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"They were the Kings" | Joseph N'Do reflects on Cameroon's Italia 90 heroics

Joseph N'Do told OTB Sports about Cameroon's iconic run in 1990 which he witnessed as a 14 year o...

Joseph N'Do told OTB Sports about Cameroon's iconic run in 1990 which he witnessed as a 14 year old. The run saw the African side become the first on the continent to reach the quarter finals of a World Cup.

"I was a huge fan! The one thing I can compare it to is Christmas. The way the team played and their enthusiasm. That team handled it so well. The results were amazing."

N'Do played down the seismic result which saw Cameroon beat Argentina in their opening game of Italia 90. "As much as we were supporting Cameroon, everyone was supporting Maradona, that's the reality! We wanted Maradona on the ball to do his skills but we knew we had to stop him."

"The one thing about Cameroonian players is they love that kind of challenge. We had to stop Maradona playing, that was the key. We knew at some point we were gonna score but if you let Maradona dictate the game it's over."

Diego Maradona versus Cameroon. FIFA World Cup Italy 1990.

The 38 year old striker Roger Milla burst onto the global stage with four goals at the World Cup. His double versus Columbia in the last 16 helped him to win African football of the year in 1990. "That tournament, the world started to be a little more open, so that's why he had such an impact."

"He wasn't even meant to be in that World Cup. For years he was the best striker in Cameroon. Eto'o is what he is because of Roger Milla. For him it wasn't just about playing football; he was a master of football."

Cameroon were seven minutes away from getting to the semi finals but the lost to England in extra time. N'Do described the respect the players received upon their return back to Cameroon. "Some sponsors gave the players houses, others gave them bonuses. They got a reception into the Presidential Palace. They were the Kings."

"It changed a lot of things, not just in Cameroon, but in Africa because before that football was not welcome in African families. We'll always be at peace with is football, because with politics it is not possible."


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1990 World Cup Argentina Cameroon Columbia Diego Maradona England Italia 90 Joseph N'Do Roger Milla Samuel Eto'o