Biya’s decree rehabilitates disgraced Hayatou

A presidential decree on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, appointed former Confederation of african Football, CaF, President Issa Hayatou, as pioneer Chairman of the Board of directors of the National Football academy, ANaFOOT, in what many see as combined consolation and compensation for a job well done as CAF president for 29 years and, disgraceful exit after a hitherto unknown Madagascar senator floored him in an election that gave the latter landslide victory.

Hayatou’s appointment has come barely a few months after he was defeated as CAF president by Ahmad Ahmad from Madagascar, in a landslide victory, ending an era of over 29 years of monopoly and even monotony, spanning 1998-2017. The septuagenarian who doubles as   former FIFA Acting President is to head the organization, supervise young people  in the practice of high level football, impart expertise and  develop football related trades and promote professional football in Cameroon.

Hayatou was appointed alongside Cameroon National Women’s football team cum Colombe Sangmelima coach, Carl Enow Ngachu, as General Manager of the academy. Hayatou however revealed that, his defeat on the race for CAF president by Ahmed Ahmed did not cause any regrets
or pain. He explained that he went in for the race because Cameroon was to host the 2019 CAF competitions and by his reckoning, if he had won the CAF presidency, he would have resigned after the event.

ANAFOOT was created in 2014, by President Biya and has not been operational till the present moment. The current appointees would be the first in this organization. Professional football in Cameroon in recent years has been crippled by Government appointed officials, who have been adept at embezzlement and mismanagement of funds. Young footballers in Cameroon have received little or no support and encouragement.

Players in local football leagues have been left in terrible living styles and playing conditions. While some are hailing Hayatou’s appointment as timely, given his experience as former FECAFOOT president and later CAF president and Acting FIFA President, others are quick to counter
that it is just a confirmation of President Biya’s aversion for the youth. Those bruised by the appointment are hard put to fathom how a man in his seventies will be preferred to much younger technocrats to head an organization whose raison d’etre is rejuvenation of local football in the
country that has been in free fall during the past two decades.

As for Enow Ngachu, many agree that he is a square peg in a square hole; although they are quick to add that in normal circumstance and but for the current agitation by Anglophones for fairness and equity, he would have been relegated to the deputy position always reserved for Anglophones. They see the current face-off between Government and Anglophones as the joker of his appointment. His sterling qualities as award winning coach is certainly what has endeared him to the minds of football lovers in Cameroon, thereby compromising the usual second class positions often reserved for people from his cultural extraction.

Molyko Stadium may ‘lie fallow’ until 2019

The new look Molyko “Omnisport” stadium hosted its first southwest division two Championship games since its refurbishment in 2016 on   sunday, May 28, 2017 putting paid to speculations that the edifice was just an ornament meant to embellish Buea Municipality.

The narrative that had gained currency within Government circles was that the refurbished stadia will be accessed by local teams only after the 2019 AFCON games to be hosted by Cameroon. This, by their reckoning, is because they are to serve as training grounds for teams that will eventually qualify for the final stage of the competition. The first match pitted Catholic University Sports Academy against Dynamic Football
Club and ended in a 2-0 score in favour of the former. Later in the day, legendary Prisons FC lost 1-3 to visiting Maumu Youths. The two games were part of Day Two of the Southwest Regional league and pulled crowds from Buea and its environs; with families at the stands watching the games, something hitherto unknown in playgrounds West of the Mungo.

This is coming at a time when coaches and players, surprisingly, complain about the poor state of pitches on which they play games, which have negative bearing on their performances. According to them, they ought to have been granted unlimited access to the two renovated stadia in Buea; Buea Town and Molyko arenas. The Secretary General of FECAFOOT Southwest, Mayebi John, in an interview said the pitches cannot be used fully till the end of the 2019 AFCON. “We cannot sacrifice these pitches for now, till after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. For now, we are just negotiating with the Stadium Director, to use the fields,” he held.

By implication, teams hosting matches of the Southwest League in Buea don’t have guaranteed access to the refurbished sports grounds. It is noteworthy that Southwest Division two teams in Limbe have been playing matches at the Middle Farms Stadium. The irritating point with regard to the use of these stadia is the fact that Limbe teams enjoy unfettered access into the Middle Farms stadium while Buea teams are condemned to the whims of the stadium Director who has to be begged before the Molyko facility is opened.

It is this discrepancy in according access to stadia built at the same time and for the same purpose that many in Buea have perceived as injustice being perpetrated by some highly placed Government functionaries who think that they own the Region.