Indomitable Lions: Need For Thorough Restructuring

Africa and the world at large watched a palpitating show of vibrancy by African youths at the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d'Ivoire 2023 that ran from 13 January to 11 February, 2024. Out of the 24 teams on the starting line, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, once respected for their tracks record in football barely qualified for the bonanza. They were hardly able to go past the round of 16 as they bowed to their arch-rival, Nigeria by 0-2 in the knock-out stage of the competition.
Such a poor performance kept many football fans across the country aghast even though they maintained their composure in the face of defeat. Knowing how the youth, in particular and the nation, at large remain connected to their darling football team, President Paul Biya in his Youth Day address on 10 February, 2024 could not be indifferent to the premature exit of the Lions from the 2023 AFCON in Côte d'Ivoire.  “Like me, you were certainly disappointed by the early elimination of our Indomitable Lions from the ongoing Africa Cup Nations in Côte d’Ivoire. I congratulate you for demonstrating dignity in defeat as you have done in victory so many times before,” the Head of State pointed out. An assessment that is carefully loaded, to bring out the pitfalls of the team and even identify some of the consequences had fans of the Lions not opted to remain mature and tolerant. Under certain circumstances, they would have asked for answers from those managing the affairs of the team. Some have even argued that the boys who represented the country in Côte d’Ivoire showed better resolve than those who brought glory to Cameroon in AFCON Gabon 2017.
Many analysts have even ventured to identify conflict of ego, revelling in past glories, self-aggrandisement, bigotry and other vices that characterised the boys in Côte d’Ivoire. They talked of the side-lining of certain outstanding players who qualified the team for the event and the fanciful positioning of some to perform roles that were definitely strange to them. With the level of football that many African nations demonstrated in Côte d’Ivoire, there were no chances for any country that lacked the right coaching abilities and managerial skills. Almost every game played in AFCON Côte d’Ivoire 2023 left many convinced that the notion of football underdogs is fast disappearing from the African Continent. A big lesson from the competition which ended last 11 February is that those who want to perform better next time must make the right decisions now. As for the Indomitable Lions, the ‘resignation and non-resignation’ melodrama which members of the Executive Committee of the Cameroon Football Federation showed in the evaluation meeting in Yaounde on 5 February, 2024 is still to prove its usefulness in salvaging the Indomitable Lions from ...



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