CAF jolts Cameroon over AFCON 2019 hosting

Reactions by Africa’s apex football governing body Confederation of African Football, CAF regarding the preparedness or otherwise of Cameroon to host the upcoming 2019 edition of continental football jamboree, still paint a sombre picture for the country of Indomitable Lions less than 18 months to actual commencement.

With Cameroon sweltering in preparations for the African Cup of Nations 2019 and with the CAF inspection team seemingly not still satisfied with the level of preparedness for the sports jamboree next year, CAF’s President Ahmad Ahmad has challenged Cameroon to address shortfalls regarding their hosting prerogative to the 2019 CAF tournament.

This is the first comment from the football governing body’s boss after the CAF inspection team visited the country last month. Ahmad was speaking on Friday after CAF’s 40th General Assembly, held in Casablanca that on the sideline also, hosted the African Nations Championship (CHAN) final last Sunday.

He said “there is still a shortfall between the report from the recent inspection team visit and the requirements we have set out. It is now up to Cameroon to make up this shortfall as fast as possible, that is all I can tell you.”

He added saying, “you should know that I am a man who keeps his word and my board will not change one iota of the decision taken with regard to the proposed resolution. You can consult our requirements (known in French as cahier de charges) I think we can even put it up on the website if need be, to be transparent. We will see what happens for CAN 2019,” he ended.

With the reactions of the CAF boss, many pundits are still stressing on the fact that, if by the required date by CAF, Cameroon is still below level of expectations, the sports jamboree could easily be lured out of her hands and given to another country which is able and capable of handling the tournament without any problems. However, Cameroon’s hired contractors still assure the nervous Cameroonian public and officials that, they will meet the expectations of CAF in time.

By Atembeh Ngewung Lordfred

Douala cycling fiesta prompts heavy traffic jam

Like every other aspect of national life that is predicated on improvisation instead of pro-activeness, the city of Douala had its traffic circulation arteries blocked Wednesday, January 31, almost rendering commuters helpless owing to absence of contingency arrangements for a hitch-free kickoff of the U23 international cycling tour.

The race reserved for under-23 cyclists brought together 17 teams from 15 countries although it was a difficult pill to swallow for denizens in Douala as traffic was halted on all major roads in the city to give way for the race.

Eritrea’s Nathaneal Mebrahton, Winner

Major axis in town like the Boulevard de la Republique in Akwa, École Publique, Feu Rouge Bessengue, Carrefour Agip, Ndokoti and Ange Raphaël were all blocked as the 147 km race flagged off from Limbe reached the city.

This left workers, traders and businessmen frustrated as they trekked for long distances to get to their houses.

“I was stuck in Ndokotti for over two hours because there were free circulation for vehicles and bikes. Even the pedestrian path was blocked by people who came to watch as spectators so it was even difficult walking on foot,” a Douala resident Collins Tenkeu, told The Rambler.

“The Government needs to choose a lane out of town when next they want to organize such a competition to avoid slowing down activities in town. It is really frustrating to lose a whole day because of a race which is bringing no financial benefits to us,” another resident in Douala said.

Others, however, preferred to blame the situation on the Douala City Council for failing to provide adequate secondary roads in the city that could help decongest traffic when such instances present themselves.

By 6:00pm local time, the race had wrapped up but the town remained caught in the traffic web as bike riders took advantage to make brisk business with exorbitant fares.

For two days spent in Douala by the caravan, it was hell on earth for denizens with the traffic under the grueling sun. By 2pm when the caravan entered into town from the Southwest Region, the city had been cut into two as it had become impossible to cross on the Wouri Bridge.

Talking about the race proper, the first lap saw foreigners totally dominate the lane as Eritrea’s Nathaneal Mebrahton emerged winner in 2h 25’24. He was 11 minutes clear of his compatriot Selemun Zemenses, while Morocco’s Chokri El Mehdi finished a close third. Surprisingly, the winner of the Tropical Amissa Bongo in Gabon, Rwanda’s Areruya Joseph could only settle for fourth place.

The first Cameroonian, Ismael Voukeng, could only manage at the fifteenth place as it was a poor show in a harsh weather that forced many riders to abandon the race while others faced mechanical problems.

