Deconstructing The Wrong Narrative

Following a sterling match that saw Algeria booted out last Tuesday 29 March, 2022 in Blida after a sensational last-minute goal that took many detractors by storm, draws for the competition were heldss on Friday 1st April, 2022. With Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland as Cameroon`s opponents in Group G of the competition holding from 21 November to 18 December, 2022. Thus, the time to set the records straight by getting into the right frame of mind is now. A similar challenge holds for the other African countries: Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco and Ghana that also qualified for the final phase of the World Cup. In the past, many have seen African countries at the FIFA World Cup as fillers, coming in just to accompany the real football nations. It took the presence of Cameroon in their first World Cup participation in 1982 in Spain to return without a defeat for the world to know that in Africa you have the “men” and the “boys”. Although eliminated at the group stage, the Lions sent home a strong message that Africans can also make it in football. Facing countries like Peru, Poland and Italy, Cameroon left the competition without any defeat.     
In 1990 in Italy when the Indomitable Lions went back to the final phase of the World Cup, it was to tell the same story in grand style. In front of the number one sportsman in the country, President Paul Biya, they beat the title holder, Argentina with their globally acclaimed star-player, Diego Armando Maradona on the pitch. Cameroon went further to thrash Romania (2-1), lost to Russia (0-4), but moved to the round of 16 where they edged Columbia (2-1) only to be stopped in the quarter finals by England (3-2) after a hard struggle in extra-time. Such a fascinating performance gave the Confederation of African Football (CAF) under the guidance of Cameroonian-born Issa Hayatou arguments to press for an increase in the number of African teams in the final phase of the World Cup from three to five. But that cannot be the end of the journey for either Cameroon or other countries from Africa participating at the FIFA World Cup.     
Senegal and Ghana tried after Cameroon but equally ended at the quarter finals. Yet, Africa has also got talents, arguments, and stamina to hold their ground in the face of any other team at the World Cup. Talking about skills, the continent has produced numerous world class players. Africa footballers have made a name in some of the biggest clubs across the globe and they continue to do so. There are also countries in Europe, especially which have been able to succeed at the World Cup level thanks to players of African descent. It is therefore out of place for African players to go to the World Cup for just an Olympic presence. Participation should no longer be the sole objective for any African country. Unfortunately, previous FIFA World Cup competitions have projected Africa more through negative clichés of unpaid match bonuses, lack of training facilities, poor management, arguments over foreign and home-groom coaches and so on. This has often created doubt over the ability of the continent to compete on equal grounds with their counterparts from other continents. 
Cameroon has started setting the records right by providing quality infrastructure on which the national team can train for any international football event. Foresighted resolve by the Head of State to host the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) has resulted in the construction of football stadiums that make the country enviable across the world. As if to show its fans that they are aware of who they are, the Lions reversed a three-goal deficit against Burkina Faso to grasp a bronze medal at the AFCON in Yaounde this year. A similar show of character and strength in Algeria where they turned the tides in the last two minutes of the game scoring less than a minute after the Desert Foxes scored what they thought to be their qualification goal. This sent many sports commentators and football fans into hysteria. Sports reporters from some countries seen as football power houses were caught exclaiming in fright after the Cameroon-Algeria match as if to say; “Watch out, Cameroon is coming again!”     
Those who view Cameroon going to the World Cup with awe and fear certainly have reasons to do so. As five-time African Champions and regular participant at the World Cup, the country of Milla Roger, Samuel Eto`o, Patrick Mboma, the Biyick brothers among others has proven to the world that every team can have a say at the World Cup. However, each time Cameroon makes a breakthrough at the competition, some detractors try to look for subterfuge to paint the victory of the Indomitable Lions black. Yet, football is not about colour, but talents.     
The excitement generated by the spectacular win Cameroon had over Algeria and the mobilisation that the country has around the game are enough justification for the players to aim high at the upcoming World Cup. Officials of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT), beginning with their President ace footballer, Samuel Eto`o Fils and the head coach of the Lions, Rigobert Song, have been raising hope across the country and fans would not expect anything less than full glory at the World Cup in Qatar. Of course, everyone knows that f...



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