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Semengue Says Indomitable Lions No Longer Play Cameroonian Football 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

Admits There Is No Professional Club In Cameroon’s Professional League

Gen. Pierre Semengue

The President of Cameroon’s Professional Football League, PFL, Rtd General Pierre Semengue, has admitted that there is currently no professional football club in the league.

“Not even Cotton Sport of Garoua meets the requirements for it to be classified as a professional club,” he averred.

Gen Semengue was speaking at the Plenary Session of Cameroon’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Crafts which held in Douala on December 15, 2016.

He attended the session to sensitise the 200 economic operators who were in attendance, on a package of projects and programmes that have been designed by his team and supported by Government, aimed at professionalising Cameroon football.

It is designed to start with the professionalisation of clubs in the PFL, during Semengue’s new four-year mandate as President of the League.

25 Sports Complexes

Semengue presented his package of a total of seven project s and programmes with an estimated budget of FCFA 250 billion.

He announced that the Professional Football League will raise the number of clubs in the Premier League from the current 16 to 20 clubs.

He stressed that the major problem with the ambitious plan to professionalise Cameroon football is that the PFL as well as the clubs lack the finances to set up the needed infrastructure, buy the necessary equipment and, of course, provide a descent monthly salary and other benefits to the players.

He said the 25 earmarked sports complexes will be constructed with local labour.

Semengue explained that the objective of the project is not only to have a football field, but rather to provide Cameroonian youths in the different localities with sports complexes, where they can freely practise the sporting disciplines they like.

The PFL President emphasised the fact that one of the major requirements for a football club to go professional, is that the club should have a good stadium at home.

But he observed that in Cameroon today, only clubs in Yaounde, Limbe, Bafoussam, Garoua and Douala play on good football pitches.

Bamenda, Buea and Kumbo are among the localities that have been selected to benefit from the project to construct 25 sports complexes in the country.

Another key project in the package is that the management of the PFL will take appropriate measures to see that real sports medical doctors are available in the country.

Semengue said the Professional League wants to have in the country a situation whereby if a player has a fracture or sustains any other injury, the right medical expert should be available to attend to him.

500 Million FCFA Annual Subvention

A key programme in Semengue’s package is the provision of substantial sums of money as subventions to clubs in the Professional Football League.

General Semengue said the plan is that each club in the Premier League will receive an annual subvention of FCFA 500 million, while each club in the Second Division League run by the PFL will receive an annual subvention of FCFA 300 million.

He explained that the principal goal here is to enable the clubs to give their players descent monthly salaries and other financial benefits.

Semengue lamented that young Cameroonian football players have in the last decades been fleeing the country to seek greener pastures, especially in Europe and Asia.

He explained that the objective of the PFL is not to completely stop Cameroonian players from going, a situation where, if a player has to go out, he should have been mature in football, and it should be clear where he is going to, and what he will get.

Semengue explained that one of the reasons for trying to hold back young Cameroonian football players at home is an effort to revamp Cameroon football, which is almost dead today. He lamented that the Indomitable Lions, with all the professionals, no longer win.

Semengue attributed to the victories by the Indomitable Lions of yesteryears to the fact that the bulk of the players were home-based and thus were playing Cameroonian football.

Incentives To Enterprises

The PFL President told the economic operators that the League needs funds to realise the ambitious programme.

He disclosed that he has finally struck a deal with Government after two years of negations which provides incentives to companies that donate funds to the PFL, which has also been adopted by Parliament.

A financial expert brought along by Semengue explained the deal, saying that, in reality, an enterprise that donates to the PFL will lose nothing, as in return, the State will reduces its taxes to exactly the amount that was donated to the Professional League.