The second lap of the race was equally won by an Eritrean Daniel Habtemchael finishing ahead of Rwandan Jean Paul Rene Ukinwabo by sprint on the finish line. The podium was completed by Gregory Rougier-Lagane from the Mauritius Island.

The best team of the competition also qualifies for the “coupe de l’avenir” to take place in France next year.

By Francis Ajumane

CAF inspection team leaves hope in Southwest Region

Even as some shortcomings relating to absence of regular water supply and poor maintenance of existing infrastructure in stadia had been signaled as some of the hitches the visiting CAF inspection team was going to be grappling with during their visit to the Southwest Region, the obvious camaraderie and acquiescence to explanations proffered by Cameroonian officials all point to a fait accompli quitus to Cameroon’s hosting of next year’s CAF football jamboree.

CAF team saluting officials after completing field tour

After inspecting stadia and other facilities in relation to hosting of next year’s African football jamboree, AFCON 2019 in Yaounde, Bafoussam and Garoua, CAF inspection team headed by Ishmael Wally visited the Southwest Region Wednesday, January 17, and ended their tour at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium Thursday January 18, where they spent more than an hour peering into every facility given that it is the main playing field.

At the Buea Town Municipal Stadium, the field was adjudged small after the team had measured its dimension while also taking into consideration the quality of the turf and other facilities. The same action was replicated at the Molyko Stadium.

While in Limbe, they visited hotels, Limbe Omnisport Stadium Annex including Centenary and Middle Farms Stadiums meant for training. At the end of the inspection the entourage had a joint reception in Limbe and at the end with smiles on their faces, the CAF officials bade farewell with to Southwest Governor and other officials. Their assessment is yet to be communicated.

Comic relief

On day two of the delegation’s tour, while the entourage was on its way to the Limbe Omnisport Stadium, the convoy was interrupted at Mile Four, where an allegedly mentally deranged man threw a stone at the convoy. However, when the Presidential Guards accompanying the delegation descended to arrest him, he threw away the marble he was holding and greeted them in military style. This incident caused a commotion as he, unfortunately, received some slaps and was carried to the Limbe Omnisport Stadium after which he was given some instructions which he followed meticulously. His actions made those present to doubt if he was mentally okay or pretending. After several pleas and calls for him not to be taken to Yaoundé, the forces carried him out of the stadium. It is however, alleged he was taken to a nearby police station in Limbe for interrogation.

By Relindise Ebune





AFCON preparations guzzles Littoral Region budget

In line with Presidential edict to the effect that all resources necessary for the successful hosting of the 2019 African Cup of Nation, AFCON, by Cameroon be put at high premium, preparations for the for the sports fiesta in the Littoral Region are already on high gear as reflected in the 2018 financial year budget launched recently in Douala, with 30 percent of the national budget in allocation.

The budget which went operational on January 10 after its launch at the Littoral Governor’s office stands at 71, 269, 813, 390 FCFA, exactly 28.6 percent of the FCFA 4,516.5 billion that make up the state budget.

In terms of implementation, priority sectors of the budget include organization of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, construction of the Japoma stadium, rehabilitation of the Omnisports and Mbappe Leppé stadia, development of the East and West entrances of Douala, completion of works on the second bridge over the River Wouri and hygiene and sanitation in the city of Douala.

Implementation guidelines for the budget have been presented to various authorities, programme managers, contracting authorities, finance controllers, public accountants and public and private partners.

As usual, revenue will rely heavily on the total mobilization of non-petroleum resources.

The execution of the said budget will be guided by the search for greater socioeconomic efficiency in spending, the improvement of the public service and the priority settlement of the debt due to state suppliers, mainly small and medium size enterprises.

In the Littoral Region, three main areas are top priorities; “measures to increase revenue mobilization and improve the business climate, measures to reduce state expenses and rational distribution of public spending and the measures to strengthen various sectors to produce results.

Airport Tax causes storm

The first major change in the Region as the budget went operational was the increase in the airport tax from FCFA 10,000 to FCFA 25,000 as per the new finance law.

The immediate implementation of this measure did not go down well with some passengers at the Douala International Airport who reacted with surprise and anger-they had to pay extra FCFA 15,000 on their already purchased tickets which took into account the FCFA 10,000 in the 2017 finance law.

