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Military, Not Indomitable Lions Parade AFCON Trophy 

By Joe Dinga Pefok                            

The Indomitable Lions, who had toiled to bring home the popular African Cup of Nations, AFCON, were not there. Their head coach, Hugo Broos, who had finally cut his teeth in Cameroon, wasn’t there too. And so it turned out that the rapture that could have escorted the trophy as it travelled across the regions in a military jeep instead became disenchantment.

Why Government waited for the Lions to depart for their various foreign clubs to present the trophy in some regions is simply mind-boggling. Most of them are expected back in the country in May for holidays. 

How thrilling it would have been for Fai Collins who hails from the Northwest Region to carry the 2017 AFCON trophy to Bamenda on February 22!

What a day it would have been in Buea on February 24 if Clinton Njie and Robert Ndip Tambe, both of whom hail from the Southwest Region, taken the trophy to the town!

Even Ndip Tambe arrived in the country only on the eve of the event following intense pressure from Cameroon’s sports authorities. 

How titillating it would have been had goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa appeared in Bamenda as some students interviewed by CRTV stated that they came out with the hope to see the Lions, especially the goalie.

For Clinton Njie, it was a dream impossible as his French club had a crucial league match.  

Disenchanted indeed were the Lions’ fans when in the siren-filled convoy they sighted only serious-looking gendarmes and Governors, SDOs and CPDM elite who stole the show.

In Douala on Thursday, February 23, the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Ismael Bidoung Mkpatt, and other Government officials seemed to replace the sons of the soil like Captain Benjamin Moukandjo and Christian Bassogog.

Many Lions’ fans in Douala who expected Moukandjo and Bassogog to bring the trophy to the city were devastated when not a single contemporary Lion was insight. Rather, it was a former player of the national team, Alphonse Tchami, who bore the AFCON trophy in the tour of Douala.

In the different parts of Douala, whenever the military jeep transporting Tchami and the trophy drove past, the excited population could be seen scrambling to see their heroes whom they thought were in the trailing jeeps. But as the military jeeps rolled along, disappointment would descend on the population as they realised that the players were not in the vehicles.

More so, the seven local commissions that were set up by the local administration led by the Littoral Governor to preparer for the event, in their public mobilisation strategy had repeatedly announced that the Indomitable Lions were coming to present the 2017 AFCON trophy they won in Gabon on February 5.

The Gombo Palava

Meanwhile over the weekend, journalists in Douala who had been accredited by the Littoral Regional Delegation of Communication to cover the presentation of the AFCON trophy threatened to storm the Governor’s Office at Bonanjo if the Littoral Governor, Samuel Dieudonné Ivaha Diboua, did not release their ‘gombo’.

The reporters said after the accreditation, one of the Governor’s collaborators collected the list for treatment.   

But the reporters fumed that as by Friday February 24, the Governor’s collaborator claimed that he was still waiting for the Governor to demand for the list. 

The irate reporters vowed that neither the Governor nor his collaborator would succeed in fooling them, and that they must get their own share of the FCFA 50 million ‘Government allocated for the Douala event.’

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