Defiant Le Guen will not quit Cameroon

PRETORIA - Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen refused to resign on Saturday after his Indomitable Lions side became the first team to exit the World Cup following a campaign marred by his row with senior players over selection.

Frenchman Le Guen said he had no regrets over his selections despite his side, the highest ranked African team at the tournament, losing 1-0 to Japan and 2-1 to Denmark.

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"I will not resign," he told a press conference immediately after the defeat.

"Not at all. I don't have any regrets and that's not how I operate. I try to work for the best of the Cameroon national team and either you trust me or you don't but that's the way things are."

Le Guen had publicly clashed with his senior players after he dropped influential midfielder Alexandre Song and defenders Rigobert Song and Geremi for the first game against Japan.

He reinstated Alexandre Song, Geremi and midfielder Achille Emana for Saturday's match, and they delivered a much improved performance, but were unable to take advantage after taking an early lead.

Le Guen had won praise for helping Cameroon to qualify for the World Cup but his mood had soured after the opening defeat, talking about how the team were in a state of emergency and snapping at journalists who asked if he was enjoying his stay.

In his pre-match conference on Friday he said it was time for his players to show some of the "lion spirit" they were always talking about.

"I don't fear anything," he said, when asked whether he would worry about returning to Cameroon. "It is sad but the team has shown a great deal of spirit."

Captain and striker Samuel Eto'o, who returned to playing up front on Saturday after struggling in a deeper role in the first game, declined to blame Le Guen for the defeat.

"I could have played centre forward against Japan and not scored a goal," the three-times African Footballer of the Year told reporters. "Today I scored a goal and I didn't win. Football is like that.

"We had high hopes of winning today to get back into the fight for the second phase, pity we missed so many chances."

Cameroon play the Netherlands, who have already qualifed for the next round, on June 24.

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