“This is pure theft. I bought my ticket since December 20, 2017, my return is scheduled for January 06, 2018 and I am asked in the name of the new finance law, to pay a surplus of 15,000 FCFA. Why? My ticket is not concerned by this law, “a passenger fumed at the airport.

However, according to a note signed by the Directorate General of Taxes and made public read: “The tax D7 on your airline tickets has been revised upwards. It goes from FCFA 10,000 to FCFA 25,000 according to the 2018 finance law. Also, for all the air tickets issued in 2017 for travels in 2018, the passenger will have to pay an additional FCAF 15,000 at the airport to regularize the tax in question which in 2017 stood at FCFA 10,000 instead of 25,000 FCFA for this year…”However, the airport duty stamp for local flights remains unchanged; FCFA 1000.

By Francis Ajumane

Northwest elite clubs threaten to boycott professional league

According to state-controlled media, CRTV Radio, Elite One and Two clubs in the Northwest Region have demanded PWD of Bamenda be reinstated into the MTN Elite Two else they will pull out of the Professional Football League.

‘Panthere Security’ of Garoua, Botafogo of Douala and Douala Athletic Club have been relegated from the MTN Elite Two based on their positions on the table.

But the Northwest football stakeholders are disputing the decision by the Chamber for Conciliation and Arbitration of the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Cameroon to add Botafogo a point in a match they played with Fovu of Baham.

It is ruled Fovu used a player with more than two identities in that game.

Yong Sports Academy, National Polytechnic, Bang Bullets and PWD say they will pull out of the leagues if that decision is upheld, accusing the officials of partiality and favouritism.

*By Ekonde Daniel

*UB Journalism Student





Opopo, Maumu Youths into Southwest mini round-robin final

Victoria United, aka OPOPO, and Maumu Youths are this year’s finalists of the Southwest mini round-robin tournament following their wins in the second leg semifinals at the Limbe Centenary Stadium on Sunday, December 3.

Nyame Rodrigues scored at extra time to give Opopo a 2-0 win over a rather stubborn EMMSA.

Swithbert Kum had scored at regular time to put Victoria United level on aggregate.

Earlier at the Limbe Centenary Stadium, Maumu Youths defeated St Peters 3-1 on penalties after conceding two goals in the game which kept them 2-2 on aggregate.

Captain for Maumu, Leonard Mendi Echu won’t be in the final after receiving a red card.

That was after St Peters were reduced to 10 men when Eric Monkam was sent off by a red card.

Victoria United will be in the final for the second time in two years.

Last year they defeated Mount Cameroon to represent the Region in the national round-robin games wherein they came back empty handed.

For Maumu Youths, it would be their first final in their tiny football history.

The winner will participate in the round-robin tournament in January 5, 2018 that qualifies teams into the MTN Elite Two.

*By Ekonde Daniel

*UB Journalism Student

EEMSA stun OPOPO in mini round-robin clash

Victoria United of Limbe, alias Opopo were stunned 1-0 by impressive Esoh Eteki Memorial Sports Academy, EEMSA, in the first leg semifinals of the Southwest mini round-robin football competition at the Molyko ‘Omnisport’ Stadium.

The Limbe side that started the game with poor options and long passes were taken by surprise at the 34th minute when EMMSA’s Ambah Yannick capitalized from a corner and beat Opopo’s Tayiwoh Princewill in goal.

After the goal, Coach Ekokobe Joseph’s boys continued to withstand the timid pressure from Victoria United who appeared to have lost their strength and purpose of the game.

EEMSA were thick and round at the midfield and defence, frustrating Victoria United’s forwards; Swithbert Kum and Charles Kelly who couldn’t find the right formula to a comeback.

Festus Ebere’s steadfastness in between the sticks for Esoh Eteki Memorial Sports Academy also accounted for Opopo’s painful defeat. He stopped four shots from Victoria United players, giving EEMSA the hard earned victory.

Coach Mbock Maput’s Victoria United must win the return leg if the team must continue their adventure of retaining the national ‘inter pool’ ticket for the Southwest.

In the second semifinal game at the same venue, Maumu Youths thrashed St Peters of Limbe 2-0.

