Thursday 19 September 2019, 08:39

Cameroon's Mvoue more than a famous name

  • Steve Mvoue is the playmaker for Cameroon’s U-17 side

  • He is the son of a Cameroonian women’s football legend

  • Mvoue talks to about his mother, his hopes and Brazil 2019

The news that Samuel Eto’o’s son Etienne had made Cameroon’s squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 after missing out on the 2019 CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations caused quite a stir in the country.

But while the eyes of a nation will be on the young Eto’o, he will not be the only offspring of a famous player in the Indomitable Lion Cubs squad, a source of talent that is paying dividends for Cameroon.

The son of Regine Mvoue, the first captain in the history of the country’s women’s team, and also the brother of up-and-coming Toulouse star Stephane Zobo, Steve Mvoue is both the skipper and leading light of the national U-17 side. The attacking midfielder lit up this year’s African finals, leading his team to victory and earning the player of the tournament award.

The lowdown on Steve Mvoue

Date of birth: 02/02/2002 Height: 6’1 (1.85m) Position: Attacking midfielder Club: AS Azur Star Favourite player: Paul Pogba

“I was delighted to be named player of the tournament but what really thrilled me was winning the African title,” said the talented teenager. “I wouldn’t have won that individual award without the team. Obviously I’m proud of it, but if I’m going to become a great player I know that I’ve still got a long journey and a lot of work ahead of me.”

Talented and modest, the young Mvoue has been brought up in an environment conducive to success. A legend of Cameroonian women’s football, his mother knows as well as anyone that the road to the top is long and winding. Acknowledging the central role that she continues to play in his career, he said: “She’s my role model and it’s thanks to her that I play football. She still coaches me every day as well.”

Even before his superlative performances at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, Steve was in demand, with a number of European clubs clamouring for his signature. There is no question of him answering their call just yet, however, or moving to one of the country’s big clubs either for that matter.

For the time being at least, he has chosen to stay at AS Azur Star, the training academy that his mother, with whom he still lives, founded in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde a few years ago.

There is, though, one other side that Mouve has chosen to play for apart from the U-17s and his club: Cameroon’s senior team. In the wake of his stellar African finals displays, Indomitable Lions head coach Clarence Seedorf called up the prodigy this May, making him the first 17-year-old to form part of the national team set-up since a certain Samuel Eto’o.

One big family

“I got a great welcome,” explained the youngster. “I’d met Zambo Anguissa, Ambroise Oyongo, Jack Zoua and Andre Onana before and that made it easier for me to settle in.”

Playing for Cameroon has long been a family affair, as the Biyiks (Andre-Kana, Francois-Oman and Jean-Armel), Matips (Joel and Marvin), and the Songs (Rigobert and Alex) have shown over the years. The Mvoues can now add their name to that illustrious list.

But as he waits for his senior debut, Mvoue Jr will once again run out for the U-17s at Brazil 2019, something he is looking forward to: “I get a lot of pleasure playing for this team. We are warriors and we never give up, which is the very least you have to do if you want to succeed in a tournament like the U-17 World Cup.”

That kind of success takes talent too, a commodity Cameroon will not be short of thanks to Mvoue.