Rigobert sings his last Song

2010-06-13 11:07

Cameroon defender Rigobert Song is the most

experienced player in the 2010 World Cup.


Should the 33-year-old get a run against Japan in Bloemfontein

tomorrow, he will add to his 136 international ­appearances.


Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro and Honduras’s Amado ­Guevara are the next

closest, having amassed 133 caps each.


Locally, only Bafana Bafana defender and captain Aaron Mokoena has

notched up a century of games in a senior national team shirt.

He achieved this

milestone during Bafana’s World Cup warm-up match against Guatemala a fortnight

ago.


There are those who will close in on the 100-game mark in the

ongoing soccer spectacle.

Bayern Munich and Germany striker Miroslav Klose is

four games shy of joining the “100 club”.


Germany 2006 World Cup top scorer Klose and the Denmark duo of

Dennis Rommedahl and Martin ­Jorgensen have been capped 96 times.


It has been a long road for Song since his first World Cup in the

United States in 1994 as a 17-year-old.


Song, who turns 34 on July 1, made his debut against Mexico in 1993

and has ­featured in three World Cups, with the South Africa event his fourth.

He was in the Cameroon team that lost 3-0 to Bafana in the opening game of the

1996 African Cup of Nations hosted here.


Song has, however, seen little action for Cameroon lately owing to

his deteriorating pace and his howlers.


In his scientific view, ­exercise science and sports medicine

expert Ross Tucker said: “I think to prolong an ­international career you have

to be very fit and well-conditioned – and it definitely helps to not be a

regular starter for your club team.


“The players who get the most caps are often not the guys who play

90% of club matches. The exceptions are those who are extremely well-conditioned

and who look ­after themselves. Also, you’ll find that certain positions are

likely to have longer careers.

Midfield players, for example, do a lot more

running and tackling in matches, so they are less likely to escape injury.

Central defenders, on the ­other hand, run a lot less and so it might be that

they are more likely to reach 100 caps.”


Coach Paul le Guen has nonetheless defied the critics to go with

Cameroon’s ­most-capped player.


While Africa’s first World Cup will be Song’s swansong in a

Cameroon shirt, the former Liverpool, West Ham United and Galatasaray player

faces uncertainty at club level since his contract with Turkish club Trabzonspor

was not ­renewed at the end of the 2009/10 season.

 

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