AT the Brazil 2014 World Cup shorn of African heroics so far, with the singular exception of Ivory Coast, Cameroon went down fighting on Wednesday, but unfortunately, among themselves!
Candid Comment with Kevin Mapasure
After hitting the headlines on the eve of football’s global super show for staging an industrial action over bonuses for their participation, the West Africans hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons yet again.
This time it was violence and unmitigated failure in an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Croatia.
All this coming after the team threatened to boycott the tournament and kicking up a mighty fuss over bonuses by rejecting an offer of US$103 000 per player.
In a tournament that promises to be the most exciting in its long history, it is unfortunately African teams that have put a damper on proceedings.
After kicking off to an avalanche of goals averaging three per match, Nigeria were involved in the first scoreless match — against Iran, of all teams, which offered little excitement easily ranking as the worst so far.
Nigeria still have a chance to qualify depending on how they play against Bosnia Herzegovina and group favourites Argentina, but the task could not be more daunting.
Ivory Coast, as most would have expected, showed conviction in their first match to come back from a goal down to beat Japan while Ghana suffered at the hands of the US ahead of their next assignment against the intimidating and swaggering Germans.
Algeria came close to providing a big shock, but still lost 1-2 to Belgium.
The supposedly Indomitable Lions have been a poor imitation of the class of 1990 led by the dancing Roger Miller. After failing with the ball, Alex Song and Benoit Assou-Ekotto resorted to behaviour which would be deemed too violent in a boxing ring — and maybe has a place in mixed martial arts.
Ekotto’s head-butting of teammate Benjamin Moukandjo was most astonishing. Even coach Volker Finke found the player’s behavour incredible.
“It’s clear we have to find the reasons what’s going on because such behaviour is really disgusting, it won’t do, it’s impossible,” Finke said.
As former Tottenham coach, Harry Redknapp, once said: “Benoit is a strange boy. He’s a bit highly strung and hardly speaks English … That’s how he is … He’s unreal.”
Song’s back-elbowing of Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic was just as shocking. This is the same player banned for 18 months from the side after a bust-up with star striker Samuel Eto’o at the 2010 finals where they lost all three group games.
Cameroon became the first side to lose six consecutive World Cup games; even Iran has so far performed better than the now toothless Lions despite an array of talent with players plying their club trade at some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Tragically, instead of knuckling down for redemption at the 2014 showcase after the debacle of 2010, the players saw this as another opportunity for enrichment, thus losing the plot altogether.
Cameroon’s opprobrious ways are nothing new to the continent. In 2006, Togo threatened a World Cup boycott over money issues. Disgraceful!