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Bulls Abroad: Anatole Abang called to Cameroon squad for 2018 World Cup qualifying

Big game against Algeria coming up for the Indomitable Lions.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Confederation of African Football's final round of 2018 World Cup qualifying kicks off in October 2017. CAF qualifying is unforgiving: 20 teams divided into five groups of four, with the group winners  - and only the group winners - advancing to Russia 2018.

This is where things get serious for Cameroon head coach Hugo Broos. The Indomitable Lions have been drawn into a tough group with Zambia, Nigeria, and Algeria. Only one team can go through; Broos has made clear that World Cup qualification is his "prime objective".

As such, he has named a strong squad for the opening qualifier: a difficult trip to Algeria on October 9.

Anatole Abang - currently on loan from New York Red Bulls to Danish First Division side Hobro IK - looks to be a long way down the depth chart, but he's in squad. The call-up for the 20-year-old forward furthers the impression that he is a player for whom Broos has high hopes.

Abang has been a regular presence in Cameroon's men's national team squad since Broos took the coaching job, accumulating six caps and one goal since March 2016.

The squad is expected to gather in Paris on October 2, which is the same day as Hobro's next league game - so it isn't clear if Abang will have time to squeeze in one last club match before reporting for international duty. He will definitely miss Hobro's game against AB on October 9, but should be available again for the team's October 16 match-up with Naestved.

Away against Algeria is arguably Cameroon's toughest fixture of the CAF World Cup qualifying tournament. The North African side is one the highest ranked teams in CAF at this point in the Russia 2018 cycle, it will (like Cameroon) be in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and has won its last four home games by an aggregate score of 21-1.

Abang might not get any playing time at all in Algeria, since his coach can be expected to rely on more experienced players like Eric Choupo-Mouting, Vincent Aboubakar, Edgar Salli, and Clinton N'Jie. But he may get a run in the squad's October 5 against Olympique Marseille. And he will continue to watch and learn from his seniors at the international level.