FECAFOOT-Sports ministry saga deepens further!.

Coach Marc Brys & Lions at Military Stadium

The fracas between the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT and the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education, MINSEP, has reached the level of kill and take the head.

FECAFOOT president, Samuel Eto’o Fils, and Sports minister, Prof Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, have been on a warpath over the last two months, over the choice of the technical staff of the country’s national football team. 

This at the time the Indomitable Lions are less than a week away from two crucial World Cup qualifying fixtures against Cape Verde and Angola.

Government’s choice of Belgian gaffer, Marc Brys, as head coach of Indomitable Lions, following his appointment on April 2, 2024, by Minister Mouelle Kombi, was initially rejected by FECAFOOT.

The country’s football governing body, however backtracked from its original stance and confirmed Brys as head coach in a decision of its emergency committee of May 8, 2024.

Despite confirming Brys as head coach, FECAFOOT went on to appoint another staff for the national team, different from that appointed by government. 

It meant that the national team had two different staff to coordinate its activities.

The move by the federation was seen by those on the government bench as defiance and open declaration of war with Yaounde. 

The tussle between the country’s FA and the sports ministry has since dragged on, with both parties failing to find a truce.


Clash at Hilton Hotel

There was drama on Sunday June 2, at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel, the venue chosen to lodge the Lions, during camping for the World Cup qualifying matches against Cape Verde and Angola.

Two different technical staff- one appointed by FECAFOOT and the other by government, through the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, showed up to receive the players as they began arriving late Sunday evening.

Benjamin Didier Banlock, the National Team Coordinator appointed by government, was spotted coordinating the activities of the MINSEP-appointed staff.

On the other hand, Bernard Angbwa, named in same capacity by FECAFOOT, led the team from the federation.

Security forces were deployed to handle any eventuality. 

By midnight Sunday, 17 of the 30 players who were expected in camp had arrived and were received by the two opposing camps.

The FECAFOOT appointed staff ended up not having reservations and were forced to leave the facility on the instructions of FECAFOOT president, Samuel Eto’o Fils. 

This, opposed to the MINSEP-appointed staff who stayed back to coordinate the arrival of the players called up for the two crucial World Cup qualifiers in Yaounde and Luanda, Angola.


FECAFOOT withholds kits, bus 

The Indomitable Lions, as per their schedule, were due to hold their first training session yesterday morning at the Yaounde Military Stadium.

However, the training session failed to unfold as was programmed. This was because of the refusal of the football federation to release the team’s bus and training kits.

Coach Marc Brys, the sport ministry-appointed technical staff and the players had a walk around the hotel premises before returning to the hotel.

The training programmed announced for the morning period finally held last evening.

This was after the National Team Coordinator, appointed by government, was able to get kits and hire a bus from a transport agency in Yaounde, to transport the players and staff to the training grounds. 

YOSA’s Nchindo John Bosco & teammates during training at Military Stadium 


FECAFOOT decries intimidation, exclusion

While both parties remain at daggers drawn, the Samuel Eto’o Fils-led administration at Tsinga, has accused government of intimidation and exclusion from the organization of the games against Cape Verde and Angola.

The statement is contained in a released, signed by FECAFOOT Secretary General, Blaise Djounang. It was made public yesterday.

It was made public after an emergency committee meeting of the football governing body.

“FECAFOOT’s Emergency Committee, in its session today at 11 a.m., took note of FECAFOOT’s exclusion from the preparations for the games between the Cameroon national team and those of Cape Verde and Angola, on June 08 and 11, 2024; in Yaounde and Luanda,” reads part of the release.

The FECAFOOT scribe in the release also decried the fact that staff of the federation “have been subjected to intimidation by the massively mobilised forces of law and order, thereby making it impossible for them to carry out the usual welcome ritual”.

The federation is also accusing Lions head coach, Marc Brys, of taking a unilateral decision to reshuffle the staff appointed by FECAFOOT.

“During a meeting convened on 02/06/2024, at the Hilton Hotel, the Head Coach, Mr. Marc Brys, decided to reshuffle the Administrative and Technical Staff appointed by the Executive Committee, the only competent authority in this case,” the FECAFOOT-signed release stated.

On the issue of its staff not having reservations at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel, where the players are lodged, the federation says management of the said facility “rejected the payment agreed upon several days ago for accommodation facilities,”

In the midst of the atmosphere described as chaotic, the federation has stated that it has avoided “being an accomplice to public disorder and to actions that disregard both the recommendations of His Excellency the President of the Republic and the rules and practices governing FIFA competitions”.

Bryan Mbeumo facing the press before start of training

Players sue for peace

The FECAFOOT-sports ministry impasse is seemingly affecting the players.

That is apparently why some of them have been speaking out and expressing the wish for a peace deal to be reached.

One of them, Moumi Ngamaleu, in a message posted on his Instagram account yesterday, appealed to the warring factions to help keep the team politically free and to maintain a clean environment for the players to perform without problems.

“Cameroon and football have gone hand in hand for many years…the game has earned Cameroon global recognition and pride over the years…the national team represents the country in a colorful and joyful way…we, the players, understand the responsibility and honour that come with wearing the green, red and yellow shirt,” Ngamaleu wrote.

He went on to add that: “This responsibility is also for you to help keep the team politically free and to maintain a clean environment for us to perform without problems. We hereby approach you to overcome the differences, put personal ego aside and remember we are all here to put the people of Cameroon on the global map and to give the country honour”.

For his part, Bryan Mbeumo, who spoke to reporters at the Military Stadium before their first training session, said they are determined and remain upbeat.

The Brentford winger said they [players] have a strong mentality and are ready to face Cape Verde and Angola, with the objective to win.




Analysts and observers of the current situation Cameroon football is faced with, have expressed fears of negative outcome, should things remain as they are.

Some have argued that there’s no possibility of organising the matches without the involvement of FECAFOOT. 

In the case of the Cape Verde match, the accreditation of officials, players and staff of the team has to be done by the federation.

They say there is the high risk the game may not be played, if the country’s FA withdraws its participation.

There are also increasing fears that two Lions technical staff, may appear at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, on match day, Saturday; a scenario, they say might likely create an unpleasant scene.

It should be recalled that Cameroon face Cape Verde in Yaounde, on Saturday June 8, before travelling to Luanda, Angola, to confront Angola on June 11.

The two matches count for Days three and four in Group D of the African qualifiers to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Other Group D opponents include Libya, Eswatini and Mauritius.

Cameroon currently tops the group, alongside Cape Verde and Libya with four points each. Cameroon however has a better goal average.  




This story first published in The Guardian Post issue No3131 of Tuesday June 04, 2024


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