AFCON Investment Train Fires On ...

Sports in general and football in particular, both in the turf and boardroom remain a game with labyrinthine uncertainty. Cameroon has faced its fair share of vicissitudes, plucking a huge slice of victories and trophies but also receiving punches, sometimes below the belt. Unlike other nations where the rough and tumble of varying fortunes in sports rock the boat of stability and concord,

Cameroon remains solid and unruffled when such challenges rear their ugly head. President Paul Biya has always been the balm to soothe emotions when by some cruel twist of fate, the going gets rough. Faced with the vicissitudes of evolving fortunes, the Head of State remains the backbone of national resilience. In his address to the nation last Monday night, President Paul Biya took a refreshing distance from the spectre of dramatisation of the recent Confederation of African Football decision to shift Cameroon's organisation of AFCON.

His reading of the CAF decision ineluctably took the path of avoiding distraction and dispersal of energies in sterile debates and litigation. The President was straightforward and precise on the need for all to get down to work more than ever before to attain all the infrastructural objectives associated to our organisation of the African Cup of Nations. «Based on certain information» the President said, the «African Football Confederation decided that the date should be shifted ». Cameroon's response to this decision is today clear and unequivocal:

«We have taken note of the decision» period. The Head of State did not however end there «All investments related to the AFCON» he insisted «Will be carried out». Then came the clarion call for all Cameroonians to remain «mobilised to ensure the eventual construction of all roads, railways, hospitals and sports infrastructures for this major event». The message is clear. As a rallying symbol of a Cameroon, one and indivisible, football in particular and sports in general deserves the appropriate infrastructure in harmony with its weight in the national psyche.

The centre piece of the Head of State's directives for the New Year in that domain is for total mobilisation to attain infrastructural objectives of hosting a Cup of African Nations at a future date at CAF's behest. Cameroon’s reaction to the Confederation of African football decision is firstly to « take note» and secondly geared towards giving the sporting movement the appropriate infrastructure. A carefully crafted value system, a meticulously constructed philosophy of life and a political vision, underlines Cameroon’s response to what in other circumstances and other entities could have been read as an affront to national honour.

Political maturity and the diplomacy of peace remain the arrow head in the mobilisation of diversities, galvanisation of energies to strengthen the constant. It requires the vision of a Statesman of unparalleled wisdom, to stem the tide of emotions away from distractions to a carefully harnessed direction in favour of lasting infrastructure for the good of the game. As a leader in the realm of global football, Cameroon, has contributed enormously to the growth and development of football. Sports historians within and beyond the Continent recognise our nation's prowess in the supply of abundant talents.

Roger Milla and Samuel Eto'o Fils, to name only these, can mount the hall of fame in the game anytime, anywhere. In the boardrooms, Cameroon has provided a colossus in the person of Issa Hayatou at the throne of CAF for decades and temporarily at the helm of FIF A. As birds of identical plumage, Cameroon and global football governing bodies are glued by an umbilical link.

For these al one, our nation requires the accompanying infrastructure to match the abundant human resources of world class. The vision of the Head of State, to eschew squabbles, dramatisation, distraction, and instead mobilise everyone to ensure the construction of all AFCON related infrastructure, is in the supreme interest of the nation. Emmanuel



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