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

Cameroon makes Bulgaria/Italy world volleyball finals

The sky has been getting brighter and brighter for Cameroon volleyball with the male team’s recent qualification for the World Championship to be jointly hosted by Bulgaria and Italy come September 2018, a feat that had earlier been outstripped by the lady’s team that did not only qualify for the World Cup in Japan but also, lifted the coveted African Lady’s Volleyball Championship trophy. The men’s senior national volleyball team qualification follows their 3 to 1 set victory over Algeria to finish third with a bronze medal in the just-ended African Volleyball Championship in Cairo Egypt.

The Volleyball Lions who were vying for their first African Volleyball Championship title since 2001 triumphed over Nigeria in Port Harcourt, Nigeria had their bid terminated by Egypt who overpowered them by 3 sets in the semifinals. Egypt went ahead to lose by 0 to 3 sets to Tunisia, who are now with the highest African Volleyball Championship titles (nine).

The men and women volleyball teams of Cameroon will be busy with the World Volleyball Championships in September 2018. The Volleyball Lions of Cameroon with their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts will be in Bulgaria and Italy while the women version will be in Japan for the female category.

It should be recalled only four countries have dominated the 21 editions of the Men’s African Volleyball Championship organized by the Confederation of African Volleyball. They include Tunisia who have got nine titles, eight for Egypt and two each for Cameroon and Algeria.

By Ekonde Daniel

Cameroon upbeat to gather broken pieces

The manifest euphoria derivable from Cameroon’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup fiesta was expected to have blossomed into huge public relations stunt to boost Biya regime’s corporate image and oil its electioneering machinery relating to elections afoot next year.

After struggling to win the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon by beating the Pharaoh’s 2-1 at the finals, Hugo Broos’ squad shocked the world yet again as they allowed themselves to be easily obliterated from the World Cup race by the Super Eagles of Nigeria on 5-1 aggregate, following a two leg qualifier that will always be remembered for leaving many Cameroonians in tears. Some sports commentators have even described the first leg setback at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Oyo, as the greatest humiliation in Cameroon’s football history.

Their absence in Russia next year will mean that Cameroon’s only consolation must be victory at the 2019 AFCON where they will enjoy two advantages as defending Champions and as hosts.  Cameroon has invested a great deal, abstractly and concretely, ahead of its own party in two years, so any defeat will reverberate well beyond the football pitch.

Many Cameroonians have even opposed hosting the 2019 AFCON, raging that, funds spent on building expensive stadiums, would instead have been canalized to much-needed basic infrastructure including roads, public transport, hospitals, electricity and potable water. Most of the money being used to build and renovate pitches has been borrowed from foreign banks. EXIM Bank of China loaned Cameroon 139 billion to build ‘Paul Biya Stadium’ at Olembé in Yaoundé and as if it doesn’t rain, but pours, building of these stadia has provided jobs to approximately 80 percent foreigners and only 20 percent nationals like the case of the ‘Japoma Stadium’ in Douala being constructed by a Turkish company with expatriate workers doing most of the work. Cameroon’s decision to host the competition notwithstanding its financial difficulties may backfire and produce unexpected results, especially, if Indomitable Lions fail roar.

In 1972 AFCON, when Cameroon hosted for the first time, there were only eight teams with matches played at the ‘Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium’ in Yaoundé and the ‘Reunification Stadium’ in Douala. It was People’s Republic of Congo that brandished the trophy, not Cameroon.

Victory at the 2019 Nations Cup will surely calm tampers and even help President Biya, as experts believe that the competition could change the national mood because if citizens are happy, they are more likely to vote for permanence. However, football and politics are separate and as it may; many will not want to punish Biya even if Cameroon fails to win.

The Confederation of African Football, CAF, has intimated that Cameroon may fail to complete necessary infrastructure projects to host the three-week event; while a number of countries including Morocco and Algeria have said they are ready to host should CAF inspection team report Cameroon to CAF Executive Committee. The competition initially billed for January and February 2019, will now take place at the heart of the rainy season from June to July 2019 with 24 instead of 16 teams involved.

A team in need of Reconstruction

The highly indebted Cameroon Government has already borrowed so much money for necessary projects as it battles to save face. Government has gone on singing loudly standard pitches will be in its possession  including  training grounds for the 24 teams in Bafoussam, Limbe, Garoua, Yaoundé, Olembé and Japoma in Douala. Being a country with deficient infrastructures, Cameroon is also battling hard to enlarge its transport network: refurbishing roads, airports and struggling to improve hotel facilities.

