Thursday, 10 August 2017

Fifa Change Gears To Fix Problems In Cameroon

Ignoring the festering sore and pretending there were no problems within Cameroonian football was like sticking your head in the sand and believing the country’s football problems would disappear.

These are the painful views of respected former Cameroon international goalkeeper Joseph Antoine Bell, who was reacting to the decision by Fifa to bring forward a reconciliation meeting to July 10 in neighbouring Guinea in an attempt to resolve the problems within the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT).

Cameroon was banned from all football activities during 2013 and a Normalisation Committee led by former Minister Joseph Owona was established to bring sanity within the country following various complaints filed about the state of the game in Yaoundé.

Tombi A Roko Sidiki won the hotly disputed elections, which the Conciliation and Arbitration Chamber of the National Olympic and Sports Committee of Cameroon refused to endorse, and in fact, declared them null and void.

“You see, the problem is that the present executive committee is occupying that office illegally,” charged Antoine Bell. “But instead of applying their minds and ruling in a manner that can be deemed fair to all parties, people are taking sides,” in an apparent reference to the country’s leaders who are accused of protecting Sidiki.

This week Fifa, who had previously ignored the situation in Cameroon, claimed they would send another “fact finding mission” to Yaoundé in August, an indication the world controlling body appears to have finally accepted that there are indeed serious problems within Cameroon football.

Cameroon football stakeholders tried unsuccessfully to lobby Fifa to kick out their national team from participating in the Confederation Cup in Russia as the world controlling body endorsed the sitting committee led by Sidiki.
Fifa Change Gears To Fix Problems In Cameroon
In March, the Association of Amateur Football Clubs in Cameroon were notified that Veron Mosengo-Omba, Fifa’s director of African and Caribbean Member Associations, would be discussing the issue with FECAFOOT.

His visit was due to take place only in August, having been postponed from June, but in a letter to stakeholders dated June 23, 2017, Veron Mosongo-Omba confirmed the date had been brought forward to July 10.

“It is important to stress that Fifa has the obligation to promote amicable relations within member associations,” he wrote.

“Fifa considers its role to settle internal disputes capable of jeopardising the interest of football in line with its statutory tasks and autonomy of member associations.”

But it seems like Fifa seems to have woken up to the fact that the next Caf African Cup of Nations tournament will be staged in Cameroon and the simmering discontent within the country could result in the flagship tournament being disrupted.

It also seems like the newly elected Caf executive committee led by Ahmad Ahmad missed a great opportunity to tackle the dispute, perhaps for fear of trampling on the toes of grumpy former president Issa Hayatou, who has retired to his farm in rural Garoua.

Although beaten, deposed and now powerless, Hayatou is said to be still holding massive influence and fearing political pressure in Cameroon, Fifa has chosen Guinea as the venue to settle the dispute and, hopefully, to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Fifa Change Gears To Fix Problems In Cameroon

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