Cameroon expect captain Eto'o to deliver goals

YAOUNDE (Reuters) - Cameroon will need Samuel Eto'o at the top of his form if they are to emulate their feat of 20 years ago when they caught world football's imagination with a run to the quarter-finals in Italy.

It remains the best World Cup performance by an African side and turned Cameroon, with their obvious joy for the game, into a team with global appeal.

In three World Cup appearances since 1990, the Indomitable Lions have been unable to get past the opening round, and they failed to qualify for the 2006 finals.

A missed penalty in the final minute of their last qualifier cost them a trip to Germany four years ago, but the side showed fighting spirit and determination to qualify this time.

The often difficult striker enthusiastically grabbed the leadership role from long-standing captain Rigobert Song and inspired his team mates to win all their remaining matches.

Eto'o, who plays for Inter Milan in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich this weekend, will again be the source of inspiration in Group E when they face Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands.

He has a strong midfield to back him with Achille Emana, Stephane Mbia and Alexandre Song, who has emerged as the engine of the side.

Le Guen will devote a good deal of his preparation to shoring up a leaky defense that could prove a problem in South Africa, and several tough warm-ups await the team as he tries to iron out the problems.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Johannesburg; Editing by Robert Woodward)