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Cameroon crisis deepens, as Eagles September 1 clash looms

 

‘Tana Aiyejina

Internal problems in Cameroon football took a new dimension on Thursday, when armed gendarmes surrounded the headquarters of the country’s football governing body, FECAFOOT.

The latest development is coming following FIFA’s appointment on Wednesday of a Normalisation Committee to run FECAFOOT, in the wake of the imbroglio rocking the body.

“The specified period of time during which the Normalisation Committee shall perform its functions shall expire no later than February 28, 2018,” FIFA stated.

It comes as another big blow to the Indomitable Lions, who play Nigeria’s Super Eagles in a Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header next month.

According to Journalducameroun.com, reasons for the presence of the security forces, who were dressed ready for riots, were not known, observers say it was feared supporters of the FECAFOOT executive could clash with followers of Abdourahman Amadou of Etoile Filante de Garoua FC, who sued for the annulment of the Tombi a Roko-led executive.

FIFA said it set up the Normalisation Committee to run FECAFOOT’s daily affairs, draft new statutes and organise elections for a new executive committee by the end of February.

It said the decision followed “recent failed attempts by FIFA to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”

FIFA briefly suspended Cameroon in 2013 for government interference in FECAFOOT, then also set up a same committee to run its affairs.

But a fiercely contested election in 2015 was then annulled by the Cameroon National Sports and Olympic Committee’s arbitration chamber. The decision sparked a bitter power struggle in FECAFOOT but it was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Despite the off-field problems and a boycott by key players, Cameroon won the African Nations Cup earlier this year, beating Egypt 2-1 in the final.

But they face a tough task in their World Cup qualifying group against bitter rivals Nigeria, Zambia and Algeria.

The Super Eagles lead Group B of the qualifiers after winning their first two games while the Lions drew their two, with the three-time champions holding a four-point lead ahead of the first game in Yaounde on September 1. Only the group winners qualify for Russia next year.

But ex-Enyimba coach Godwin Esu warns Eagles coach Gernot Rohr and his players not to see the crisis in FECAFOOT as an advantage.

“Their coach is still there and the players want to go to the World Cup, so it shouldn’t derail our plans. These problems were there when they won the AFCON and the bulk of those players are still there. We must give our best in both games,” Esu said.

Cameroon are hosts of the 2019 AFCON but the current impasse may boost Morocco’s chances of stepping in as AFCON hosts. The North Africans recently announced they were bidding for the 2026 World Cup but hosting the 2019 AFCON seems more likely, observers say.

-Punch

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Posted by on Aug 27 2017. Filed under Headlines, Soccer, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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