Article written

  • on 12.06.2014
  • at 02:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Cameroon, Where Poor Infrastructure Doesn’t Dim Love for Football 0

Yaounde – It is almost 6pm. A group of kids are plying their craft in a dusty, dirty courtyard in a poor neighbourhood in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital. That craft is football.  They kick the once-white-but-now-brown, aged football around. One child is barefoot, the other wears worn shoes and is dressed in the kit of the national team.

“I want to play like [Lionel] Messi,” one of kids called Jack tells IPS as his voice rises above the rest of the excited crowd. “I am Eto’o…I am Ronaldo…Pepe…Rooney…,” the kids start shouting, each one of them giving the name of his dream football star.

Samuel Eto’o is Cameroon’s football star, he plays forward for English club Chelsea, and will be leading the national team, known worldwide as the Indomitable Lions, in this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Cristiano Ronaldo, is the famous Portuguese footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid, and Pepe is the nickname for his fellow club member, Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira. Wayne Rooney is an English football star who punters predict will take the upcoming football world cup by storm.

With just a day to go before the proposed start of the world cup from the Jun. 12 – Jul. 13, Brazilians have begun protests and strikes in demand of higher wages. There have been numerous reports of corruption and rights violations during the public works to prepare for the event.

But here in this Central African nation, the kids are oblivious to this and have big dreams and big ambitions. And this reflects the deeper passions that drive football in Cameroon — a country that will be participating in this year’s World Cup for a record seven times — more than any other African team.

Football is more than just a game here “it is a religion,” sports journalist Fon Echeckiye tells IPS.

Cameroon for all its football glory has only two standard football stadiums, one in Yaounde and the other in Garoua in the country’s Far North Region. Despite the poor infrastructure here, the love for football runs really deep in Cameroon.

According to the African Economic Outlook, although Cameroon has abundant natural resources “revenues obtained from the exploitation of these resources, and from oil in particular, have not been sufficiently channelled into structural investments in infrastructure and the productive sectors.”

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By Ngala Killian ChimtomIps Africa 

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