Hard work pays off for Timbers' Songo'o in Cameroon call
PORTLAND, Ore. – Franck Songo’o knew his quality play with the Portland Timbers had attracted the attention of the Cameroon national team.
But there was no guarantee he’d receive his first call-up since 2010 – until that is, the call actually came.
“I knew that they were aware of my season and how I was playing lately,” Songo’o told MLSsoccer.com in an e-mail from his home in Spain. “They told me that there was a chance to be called, but nothing was sure 100 percent. ... I was really happy because I left the group about two years ago, and to be back shows that hard works pays off.”
The 25-year-old midfielder first tweeted out the news on Oct. 29. He’ll join the team in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday ahead of their Nov. 14 friendly against Albania at Stade de Genève. The Cameroonian national team, which features star striker Samuel Eto’o, is preparing for upcoming World Cup qualifiers in March.
“We've got a lot of quality in the team, and we've got one of the best strikers in the world,” Songo’o said. “The first time that I was with ‘Samu’ at practice, his speed and finishing were amazing. But the thing that really surprised me was his hunger for winning. He's a winner and a leader, and that’s why he is accomplished and still doing it in football.”
A native of Yaoundé Songo’o made his debut with the senior Cameroonian national team in a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde on Sept. 6, 2008. He first represented Cameroon in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, helping the team go unbeaten in group play and reach the tournament quarterfinals.
He said he hasn’t thought much about the national team this year, instead focusing on his play with the Timbers.
“When you are in, it is good to be and focus on it,” Songo’o said. “But when you are not, you should just think about your [club] team and play well. And if you deserve it, the call will come. At the end of the day, what matters is your team, because if you are good in your team, the call will come naturally.”
And in his first season with the Timbers, the former La Liga player saw action in 27 matches, scoring one goal and ranking among team leaders with five assists.
“I almost made the team for the  World Cup, but it didn’t happen,” Songo’o said. “So I'm really happy to be back after two years.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.