Eto'o, Song : The Challenge To Give Back

After much wait and uncertainty, the national football championship finally took off to a good start under the Samuel Eto’o Fils era as the ace striker clocks his third month as President of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT). He was elected on 11 December, 2021. Same as his ascension to the post of FECAFOOT president started as rumour, then became a fact, so also was the choice of another football icon, Rigobert Song Bahanag as head coach of the Indomitable Lions. Song`s position will tomorrow March 25 sound a veritable bell in the minds of many with his first match in the Wold Cup 2022 last qualifying round against the Desert Foxes (or FENNECS in French) of Algeria. Song was appointed on 28 February, 2022 on the esteemed instructions of the President of the Republic and the decision was made public by the Minister of Sports and Physical Education.     
Kick-off of the much-awaited championship was given on 16 March, 2022 in Mbouda during the match between PWD Bamenda and Bamboutous of Mbouda. Yesterday 23 March, 2022, was the second playing day, coming just a day before the clash between the Indomitable Lions and the Desert Foxes tomorrow 25 and 29 March in Japoma, Douala and in Blida, Algeria respectively. Both Eto`o and Song know how much Cameroonians love their football. They also know what football has given them in terms of achievements. Their creed seems to be that other young Cameroonians and football fans, in general, get the same glory which they had as players. And therein lies the challenge. It can be said that they asked for it and maybe destiny placed it in their hands. Now Cameroonians are waiting to see them deliver the goods. 
While as professional players they may secretly know on which levers to act in order to produce the results millions of football fans in Cameroon and beyond look forward to will certainly be keen to see how Song and Eto`o go about managing their stardom and delivering good results as football managers. As a people, Cameroonians have demonstrated in the past that talents do exist and also that overcoming hurdles is never an issue. A recent litmus test was the uncertainty that shrouded the just-ended Africa Cup of Nations christened AFCON TotalEnergies Cameroon 2021 which took place from 9 January to 6 February, 2022. All the fears before the competition are now history.     
African youth had the golden opportunity to demonstrate their talents thanks to unflinching resolve from the government and people of Cameroon. International recognition which the event brought to the country will now be expected to match the additional grandeur that the country will give to the local football league. Even the winning prowess hitherto linked to the Indomitable Lions should continue with the national football team qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. 
Obtaining qualification for the upcoming World Cup and ensuring an effective organisation of the Elite One Championship are just a few indicators of the return to normalcy within the circles of the darling sports in the country. 
A number of clichés exist to demonstrate why football conquest in the country can once more reach international standards even at club levels. Going by the promises made and the excitement that came with the changes at FECAFOOT and the Indomitable Lions, organisational setbacks and off-the-pitch battles that have bedevilled football ought to be banished by the actors. For the past decades, football has been such slippery ground that even the most erudite legal minds in the country easily stumbled in the face of   kickbacks and other pecuniary trappings. Putting financial gains first is always myopic because money tends to lose value over time and that explains why no amount of salary can ever be enough. 
Years of trying to introduce professional football in Cameroon have been wasted because each time efforts have been ridiculed by selfish interest and get-rich-quick syndrome. With all the feel-good effects that those in charge today seem to enjoy across a section of the population, the least one would expect is a football championship capable of eventually producing the  likes of  football clubs as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, FC Bayern Munich and so on. This also means nurturing talents in the image of the Eto`o Fils, Milla Roger, Song Bahanag, Lionel Messi, Kilian Mbappe, Christian Ronaldo, etc. But did I hear you say having such quality football clubs in Africa is a pipe dream? And so what is wrong having a good dream? Cameroonian youth at least deserve it. The country now has the infrastructure that they need. Consequently, the time to bring back the country`s football glory is now or never.  



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