By Winston LEBGA
Africa’s biggest football showpiece event, the men’s Africa Cup of Nations 2019 has ended. For the first time twenty four countries were on the guest list of the ball with Egypt playing host. The land of the Pharaohs (the only humans in the football jungle of Africa) was chosen to salvage an embarrassing situation following the initial hosts Cameroon’s inability to be ready, so to speak. The authorities in Cameroon and those of the Confederation of African Football who had been assuring and reassuring the fans that the thirty-second AFCON was coming to Cameroon had to inform the nation, the continent and the world that there was a shift in dates and venue.
Cameroon has been chosen to host the event in 2021. Government declared that although the country had been relieved of its 2019 hosting rights, the stadia under construction will be completed as initially planned. For as long as the Bohemian can remember, works are permanently on the ninety per cent mark.
The Indomitable Lions travelled to Egypt as defending champions, and arrived in the country in acrimonious circumstances. They had complaints regarding the payment of bonuses. Someone said they should know that they are playing for country and should stop narrowing everything down to how much they will get from the expedition. Are they not the ones sweating it out on the field of play? Why should they travel as slaves in the name of patriotism while the men in suit who are pulling the strings in the background fill their pockets and get their lovers, relatives and domestic servants to travel with the team under the government bill? And that is not all, these zombies in suit armed with half-baked ideas would bring in gangs of dim wits calling them professionals.
Where is it written that only commoners are under the obligation to be patriotic in this republic? Who is above the principle of patriotism? Who are those who have captured the Indomitable Lions and are planning to barbecue the animals alive? What punishment awaits these sons of a gun? The senior men’s football team of Cameroon is in actuality an army of foreign mercenaries. If you are a Cameroon-based player or tactician, brethren it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for you to find a place in the national team. A third rate player in the sixth division in Europe or China is more likely to be selected than a first division player in the country’s so-called pro-league even if the man is at the peak of his foot-balling prowess. You can ask the right back, Eta Bawak, one of the bulwarks of Cotonsport’s defence or the centre forward, Mangolo, Dragon FC’s fire spitting marksman.
So, after learning about the sacking of Clarence Seedorf and how men and people have unleashed a torrent of insults on him, I the Bohemian of Abakwa born on the last day of the month by the shores of the Atlantic, in the land of the proud people, this day declare: We’ve been blaming coaches ad nauseam to the point that the Bohemian thinks it is time to face the real problems affecting the national team and stop the sledgehammer tactics that leave the fans in more pain than previously. They knew that Seedorf’s credentials were not impressive enough for the Cameroonian job yet the arrival of the man with his compatriot Patrick Kluivert in Yaounde was celebrated with great pomp and ceremony. They hatched a plot to scam the fans, and they knew that whatever the outcome of the AFCON 2019, Seedorf’s case was going to be a cause celebre among football lovers. They knew about plans to recruit relatives, cats who thought themselves lions. They knew they would strike deals with player agents and Cameroon’s ballon d’or superstar and they knew that they were more concerned about lining their pockets than bringing the supreme accolade to a nation fervently desperate for continental glory.
Even those who are in the mood of warlike jingoism, those in favour of the balkanization of the country were hopeful that Cameroon will bravely defend the trophy they won in Gabon. But, those know-it-alls could not allow for that to happen. They who were counting on a stroke of luck, as was the case two years ago. They, those ones, the tough people, the chosen ones, the zombies in suit…