By Ekonde Daniel

*UB Journalism Student


ANAFOOT installs Southwest representation

Cameroon National Football Academy, ANAFOOT, has swung into action in what many see as a resolve to side track earlier criticism that its creation was just another smokescreen to shield incompetent management of football in the country. This justifies why Carl Enow Ngashu, General Manager of the Cameroon National Football Academy, ANAFOOT, has had to commission to office Nicolas Asongu and Nlend Emmay as the academy’s head and deputy in the Southwest Region respectively.

The event which took place at the Governor’s office in Buea designates, Physical Education instructor, Nicolas Asongu and assistant coach of Southwest amateur club, Maumu Youths, Nlend Emmay in charge of scouting young players below age 13 for ANAFOOT.

Created seven years ago to professionalize football in Cameroon, ANAFOOT only came to life on May 24, 2017 through a Presidential decree that appointed Board Chair, Issa Hayatou and General Manager, Carl Enow Ngatchu.

The General Manager told The Rambler that the institution has a working plan. “We are about to start our activities. Immediately after the training of our Regional representatives we shall launch our football activities in the Regions. We need 50 players, 25 girls and 25 boys below the age 13 from each Region and that will be 500 from the 10 Regions. The youngsters will be selected by experts and only 50 of them will be at ANAFOOT in Yaoundé,” said Enow Ngatchu.

ANAFOOT’s establishment is expected to revive the hay days of Cameroon football by cultivating talents and good football practices.

No doubt it was created in 2010 by Cameroon’s president after the Indomitable Lions shamefully bowed out of the group stage of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa with no point.

By Ekonde Daniel

*UB Journalism Student


Hugo Broos will stay in the den

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos has rubbished media claims he will resign as Indomitable Lions’ coach following his failure to qualify the country for their 8th World Cup finals next year in Russia.

The Belgian tactician was speaking at a press conference in Zambia’s commercial city of Ndola, after Cameroon’s 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw with Zambia on Saturday.

French magazine, ‘Jeune Afrique’ published an article before the Zambia game purporting that Broos had sent a letter to the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Ismael Pierre Bidoung Mkpat, informing him about his decision to quit his coaching assignment by the end of his two-year contract in February 2018.

Hugo Broos said he has not requested a contract with Cameroon, neither did he sent a letter to the country’s sports ministry announcing his departure come February 2018 when his contract expires.

He held that he will meet with the Minister of Sports and Physical Education to discuss his future at the helm of the Indomitable Lions when the time comes.

The Cameroon coach, who ensured the country’s fifth Africa Cup of Nations trophy and first since 2002, has come under criticism lately after Nigeria terminated the country’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup.

His inability to have a  regular squad has also been questioned, compounded by some players refusing to play for Cameroon with the latest being Karl Toko Ekambi who plies his trade with French Ligue Un outfit, Angers.

Cameroon who have already qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as hosts will play for formality in the qualifiers in March 2018 with Malawi, Comoros and Morocco in Group B.

By Ekonde Daniel

*UB Journalism Student

‘Opopo’ inches into Cameroon Cup Semis

Victorial United football team

What began like a fairy tale has now gathered steam and is sending fans wild with excitement as Victoria United has sailed through to the semi-final round of the Cup of Cameroon for the first time in forty years after edging out Racing of Bafoussam one-nil at the Reunification Stadium in Douala.

A Mutia Evariste goal at the half hour mark sent the minnows into the final four as they continue their fairy tale cup run.

After sending Feutcheu FC packing in the round of 16, the boys from Limbe had another team from the West Region standing between them and a place into the semi-finals.

And following a fairly balanced opening to the game, Mutia latched on to a through-ball from Adolph Sama to open the scoring sending the fans who travelled all the way to Douala into raptures.

They were able to show fight and spirit as a ‘One People One Power’ team to keep the score at one nil and grind out a result that leaves them on the brink of a final appearance for the first time since 1965 when they lost heavily to Lion Yaounde 4-1.

Victoria United are also bidding to become the fourth team West of the Mungo to reach the finals after Kumbo Strikers, Mount Cameroon FC and Yong Sports Academy that had each won the cup and PWD Bamenda that lost in 1979.

By Francis Ajumane