National Integration and Unity at the Centre of 34 years of President Biya’s sports development policy.
Take it or drop it. President Paul Biya’s sports development policy since ascension to the helm of state has been a major plus in the nation’s drive for integration and national unity. Sports indeed; emerge as a vector for integration and unity of Cameroonians. With over 250 tribes to show; sports at grassroots, community, regional and national levels has been useful in creating an environment in which Cameroonians from different extractions assemble, celebrate and work towards the same goals, show respect for others and share space and equipment.
The nation’s sports policy facilitates integration and national unity. Only recently, on October 30, 2016, sons and daughters of the nation filed out at the Yaoundé, Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium to commune with the Head of State. The event was the celebration and reward of excellence by sports men and women from varied backgrounds. It was all about the nation’s sports federations showcasing their best talents without any regional or tribal discrimination. National and international victories registered by the Indomitable Lions football team, the Olympic Lions, the female National football team as well as athletes in other sport disciplines have been celebrated by all Cameroonians. The nation’s Sports Icons, Roger Milla, Eto’o Fils, Françoise Mbango, Joseph Bessala etc brought pride and honour to all Cameroonians.
From the look of things; sports inspires team work in Cameroon. Sports strengthen national pride and unity. It has become the common cultural property of all. Sports has been providing a positive identity, not only for Cameroon, but for all citizens. Cameroon’s Sport development policy has been successful in bringing together and fostering social integration.
The role call of sport events that enforces the integration and unity of Cameroonians features; the National school games, FENASCO. A and FENASCO. B, the National games of Cameroon, (DIXIADES), the nation’s challenge cup, the Elite I and II soccer championship, inter quarter and holiday competitions and Keep fit clubs. Virtually all these competitions and events helps matters in the exchange and building of relationships. Such events also emerge as conciliation instruments that encourage understanding and tolerance. Playing and running together on pitches and running tracks helps to transcend class division between the young and old; rich and poor, or between tribes and regions, Anglophones and Francophobe’s. Not even traditional football clubs like PWD Bamenda, Racing Bafoussam, Canon Yaoundé, Dynamo Douala or Victoria United has been able to resist the recruitment of players from other regions in their quest for soccer glory.
That apart, the development of sports infrastructure inspires hope with virtually all regions gaining with the hosing of sport events. Ultra-modern stadia now available in Yaounde, Bafoussam and Limbe to host the 2016 Female AFCON tournament and future continental events feature as veritable instruments to inspire youths of the nation to excel in sports. It is increasingly evident that with sports, the task of building a strong and united Cameroon out of the pluralistic population does not require stupendous efforts. In the short and long of it; unifying Cameroon through a culture of excellence in sports is a simpler and more realistic option.