On the ground reports from Yaounde in Cameroon is painting a picture of a stalemate between the players of the indomitable lions, current African champions and the administration of football.
As a sign of discipline and preparedness to defend their 2017 exploits, one would expect the champions to be one of the first teams to touch down in Cairo but every indication tells the opposite.
By 10 pm last night when we spoke with correspondents in Yaounde, the team was still in Yaounde because the players are reported to be demanding more competition bonus of about 40 million frs cfa, rejecting what was initially proposed to them as bonus.
The plane is in Yaounde to bring them to Cairo and they'll be travelling in amazing conditions and the only thing we now hope for is that they continue to inspire us like they usually do.
This situation clearly affected the departure to Egypt which was scheduled for earlier on Thursday.
This is not the first time that such pre competition squabbles are associated with Cameroonian football. We do not need to flip many pages to spot one.
Prior to the on going Women’s world cup competition in France, it was reported by local media that the indomitable lionesses almost plunged into a crisis as the players demanded more money for competition bonuses.
One man who lived the darkest moments in the Lion’s den, former captain turned benefactor Samuel Eto’o recently has been a companion of the National teams of Cameroon. It was heralded that he personally paid for team Cameroon’s special AFCON preparations in Doha, and continues to insist all is well with Cameroonian football. He was speaking yesterday in Egypt.
“on the general situation of Cameroon team): “There is no crisis as you are trying to make out. Cameroon will organise its CAN in 2021 and I don’t want to brag but I think it will be the best CAN ever organised.”“The plane is in Yaounde to bring them to Cairo and they’ll be travelling in amazing conditions and the only thing we now hope for is that they continue to inspire us like they usually do.”
While hoping that the team finally leaves Yaounde today June 21st for Egypt, the scene is indicative of the fact that most will not wash their linens in public.
The competition kicks later tonight as host nation Egypt takes on Zimbabwe.
One man to watch out for throughout the competition is Mohamed Salah the reigning African Footballer of the year, Champion of Europe’s trademark club football. Just like most who ply their trade in Europe, the football season is very demanding, coupled with the qualifiers of the AFCON and other international friendlies. There is usually a high risk of burn out at the end of the season and that’s why we are keen on who can possibly suffer.
The following statistics are courtesy of bwin.
Kalilou Koulibaly of Senegal and Napoli has played over 9.500 minutes of football in the last two seasons followed by Mo Salah of Egypt and Liverpool. Sadio Mane of Senegal too is high on the list of possible cracking according to these statistics.
Salah and Mane came close to winning the energy seeping UEFA Champions league last season only losing to Real Madrid but had to undergo the same journey again this season and finally won it and losing the English Premiere League by just a point to Manchester City.
Salah has played 126 matches in all competition between 2017 and 2019 a ratio of more than 1.5 matches per week
To imagine that both Mane and Salah will captain their respective nations in this competition and also lead the attack lines will not dismiss the possibility of a burnout for these two and others.
All of these are statistics and mere statistics, the reality is on the pitch.