Falcons Win Cup, Lionesses Win Hearts

President Paul Biya last Saturday chaired the final of the 10th Women African Cup of Nations, handing over the cup to Nigeria, surprise winners over Cameroon.


At the launch of the IOth Woman AFCON last November 19, there was every indication that from the level of engagement, Cameroon was set on the right path to winning the cup this year. And this from a multiple point of view stretching from the physical form of the players, adaptability to training exigencies, the full mobilization and participation of football lovers across Cameroon and the huge investments made in the sector through the construction and equipment of new world-class football stadiums and other facilities.

And in our write-up in our Monday, November 21 about the opening ceremony of the tournament, we even dared to predict a winning posture for the Indomitable Lionesses. We were eventually not proven wrong as the team made its way through without a defeat, not to talk of a draw with any other team and without conceding a goal. So when the final began yesterday before a sell-out crowd at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium and with the Presidential couple well seated  on the front roll of the presidential tribune, many Cameroonians mistakenly believed that the countdown to formally carrying the cup had began in earnest.

With the enthusiasm the tournament had garnered, organizers preferred invitations to bought tickets so as to limit the number of teeming spectators at each game since the event began. But even then, there were so many people eagerly struggling to enter the stadium and only large-size viewing screens did the trick. Spectators had also expected to set an eye on the Presidential couple who have been regularly following up matches from their home; Moreover, President Paul Biya is on record for the ongoing massive transformation of the football landscape in the courage through the construction of stadiums, some of which have been delivered for the organization of the just-ended AFCON and which will see the construction of many more in preparation for the 2019 Men’s ACON expected to be organized in Cameroon.

And the huge popular support of the President is obviously in gratitude for this policy. The 85th minute Nigerian goal came like tragedy striking at the most unexpected moment and many Cameroonians on the pitch felt like the sky was coming down on them. Winning, for them, seemed to be a must and simply a kind of return on all the investments in money, stadiums, equipment and popular mobilization Cameroon has been going through in the preparatory phase of the AFCON. For the first time in more than two weeks, there was calm, absolute calm in the stadium with a few Nigerians jubilating after the goal, not able to make any distinctive sounds as have been heard in the teeming and festive stadium ever since AFCON began.

And when some eight minutes later, the Togolese referee of the game pronounced the game over, the 40, 000 stunned spectators remained quietly seated seeming in no hurry to leave; of course taking time to come to terms with the shock of no...



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