Geremi: Africa advantage key for Cameroon

ANKARA, May 4 (Reuters)- Experienced Cameroon defender Geremi burst out laughing when reminded about the daring and unusual kits his team have worn over the years.

Sleeveless vests, eye-wateringly tight tops and a one-piece outfit have all featured in the Cameroon wardrobe, with further surprises in store at this year's World Cup in South Africa.

"Feeling comfortable is the most important thing of course," the 31-year-old told Reuters over Turkish tea at the training ground of his club Ankaragucu.

"So long as people are comfortable why not experiment. I think there will be a surprise in South Africa, but I'm also hoping we surprise with our results not just the kit," said Geremi, sporting a dark blue shirt with the club badge on it.

Cameroon wore a one-piece kit in their traditional colours of green and red for three group matches and the quarter-final of the 2004 African Nations Cup but FIFA said it broke the rules.

Cameroon were fined and docked six World Cup qualifying points, a punishment which was later reversed.

The Indomitable Lions also caused controversy in 2002, turning up for that year's African Nations Cup in Mali in sleeveless shirts which looked more like basketball tops. They were also swiftly banned by FIFA.

Geremi, who has played for Real Madrid, Chelsea and Newcastle United, arrived at Ankaragucu in January hoping to play regularly and increase his chances of making the World Cup squad.

"Unfortunately this is not a team who win every game but at least I play every week which is important for me for getting ready for the big one," he said.

Ankaragucu are 11th in the Turkish league, 30 points adrift of leaders Fenerbahce.

Former Cameroon captain Rigobert Song also plays in Turkey, for Trabzonspor, and French-born coach Paul LeGuen said both he and Geremi, who have 247 caps between them, had a chance of making the squad.


Cameroon are the highest-ranked African team and the continent's most successful, reaching the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals and now preparing for their sixth appearance in the sport's showpiece event.

"The difference between us and some other African teams is our mentality and fighting spirit, like our emblem the lion," Geremi said.

"We have a lot of players in Europe playing in big teams. Other teams in Africa do too, but it is important to have good players, good mentality and the ability to play together."

Cameroon begin their Group E campaign against Japan on June 14 and will also face Denmark and Netherlands as the tournament takes place in Africa for the first time.

"We have to think that we are playing at home," Geremi said. "When teams play at home they get a big advantage. Our group is very very difficult but everything is possible."