Arguably, Cameroon national football team also needs reconstruction following the enormous level of damage inflicted on its reputation by Nigerians with their Anglo-Saxon system of football based on hard work and competence. The harrowing ramifications will continue to linger until the 2019 AFCON event.

New FECAFOOT interim committee must answer some unanswered questions and solve some perennial problems like tribalism, nepotism and the total absence of a never-say-die-spirit in this current generation of the Lions. It was evident during the first leg match at Oyo that skipper Benjamin Moukandjo, Eric Choupo-Moting and even Vincent Aboubakar are liabilities and not assets to the squad. Hugo Broos or whoever comes after him must not rely on players who put club before country for pecuniary reasons.

As Cameroon attempts to regain some sense of normality and once harmonious hegemony in African football, fans also expect that even Clinton Njie, left hanging in the air for no clear reason will be recalled. Government must henceforth highly motivate the players while football officials look for sponsors to help clear up match bonuses. For too long we have been riddled with the stench of agitations over unpaid match bonuses with money meant for the team ending up in private pockets. The abortive campaign against Nigeria should always be a harsh reminder that disgrace is like a scar that refuses to fade. Notwithstanding, the beauty and the beast eroding the fine corners of football in Cameroon, the interim President of Cameroon’s football governing body, Barrister Dieudonné Happi and his team must speak for those who have become victims of politics and cannot be heard and give place to all actors and players with something to offer for betterment of Cameroon football.

By Solomon Lyonga Ikundi

Anglophone marginalization slurs FIFA normalization

The hypersensitivity of upheavals pitting Anglophones against Government in Cameroon since November 2016, has been played up in recent FIFA appointment of five-man Normalization Committee of Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT, to bring back sanity to football management in the country, with Anglophones chorusing marginalization refrain after installation of Barrister Dieudonne Happi led troubleshooters in Yaounde, Saturday, September 9, 2017.

As speculations of many sports pundits that Bell Antoine would find favour in sight of joint FIFA-CAF mission and made president of committee are being laid off, absence of Anglophones in the crew is arousing desolation.

Many a devotee of FECAFOOT is querying criteria used for selection of the privileged five. They demand to know why no Anglophone featured among the executives allotted at a time when strike action against Anglophone marginalization has stalemated the two English speaking regions of the country for the last ten months and counting. In their defense, the aggrieved Anglophones argue that even though the exercise was organized and supervised by FIFA, the government acted as consultant. “FIFA and CAF consulted Biya and his boys who gave the names. They could not miss the opportunity to further marginalize us.

We know government has huge influence on members designated. We equally know how terribly tribalism-infested this government is. Somebody must have links somewhere or bears a name from one the French speaking regions for them to be qualified for selection. We are tired of this shit!” an Anglophone commentator quaked, after the Yaounde Hilton Press Conference, Friday, September 8.

In the opinion of Edwin Ntang, another Anglophone football fan, FIFA has tasted of Cameroon’s corruption. Read him, “Corruption in Cameroon knows no limits. I am convinced that the corrupt government poisoned FIFA delegation to select only Francophones as members of the committee. Whoever said that ‘impossible is not Cameroonian’ sums it.”

The irritation of some Anglophones is that Kevin Njomo Kandem, English speaking, is not one of theirs. In an endeavour to impute legitimacy to vexation, they have stressed that “although born and bred in Three Corners Kumba, in the Southwest Region, Njomo is Bamileke from West Region of Cameroon.” The debate of who an Anglophone is is hereby re-launched.

Proof that appointment in Cameroon has everything to do with one’s tribe and region of origin, discounting competence, is one of the upshots of the last FIFA outing in the “Land of Promise”. The argument is equally touted among Francophone Cameroonians who are probing why it is a Bamileke and not a Betti or Bassa man shepherding the group. How a Cameroonian’s tribe is related to knack is what no research has to established, at least not thus far.

Meantime, The decision to form the committee is in connection with the validation by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) of the decision of the “Chambre de Conciliation et d’Arbitrage du Comite Olympique et Sportif du Cameroun” annulling the electoral process leading to the election of the Tombi A Roko Sidiki FECAFOOT executive committee in 2015. It also follows failed attempts by FIFA to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.

