Just one day until the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup starts, many predictions have been made about the outcome of the tournament. Whether it may be Cristiano Ronaldo winning the Golden Ball (or Boot) and hoisting the trophy or Chile/Germany legitimately challenging Portugal’s potential triumph, those are all “safe” predictions. A lot of people expect that. But what about an unorthodox prediction? How about an “Iceland or Wales of last year’s Euros” kind of prediction? Thus, I strongly feel that Cameroon will finish second in their group (to Chile) and will win the Confederations Cup, defeating Portugal in the semi-finals. Vincent Aboubakar’s relentless work rate and determination to score goals will be a major catalyst for the reigning African Cup of Nations champions.
During the 2016/17 season, Aboubakar spent the entire campaign on loan from parent club FC Porto to Turkish club Besiktas, scoring 19 goals in all competitions. In the 2015/16 season, Aboubakar was to replace the Colombian prolific goalscorer Jackson Martinez, who sealed his move to La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid. However, he only amassed 13 league goals the season following Martinez’s departure.
It prompted Porto to loan the Cameroonian and rely on 20-year-old Portuguese international Andre Silva, who scored 21 goals in all competitions while Aboubakar was at Besiktas (a two goal difference…wow, what an improvement!). Andre Silva recently made the move to AC Milan this past summer so there could be a chance that Aboubakar could be welcomed back to Porto. But the Cameroonian has expressed his unwillingness to return because he wants to be “respected”. One can deduce that Aboubakar felt unwanted, or even ousted, from Porto; he wasn’t given an adequate chance to excel for the team, and greater faith was placed on a Portuguese youngster four years his junior.
As Cameroon prepares to play in their first group game against Chile, be sure to look out for Aboubakar. Playing for the national team, for many, is a way to get away from the constant transfer speculations and negativity. It can also be liberating as well. With this freedom of playing for national pride and with compatriots, it allows the player to play freely. For instance, before Aboubakar played for Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations this past January, he only scored seven goals for Besiktas. But after scoring the game-winning goal in the African Cup of Nations final, he proceeded to score 12 goals for his club, nearly doubling his total before the AFCON tournament. Playing for the national team probably freed his play. With many scouts watching this tournament, Aboubakar could use this competition as an opportunity to audition for clubs, especially when he plays against the tough teams like Germany and Chile in his group. And if Cameroon follows my prediction and qualifies for the semi-finals and faces Portugal, Aboubakar can avenge for Porto’s supposed disrespect they showed him and knock them out of the tournament.
That is my bold, unorthodox prediction.