AFCON: NBA superstar Joel Embiid discusses his love for Cameroon

Warning: People in the area may hear applause. loud, loud applause. The fact that these sounds could come from one of the best basketball players on the planet only adds to the intrigue.
When he’s not playing a MVP ball for the Philadelphia 76ers and his definition of a “bad night” was a nearly triple-double with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in a 105-87 rout of Los Angeles . Lakers are five-time NBA All-Stars on Thursday Joel Embiid Roots for his people Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), which is hosted by his homeland.

The Indomitable Lions will take on the Gambia in the quarter-finals on Saturday. Embiid’s team is expected to win the match. A win would mean Cameroon is two games away from capturing a sixth AFCON title, the last of which will be in 2017, the 76ers’ rookie center year.

Embiid was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month just three days before Cameroon defeated Egypt 2–1 in the 2017 Finals; a match that, if everything falls into place, could be played again on Sunday 6 February.

“The level of excitement has always been huge,” says Embiid. CNN Sports Amanda Davis on her love for the Cameroon national team since childhood. “The craziest thing is that when Cameroon always played, every time they scored a goal, everyone just screamed. You could hear the whole country screaming.”
Joel Embiid is playing at the MVP level this season.

Lions love

While his remarkable journey took Embiid to America at the age of 16 – first through high school and college in Florida and Kansas, and then selected 3rd overall by Philadelphia in the 2014 NBA draft – he was born a few years after the fabulous Cameroon’s run to the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals in Italy.

Cameroon, the first African country to reach the last eight, with only seven minutes left to reach the final four, was ultimately beaten by England in extra time. Along the way, the Indomitable Lions stunned the world, starting with the defeat of the reigning champion Argentina in the first match.

“Obviously Roger Milla kind of put us on the line,” Embiid recalls of then 38-year-old striker Milla, who scored four goals in Italy 1990, gaining even more fame for his signature goal celebration, dancing at corner flag.

“Going back to history and watching the games, learning about history before I was born and obviously celebrating was a huge part of that history… we have a lot of history coming from Cameroon and every time I get a chance to be a part of it, I always enjoy.”

Embiid has watched all of Cameroon's matches at AFCON.

Embiid believes the class of 2022 can dominate Africa’s exhibition tournament unchallenged. “We play at home, so every time you get support from your home fans, it usually makes you very motivated to keep going and win every game,” he notes.

“Playing at home is a huge advantage for us and I think we have a chance to win it all… I’m excited to keep watching and supporting.”

Despite Cameroon’s success at AFCON, the fate of the football team pales in comparison to the deaths that occurred at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde. last Monday due to a stampede at the stadium. At least eight people were killed and 38 injured during the round of 16 match between Cameroon and Canada. Comoros.

The grim Embiid says: “I am a man of God, so I pray that these families find peace, and also that their loved ones find peace and be at peace. It’s a tragedy that this happened and I’m very sorry about it. “Given the terrible events, what will it mean for Embiid and Cameroon if the team does continue to lift the trophy?

“As a country, we have been through a lot,” he says. “We had no competitors [held] been there for a long time, so to be able to finally get that and be able to win, I think that will be a huge achievement for us.”

Embiid told CNN that he is aiming for the MVP award this season.

AFCON gets more credits

Ahead of AFCON 2022, stars such as Mohamed Salah of Liverpool (Egypt) and Sadio Mane (Senegal), Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City (Algeria), Ashraf Hakimi of Paris Saint-Germain (Morocco) were discussed in some circles ) and Kalida. Coulibaly (Senegal), having temporarily left his club teams, has become such a bitter pill for their club teams and fans that it has eclipsed the prestige that comes from representing your country, not to mention elevating the tournament to the level achieved on other continents.

Embiid closely follows European football, so does he agree that AFCON is not getting the recognition it deserves on the world stage?

Replacement for goaltender Abo Gabala, shootout hero, in Egyptian offensive

“It’s all confusing,” Embiid quickly concludes. “When it comes to Africa, I feel there is always a kind of double standard. I never hear any complaints when it comes to the European Cup or any other cups.

“[AFCON]a bit different because obviously it happens during the season and some of the best players when you talk about someone like Mo Salah or Sadio [Mané] they must play for their clubs. But I also appreciate their desire to just come back and represent their country, which is good.

“I think we still deserve our respect… looking at the success of Africa as a whole, we have a lot of talent. Not only in football, but also in basketball or other sports. In time, we are going to overcome this, but it is happening slowly.”

As for the biggest man, when asked what would mean more to him – Cameroon winning AFCON or Embiid winning the MVP – he smiles. “It’s complicated! I want both – both will be great!

“It would be better if you asked me between Cameroon’s win or my championship win!” When asked which he would prefer, Embiid said, “Both would be great, like I said, I’m a competitor and I want to win.”

Embiid will watch the quarter-final match between Cameroon and Gambia.

After detailing the hard work Cameroon did over their previous rivals the Comoros as the continental minnows played most of the match with 10 man and the entire game with an outfielder in goal, Embiid gives a message to his heart’s team ahead of the challenges. who are waiting.

“Go in there and keep doing what they were doing. In the end, they’re all great. They have our full support to keep doing this and I really hope they can keep this cup in our lives.” home territory, so I will continue to support them. Like I said, I’ll be watching the rest of the games.”

Will we see another iconic celebration like Embiid’s Twitter video of Max Verstappen’s first F1 title if the Indomitable Lions get their sixth AFCON crown? “I hope the excitement when we get to the final will be the same. [as the F1 finale]. We might get one!”