It should be known that the newly installed committee, fifth of its kind in Cameroon will, among others, run the daily affairs of FECAFOOT, organize and conduct elections of a new FECAFOOT executive committee. It will perform its functions up until 28 February 2018. The question is whether they will succeed to lift the present deadlock which has crippled FECAFOOT and is associated with the Indomitable Lions’ elimination from the Russia 2018 tourney. Your guess is as good as mine.

By Claudia Nsono

Cameroon qualify for Kenya CHAN 2018

A select team of domestic players made up of Intermediate Lions of Cameroon have defeated Sao Tome 2-0 at the Limbe Omnisport Stadium to qualify for the 2018 African Nations Championship in Kenya.  The game which took place on Saturday, August 19, 2017, gave the Lions their second victory over Sao Tome in two weeks, sailing through with a 4-0 aggregate.

The win gave the Coach of the Intermediate Lions, Rigobert Song Bahanag, a 100 percent win in his international outings since coming out of a cardiac arrest.

Captained by Yong Sport Academy’s Awono Junior, domestic Lions were dominant and fierce-looking in the first half with lots of incursions and attacks on the half of Sao Tome.  Armel Ngonji, Frantz Pangop, Messi Bouli and David Eto’o kept the Sao Tomeans running in the first 45 minutes but could not find the back of the net.

In the second half, the searing pace and aggressive nature of the Lions’ attackers resulted to a goal at the 51st minute executed by Armel Ngondjiat close range. Eight minutes later, Messi Bouli headed in from a cross to seal the win for the boys of Rigobert Song Bahanag.

Cameroon will now participate in the African Nations Championship for the 3rd time since the tournament started in 2009. The domestic Lions finished in the knockout stages in the 2016 edition hosted in Rwanda.

 

 

Enemies of Cameroon football rattle Tchiroma!

Cameroon’s Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary

In his characteristic style of always seeing enemies on the prowl, ready to pounce on Cameroon’s corporate image, even as same is clearly moribund and in crucial need of cutting-edge rebranding, Cameroon’s Communication Minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, has, for the umpteenth time, chastised some “unpatriotic” media organs for endangering Cameroon’s hosting of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON.

He indicted them with discrediting the nation’s preparedness to host the tournament on Friday, August 3, 2017 at the Communication Ministry Conference Hall in Yaounde. The Minister is vexed that such “groundless insinuations” triggered hopes in other nations to substitute Cameroon in its envious position as host of the tourney, by slurring the nation’s readiness at a time when all lingering doubts in relation to its steadfastness to host the tournament ought to be rebutted with all vehemence.

“It is inacceptable and intolerable and could be considered a real betrayal and an act of hostility against one’s fatherland in as much as we are dealing here with ungrounded and misleading information. I therefore, call on these people to put themselves together and get back on the right track by committing themselves to their nation for what is, henceforth, considered a just and irreversible course,” he barked.

Sandwiched by the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Ishmael Bidoung Kpwat, and the President of the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT, Tombi a Roko Sidiki, the Communications boss flaunted “the Government of Cameroon’s commitment through the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education on November 22, 2013, to make available to CAF not four stadia as required, but, rather six as well as 25 training grounds, all in conformity with CAF standards and within the prescribed deadline.

“It is worth noting that for the Cameroon bid to be approved by CAF, our country had to organize the final phase of another CAF competition, open to national football teams. In response to this obligation, Cameroon organized at the end of 2016, the tenth edition of the African Women Football Cup of Nations with uncontroverted success. In fact, the groundbreaking success ever recorded in the annals of women football throughout the world… Cameroon is therefore the country chosen by CAF to host the 32nd edition of the African football Cup of Nations,” he reassured.

Onlookers have wasted no time to question whether the propagated success included heavy downpours on players and spectators, whitewashed buses transporting the players and other officials or the fact that training grounds were under construction during the tournament. If such lapses make a tournament successful, then their joking that the 2019 session will be even more successful, may have a basis in reality.

Tchiroma, admitted however, noting that during the July 20, 2017 meeting in Rabat, Morocco, CAF decided to move from 16 to 24 participating teams and to reschedule the event from January and February, to June and July with effect from 2019.

In response to a question raised whether the commitment earlier taken by Cameroon to organize the competition under the 16 team format, stands in the 24 team format, he reechoed Cameroon’s commitment to host the games with 24 teams as demanded by CAF. “I will like to reiterate Government commitment to host the 2019 AFCON in the format decided by CAF; that is to say, with the 24 team format. Let this, therefore, be made crystal clear to everyone and there should no longer be further ambiguity on this issue. Cameroon will organize the 32nd edition of AFCON in June and July 2019, period and in conformity with the new formula prescribing that.

