News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo / Monday, 18 November 2013 23:59


Lions TIPTOPSTARS 4No one, except they are mentally deficient, can feed on their vomitus. It is even unimaginable that it could happen. Perhaps, the only such occurrence has been between the Cameroonian senior national football squad and the country’s people. Scores of times, the Indomitable Lions (official name for the team) have been vomited, yet quickly picked up, softly pampered and intimately shown genuine love again. That has been the scenario along the years and this may be timeless.

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At least, within the past few years, it’s been rough, so rough within the den. The cloudy clouds had become so dark that participating in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which Cameroon have not only won several times, but became the first contestant to grab one of the trophies for keeps (this writer has had the opportunity of seeing the said gold trophy which is lying in one of the quiet rooms at the Minister of Sports and Physical Education in Yaounde) was far-fetched. Cameroon had just come back from a disastrous World Cup trip from South Africa to register two straight AFCON misses – Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012 and South Africa in 2013. The pill was too bitter to swallow and so vomiting it was the only other option.

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The build-up to the 2014 World Cup experienced a lot of mixed feelings. And even when Eto’o and co scored some important victories, the Indomitable Lions could hardly be so convincing to their fans. Optimism had regrettably flipped out and many a football lover only resorted to a “well, if they win, they have won, if they don’t, they have not and who really cares” situation. “The Lions have messed up my hopes, so I’m indifferent,” one Cameroonian told this writer recently.

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These recent ugly episodes where victories had no sweet taste any more became uglier with the daggers drawn-like administrative hold-up at the FECAFOOT (Cameroon’s football FA) plus the near muscle-flexing within the Lions’ den that caused a much desired bitterness the team never experienced in the days of yore. And that is just what Cameroon went through.

A recent FIFA suspension did not make things any better. Even when many logically concluded that Cameroon deserved the FIFA sledge hammer, they still wept bitterly back in their aborts. Total confusion had almost, if not set in. The centre, someone simply exclaimed, was not holding any more.

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But once declared a football nation, it shall always be so! Sunday’s trouncing of Tunisia turned the tables like nothing ever did. Granted that the match was capital (the last bend to get to Brazil), the mobilization among Cameroonian was unimaginable. First, countless Cameroonian subscribers on the social network melting point, Facebook were play-by-play/blow-to-blow/minute-by-minute commentators. Perhaps, radio and TV match commentators had little audience. At home or abroad, Facebookers displayed national gadgets, the Green, Red, Yellow flags, the national team jersey, you name them.

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Then came the goals, then came the comments: “Gooaaalllll!”, “Cameroon obosso!”, “Webo don muv shame!”, “Brazil here we come!”. For long, these people have not been noticed in such stupor of joy and excitement. “They so badly needed it this time after being starved so this long,” a Sierra-Leonean admirer of the Cameroonian national football team told this writer as we ‘watched’ the match on Facebook.

How these once more good moments would have been lived in Yaounde where the concert was staged is what everyone can easily  conjecture, but the truth is that those footballers are artists with a difference. When a popular singer is rejected by the public, it may become difficult to re-establish that bond. But a player has the luck of being able to make up for their football sins so rapidly. Webo did!

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For one thing, football and the Indomitable Lions have always been the ultimate passion of the people of Cameroon. It just so happens that the change in information and technology appears to make the rates of passion differ from generation to generation. In 1982 when Dr Abega Theophile, Mbida Arantes, Thomas Nkono, etc carried the aspirations of the entire nation to Spain in theior first World Cup expedition, television had not reached Cameroon. Everyone relied on radio commentaries and so the euphoria could not be that huge.

1990 was different. Milla Roger wrote a new chapter and what we know about it is just it. Even if the successive editions of the World Cup were not eventful enough, Cameroon had at least quelled down World champs, Argentina in the presence of one the most spectacular footballers of all times – Diego Maradona. Then the quarter final status (first by an African team) remains in the books.

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USA in 1994, France in 1998, Japan and South Korea in 2002 and South Africa in 2010 might not have been bright experiences as well, but getting to the final rounds of the World Cup from a country where the local championship is yet to be developed is a plus for Cameroon’s national team. Luckily, the exciting growth of the football industry in Europe has resulted to a comforting exposure of most of the boys who constitute the national team and without any complex, scores of them are reliable professionals. Perhaps, the fact that Cameroon fields in one of the best strikers in the world, at least with the last 10 years, Eto’o makes the story more palatable.
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A few skeptics may start prejudging their performance in Brazil come June 2014, but little did Cameroonians know Maradona was going to be put on his knees on that fateful June 8, 1990. Fewer Cameroonians could imagine the Lions were going to get that far in the tournament. If one has experienced the wonders of ICT in this today’s world, why should one be surprised at any so-called strange happening? The World Cup could be on its way to Cameroon – who knows!

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 00:36

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