Boxscore: NAIROBI, Kenya -September 23, 2021 – When it comes to Cameroon’s record breaking, golden generation of the Italia 1990 Fifa World Cup, the standout names have always been that of striker’s Roger Miller and Francois Oman-Biyik, playmaker Cyrille Makanaky and shot stopper Thomas N’Kono.
These are the players who have carried much credit for the success in that memorable World Cup in Italy when the Indomitable Lions shocked the world by defeating Diego Maradona’s Argentina 1-0 in their opening match to top Group B before proceeding as far as to the quarter-finals to become the first African side to reach the last eight in the Fifa World Cup.
However, one individual’s name has remained behind the curtains despite his exemplary contribution to the success of that squad and this is none other than the team’s tactician Valery Kuzmich Nepomnyashchy.
The Russian coach was at the epicentre of all that Cameroon achieved during that tournament. He built a team which was more like a well lubricated powerful machine that took England 120 minutes to stop them in the quarter-finals in a thrilling match that ended 3-2 in the favor of the Three Lions.
Nepomnyashchy was born in Slkavgorod in the former USSR on August 7, 1943. As a player he was a defender who played Russia top flight for teams like SKIF Ashgabat from 1961- 1965 and Spartak Samarkand where he played from 1965 to 1967 before hanging up his shoes as a player.
He was not very successful as a footballer, perhaps his calling was on the touchline where he has made his name from his tactical prowess.
After years of serving as an assistant coach in various professional teams in Russia, Nepomnyashchy made his debut as a full coach in 1982 for Kolhozchi Ashkhabad, staying for one season until 1983.
Cameroon came calling in 1988 with the duty of seeing the Indomitable Lions qualify for the 1990 World Cup in Italy which was two years away.
Nepomnyashchy accepted the challenge gracefully and seemed to settle in with Cameroon very quickly as he began to build his amazing team.
As a believer of the famous 4-4-2 system, he went ahead and introduced it to the team and made it primary system of choice.
Above all, Nepomnyashchy assembled a team of believers. He installed the winning mentality to his team and managed to motivate them to be able to take on the world’s best.
The strength of his team was the team spirit that he keenly created to make the players play like a single automobile.
No one can deny the effect of Valeriy Nepomnyashchy in all the success of Cameroons 1990 exploits of the golden generation.
Honours as a manager
-Honored coach of the Turkmen SSR in 1990
-Legion of honor Cameroon in 1990
-Award for contribution to the development of the South Korea football in 1996
-Best coach of the year in China in 2000
-And the badge of service to the Tomsk region in 2010
Now 78-years-old and retired, the fond memories that Valery Nepomnyashchy left in Africa will always be cherished as the man behind the success of the Indomitable Lions in the 1990 Italia FIFA World Cup.