“Let it also be well underscored that this organization will be excellent and crowded with success to the full satisfaction of CAF, the Cameroonian public and the entire African and world sports community. Companies and other technical partners involved in the preparation of the event are on their part fully committed day-in-day-out, to deliver the entire infrastructure they are to provide in accordance with quality standard of works within the prescribed deadline,” he managed to convince.

The first CAF inspection mission is expected in Cameroon from August 20-28 2017, to ascertain Cameroon’s preparedness for the continentals.

By Claudia Nsono

Clinton Njie pens a permanent deal at Marseille

After much talk about the future of Lions’ attacker, Clinton Njie, whether he will stay at his current club, Olympic Marseille  on loan or moving back to Tottenham Hotspur, the Premier League club announced on Sunday, July 16 on its official Twitter account that it has reached an agreement with Olympic Marseille to retain the forward. It implies Clinton Njie is now a fulltime employee at the French side.

The Cameroon international who has in recent time fallen short of expectation in the eyes of Indomitable Lions head trainer, Hugo Broos, netted four times on loan with Olympic Marseille last season. A performance that motivated Hugo Broos to leave him out of his squad at the 2017 Confederations Cup that rounded off in early July.

This will be the third club the Small Soppo native is joining in Europe after leaving Olympic Lyonnais to Tottenham Hotspurs in 2015. The attacker’s stay at White Hartlane was brief and later sent to Olympic Marseille.  It is expected the 23-year-old will concentrate on the game to regain his position in the Lions’ den.

 

 

Cameroon ousted from 2017 FIFA Confederation tournament

By Claudia Nsono

The African giant has returned home after suffering a 3-1 lashing from their German super-opponents. The lions of Cameroon whose invincibility has been put to question following their German spanking, finished last in Group B with 1 point and 2 goals. Their group is topped by the World Champions with 7 points. They are closely followed by Chile and Australia with 5 and 3 points respectively.

The last appearance of the lions at the games witnessed a goalless first half. While Germany secured its position at the top of their group, with 3 goals netted during the second half of play, Abubakar Vincent saved the face of Africa, with a header, from Noumi Nicolas Ngalameu’s cross.

Addressing the press in a post-match conference in Russia, head coach of the Indomitable Lions Hugo Broos, expressed frustration at the loss, confessing he has no explanation for what transpired on the pitch. In his words, “first I saw a yellow card, and then it was a red card.” He laughs. “Don’t ask me what really happened. For me, it is something I did not understand. I do not understand for the moment either. So, I have to see again what happened on television then, maybe I can answer the question. But, I think this is something for the referee himself. He alone can explain what happened there because I do not know.”

The Video Assistant Refereeing, VAR, which has been introduced in the competition, has left football fans with diverse views. While some think it has come to wipe out any notions of injustices during tournaments, others have criticized it, saying it makes the game artificial and boring.

The performance of Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions who represented the African Continent at the competition has left Africa with a single point in the tournament. No doubts critics have been quick to question whether they won the Africa Cup of Nations by chance or charms.

Their performance according to some spectators will never get better if “the powers that be do not appease the Foe’s spirit.” Bernard Wodjou stressed that “ever since Foe died, we have never performed well in the Confederations Cup. We are always removed at the early stages.”

As to what could be the problem and way forward, he stated that, “the government promised to complete the stadium Foe had begun constructing before his demise. Until they do this, I am not sure we will ever pass group stages of the Confederations Cup.”

Information not independently verified by The Rambler claims that the government and international bodies have not been able to complete the said project because the  documents of the Sports Complex bear the name of the fallen hero’s father.

It should be recalled that former Indomitable Lions midfielder, Marc Vivien Foe, met his waterloo while playing against Colombia at the Semi Finals of the 2003 at the State de Gerland in Lyon, France. He collapsed in the centre circle and died after a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and oxygen and 45 minutes attempting to restart his heart by medics had proven fruitless.  Autopsy reports concluded that he had died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Foe was posthumously decorated with a commander of National Order of Valour.

Could observers who claim Foe was accompanied to the World beyond with any chances of Cameroon ever clinching the very coveted trophy be right? Only time will tell.