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
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.