Cameroon, Africa on tenterhooks!

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Cameroon's coach #00 Rigobert Song (right) watches Cameroon's forward #13 Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting during a training session at the Al Sailiya SC site in Doha on November 21, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Cameroon and Switzerland.
 

Photo credit: Issouf Sanogo | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Fans like Musa and Kongnyu are waiting to see Song’s vision and ambition when Vincent Aboubakar and teammates kickstart their campaign.
  • “Besides honouring the nation, a victory at the World Cup will boost Eto’o’s drive to modernise football in the country,” said Musa, who is an admirer of the Cameroonian legend and former captain of the Indomitable Lions.

Ngwayi Jackson Musa, a well-known fashion designer in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde, has said that he will stop work one hour to the kick-off of the Indomitable Lions’ opening match at the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar on Thursday from 1pm Kenyan time.

The enthusiastic fan of the Cameroonian national team said that he does not want to miss a moment of the pre-match frenzy — the commentaries, the line up and the analysis that go with it.

The Indomitable Lions will launch their campaign with a clash against the Red Crosses of Switzerland in Group “G” at 1pm Doha time, similar to Kenyan time, but at 11am in Cameroon.

Musa said that he has informed his clients on changes in delivery schedules because of the crucial game in which has already scented victory for the Lions.

The designer, who is based in Essos  near the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in the Yaounde Five Municipality, is just one of the millions of Cameroon’s fans back home who are ecstatic about watching the team play at the 2022 World Cup after missing out on the previous edition held in Russia in 2018 won by France.

Like Musa, most of the fans in the central Africa nation will watch the match at drinking spots and other entertainment joints — most of which have been given a facelift to attract more clients during the tournament.

“Dispositions have been taken for the customers to feel at home. We have bought new TV sets and we have also added chairs during this period,” a manager of a leisure spot at the Biyem-Assi neigbourhood in the Yaounde Six Municipality told Nation Sport on Tuesday.

At their eighth appearance at the global competition, the Indomitable Lions, who reached the quarter-finals in 1990 and featured in four consecutive World Cup competitions between 1990 and 2002, will also face five-time winners, Brazil and Serbia who participated in the last edition.

With Saudi Arabia's shock victory over Argentina on Tuesday, fans of the five-time African champions are already seeing a similar scenario when Cameroon — the lowest ranked team in the group — faces their opponents.

“Yes, they (Switzerland, Brazil and Serbia) are big teams but in this modern football, we don’t look at that (Fifa rankings). That is a why a team like Saudi Arabia surprised Argentina that is a very big team,” Musa said.

In government offices measures have also been taken to ensure that civil servants feel the football frenzy.

In the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for instance, workers who could not make it to Qatar will be allowed to cheer the national team though while watching the matches on television.

“Workers of the ministry will virtually be present in Qatar because we have taken measures to ensure they all watch the games,” Max Onana, Director of General Affairs in the ministry told the state broadcaster, Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV) on Monday.

At the head office of the country’s Agency for the Promotion of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (APME), in the capital Yaounde, workers are planning to watch the game together at the conference room.

“A screen has been put in the conference room where workers can come there and watch Cameroon’s matches,” said Henry Etta, a senior official of the institution.

Some fans have, however, complained about the high cost of apparel made by American kit manufacturer One All Sports.

The little-known firm specialises in car and motorsport apparel.

The Cameroon Football Federation President, Samuel Eto’o Fils, launched the kit earlier this month.

A pair of jerseys cost US$ 61 (about Sh7,461)  which is expensive for an average Cameroonian.

“They are expensive but we are buying for the love of fatherland…we need to buy so as to show support for the Indomitable Lions,” said Modest Kongnyu, another fan of the team in Yaounde.

However, sellers of the national team merchandise such as Harold, who works at one of the approved sales points in Yaounde, said business has been booming since November 5.

Like the other four African representatives at the World Cup this year, the Cameroon is coached by a local — former captain Rigobert Song Bahanag who played in four World Cups: in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010.

This is the first time a Cameroonian coach is leading the national team to the World Cup.

Fans like Musa and Kongnyu are waiting to see Song’s vision and ambition when Vincent Aboubakar and teammates kickstart their campaign.

“Besides honouring the nation, a victory at the World Cup will boost Eto’o’s drive to modernise football in the country,” said Musa, who is an admirer of the Cameroonian legend and former captain of the Indomitable Lions.

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