, Arsenal's Alexander Song showed throughout that he was a force to be reckoned with. The 20-year-old was sorely missed on Sunday after he was forced to leave the pitch on 17 minutes with a knee injury.
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