Amidst the corruption scandal that is currently rocking the International Football Federation (FIFA), corruption which has forced its president to resign, The FIFA Women World Cup begins today. The Cameroon women national team is participating to this competition for the first time, despite being a regular fixture in the latter stages of continental competitions in Africa in recent years.
The brave women will be playing along Ecuador, Japan and Switzerland. The team, starting with their coach Mr. Enow Ngachu, is very upbeat about its chances of reaching the 2nd round of the competition. If this happens, the Cameroon Women national team will become the most successful soccer team from Cameroon in the last four years. In a country known around the world for the prowess of its once mighty men national team, this will be extremely shocking, in a positive way.
The once mighty Lions have fallen so hard that they are now minnows in African football. They constantly fail to qualify even for the most insignificant tournaments, and this happens at all levels of competition. The latest slap in the face has been the eliminations of the under-23 team at home to Sierra Leone, a team that had to play both home and away game in Yaoundé, the Capital of Cameroon. Cameroon’s FA is more known for its corrupted practices and mismanagement scandals than the stewardship that once led the men’s team to the top of African football, and parity with the world’s best. Cameroon men’s teams are known for failing to qualify for competitions, and when they manage to qualify, they will exit from competition as quickly as they entered. The heroic efforts of 1990 and the 2000s are now distant memories. This is why the women’s rise to the top is so refreshing and inspiring.
The women have constantly reached the last four in African cup competitions in the last several years. They have done this despite the unbelievable amount of obstacles they face daily. Their local league plays games on dirt fields. The teams have no resources and are constantly slighted by the FECAFOOT authorities. When they play for the national team, bonuses are not always paid as promised. Just a couple of days ago, the team threatened not to take the field for their first World Cup game if their bonus situation was not cleared up.
Despite all these issues, our women national team is upbeat about its chances of reaching the knockout stage of the competition. This feat, if it materializes, will make the ladies the most successful team in Cameroon for past five years. This is why we all ought to rally behind them. As they get ready to play their first game Against Ecuador on Monday (June 8), let us all say “Allez Les Lionnes!”