67th Minute, Francios Oman Biyik, Cameroon v Argentina 1990 World Cup Group Stage
As we saw in yesterday’s entry, African football had been stifled by FIFA for decades and it wasn’t really until the last twenty years we’ve seen significant process. In the eighties the North African sides earned some respect with solid if not spectacular performances culminating in Morocco becoming the first African side to win a World Cup group in 1986. Nevertheless the one team that really made the football world sit up and take notice of African football, and in particular West African football, were Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
Cameroon faced the reigning World Champions Argentina in the opening game of Italia 90. Despite their success in Africa’s premier competition two years earlier, little was expected of them. As the teams got ready to kick off, Diego Maradona is seen juggling the ball on his shoulder and motivating his team. They weren’t to know that they were about to play one of the hardest games of their lives.
Once the game was underway Cameroon soon showed they were not going to be overawed by the occasion and confidently knocked it around. Maradona was causing them problems but he was also fouled cynically on numerous occasions and the Cameroonians picked up numerous yellow cards eventually leading to the red card of Kana-Biyik early in the second half. Eight minutes later Cameroon won a free-kick and what happened next made me really fall in love with football, I can still remember watching it as a six-year-old.
“One brother sent off, the other brother scores, AMAZING!” Unforgettable commentary from Barry Davies on this one and a quite incredible leap from Omam-Biyik to head home.
What Happened Next?
Cameroon were reduced to nine men after their infamous triple attempted foul on Claudio Caniggia which ended in Massing’s boot flying off but the The Indomitable Lions still managed to hold off Argentina. Cameroon beat Romania in their second match which meant they qualified for the second round despite being thrashed by the USSR in their last group game. They beat Colombia in extra-time in the second round and were desperately unlucky to lose to England in the quarter finals.
Unfortuntely Cameroon were never able to better this performance despite successfully qualifying for the FIFA World Cup numerous times since. The Biyik family continues to produce professional footballers with Kana-Biyik’s son currently on the books of a club in France.
Quality BBC montage of Cameroon’s 1990 World Cup campaign, broadcast before QF with England