Test of Collective Resolve

Cameroonians and Africa yesterday 9 January, 2022 vibrated to the rhythm of football. It was the opening games of the 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) holding in the country up to 6 February, 2022. An event which the country is hosting after a long struggle, which raised doubts, fears, scepticism and all the mixed feelings that such an event of deep anxiety brings about. A grandiose opening ceremony and beautiful football spectacle that the Cameroon versus Burkina Faso opener produced, accompanied by a similar excitement generated by the Ethiopia versus Cape Verde game later in the evening, all point to one month of intense football Africans will serve to the world.  
If Cameroonians in particular had doubts about the football bonanza ever taking place in the country, it was because they have won all five continental football trophies out of their country and yesterday`s event came 50 years after a similar competition in 1972. In addition, after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) accepted in 2014 in Addis Ababa to give the hosting rights to Cameroon, the country still had a long way to go in terms of infrastructure. A later decision by CAF to raise the number of teams to 24 led to further scare about the ability of Cameroon to organise an event of such great magnitude. But, this criticism was already being countered by certain realities in the country. Cameroon had in 2016 offered quality play grounds for the Female AFCON.    
Even the successes recorded by the female AFCON still left some persons in the country and beyond still doubting Cameroon`s ability. They were almost proven right when CAF shifted AFCON to 2021 and gave Egypt the hosting right for 2019. In the midst of all the hesitation, President Paul Biya kept reassuring all and sundry about the ability of Cameroonian to live up to expectations. Those who wanted to see before believing had the response yesterday. Even fears about vaccination were relegated to the background yesterday as spectators who were all fully vaccinated against the Coronavirus trouped into the ultra-modern Olembe stadium as early as 10 A.M. local time. While the magnificent Stadium which some shed of opinion in the country is clamouring that it should be named after President Paul Biya, certainly had a preponderant place in justifying the massive presence of football fans coupled with their love for the game.    
The heavy presence of fan clubs from 24 participating countries at the tournament points to the determination of Africans to defy those who spent time running down the African football fiesta as less important. Having to bring on board youths from across the continent to sho...



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