Name: Albert Roger Mooh Miller (MILLA)
Born: May 20th 1952, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Height: 1,73 m 5ft 8in
He was not a genius player, despite a good pace and finishing technique, but his persistency, charisma and belief made of him a legend. His top skill was probably to create a chance to score out of nothing.
1984 and 1988 – African Cup of Nations Winner (Cameroon)
1981 – French Cup (Bastia)
1980 – French Cup (Monaco)
1990 – World Cup Quarter Finalist (Cameroon)
Roger Milla started his career at his home country, Cameroon, showing that he was a prolific goal scorer first in Éclair de Douala, then Léopard de Douala and later on one of the most famous team of the country, Tonerre Yaoundé.
After being considered the 1976 African player of the year, he moved to France, playing there for more than a decade to several teams like Valenciennes, Monaco, Bastia, Saint-Etienne, Montpellier. He won two French Cups and scored a goal in one of the finals for Bastia helping them to win the cup.
Between these 1977-1989 years he played in the 1982 World Cup helping Cameroon to draw with the future champions Italy, 1-1 providing the assist to his team goal. He won two African Cup of Nations in 1984 and 1988, being one of the key players to the success.
He planned to retire from competitive football after 1989 and he moved to Reunion, a French island to play football there without pressure. But in 1990 a beautiful story started when the Cameroon President called him and asked if he could just play in the 1990 World Cup to help the Cameroon National team once again at 38 years old. He accepted and history was done.
In the second game of the tournament after coming from the bench with half an hour to go in a scoreless game until then, he scored a brace and helped Cameroon to the first ever World Cup game win, 2-1 against Romania! Two great goals celebrated with a dance near the corner flag, called Makossa. He would repeat the dance two more times in the 1/8 finals against Colombia, when he entered again as 2nd half substitute to score two goals in the extra-time to a 2-1 final win again. The 2nd goal when he explores cleverly Colombia keeper Higuita error, has become a very famous one. Cameroon would be eliminated in the ¼ finals against England, despite two key contributions from him, after coming on in the 2nd half, earning a penalty and setting a clear run for goal to Ekeke. After the competition ender Roger Milla emerged as one of the tournament heroes!
He continued to play in Cameroon League, at Tonerre with a new goal in his mind: the 1994 World Cup. And keeping is shape was a good option because he was picked again to play at 42 years old and the fairytale was on. He didn´t play in the first game against Sweden, came as substitute with Brazil and the magic moment happened in the last game against Russia. He came on in the 2nd half and just after two minutes he scored a goal! What a record, to score in the World Cup at 42! What a story! The determination he showed when he felt the chance to score is clearly visible in the images.
When I look to Roger Milla career, I can say that doesn´t matter the absence of major club trophies, because what he did with his National Team was unique and will be in the history books forever. Every child will want to know who was this man and why did it became a legend.
My first memory from Roger Milla was when I saw the highlights of the game against Romania, and thinking “what a good player this guy is” after watching the two goals. I was watching the 1/8 finals game against Colombia live and when he done it again, I was very happy because I felt he was very special and was creating great moments and the world cup was becoming more rich with his goals and celebrations. The Higuita error goal, was epic and is a memory I will always keep. When the 1994 tournament arrived, there was a lot of anxiety around what he could bring this time and I felt very happy when he scored against Russia.
Here in Cameroon, football is our leading political party. It’s football alone that that unites us, it’s football alone that brings us good things – football is the window into our country – so we don’t mess around with it.
Cameroon is stronger because it’s a country of conquerors, of winners. Cameroon’s players aren’t necessarily very technical, but that when they play, they play to win.
On the field, everyone is equal.