Avoid Taking Football Hostage

Football lovers in Cameroon on 2 April, 2024 welcomed news of the appointment of a new coach for the Indomitable Lions. It followed a one-month vacancy after the poor outing by the team at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire from 6 January to 11 February, 2024 made it difficult to allow Song Bahanag and his team to manage the Lions. With the national team absent in March 2024 from the last FIFA window for friendly matches just a few months to a crucial World Cup qualifier in June, it became imperative that something be done to put the Cameroon National football team on the path to victory again.     
Within such a context, and football being a passionate sport that the entire nation finds refuge in, it ought to be a logical position for all and sundry to see the need for cohesion around the Indomitable Lions. But truth has to be told! The statement from the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) signed by its President, Samuel Eto’o Fils declining responsibility over the appointment of a new coach for the Lions has left many perplexed. How comes that unanimity has been difficult to reach in providing a coach for the team, looking at the urgency? Could it be that the need for the national football team to find adequate serenity is not important to all the parties? Are there personal interests that can go beyond the desire for a victorious national football team in Cameroon? The questions are certainly many. It is not surprising that across the board and in different social media handles the debate has been raging about who has the right to do what within the national football team. No one can even dare recommend that anybody should think about disrespecting existing texts, let alone, the laws of the land!     
However, the current situation whereby the major stakeholders are unable to provide clear answers to the direction that the game ought to take even after dismal performances recorded on the pitch, keeps football in an uncomfortable position where ballroom and backstage drama could want to supersede the desire for victories on the turf. Yet, every patriotic Cameroonian is craving for football glory as known in the past. Those following the unfolding saga would quickly say that such arguments have occurred before. Instances of conflicts around the Indomitable Lions, in particular, are uncountable. Visibly, in all of those ploys, players have been the ones paying the price. Football lovers have seen their game trifled with and the results today are clear.  The attractiveness and glory that the nation has received from football has been sacrificed on the altar of bigotry and even egotism.     
It is certainly not a residual issue to recall the position of the Head of State concerning football. In his address to the youth on 10 February, 2024 on eve of the National Youth Day, President Paul Biya stated that: “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 ...



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