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Selfless Stardom

The love of one’s country is an ingredient of good citizenship expected of all compatriots in all professions.

Football, a team sport that in recent decades has become lucrative business is one of these professions whose practitioners enjoy not only the popularity it offers, but also the material gains and above all, the honour a country enjoys when sportsmen through brilliant performances are a source of pride.

This honour, pride and joy ushered in by good performances and victory can only be dreamt of if those charged with defending our national colours are patriotic enough to be selflessly committed to whatever is done in the interest of  ompatriots.

Fortunately, governments aware of this, and sacrifice to motivate in kind and cash football players and other individual and collective team sportsmen. This includes the creation of Ministries of Sports and Federations to handle the various sporting

disciplines, and the provision of sporting incentives which range from warm up matches and perdiems to special bonuses for participation at international encounters such as the ongoing World Cup jamboree in Brazil. What an  opportunity for actors on the soccer scene to appreciate through a high sense commitment to all that which brings honour to a country through brilliant

performance and victory! What a challenge to be humble and selflessly committed to national objectives! Regrettably, and indeed shocking is the scenario effected by our national team, the Indomitable Lions in their encounters with Mexico and  Croatia in Brazil. Yet, the team is strong and can do a lot more than what has been happening in recent years and worst, Wednesday evening, 18 June 2014.

After the unpleasant surprise of 2010 in South Africa, and the incidental  qualification for Brazil this year, supporters of this great Africa soccer team thought they would rekindle the smiles and pride the Lions brought Cameroon and the rest of Africa in 1990. But once again, there has been more of shock absorbing than joy that comes from seeing things done rightly by patriotic citizens, aware of what is at stake in an event. The Lions can perform better than what they have already done in Brazil. Why not? Government did its part to offer what could serve

as incentives for the team. Fellow Cameroonians decided to walk to the Nsimalen International airport in support of the Lions performance and victory,and took the pains to fulfil their pledge in the absence of those for whom the gesture was meant. But that was a dainty dish for guests who for selfish reasons could not be present at table with their host.

The Lion’s quest for more incentives regrettably did not only cost them the loss of compatriots’ goodwill, prayers, and support, but also their late arrival in Victoria, Brazil in respect of the deadline for participating teams. What a miscarriage of

professional priorities! Inadmissible! The unpatriotic start in Yaounde, many Cameroonians have observed, and even remarked was indeed a misdeed. If the national team won any game in Brazil they would be surprised owing to the team captain’s failure to personally receive the national colours the team was going to defend in Brazil. What reason could be given for this oversight?

While many of us do not know why such a thing would happen on the eve of a departure for an event like the ongoing World Cup tournament in Brazil; others and perhaps the majority would attribute it to unpatriotic complexities of stardom.

This undermines the ingredients of patriotism which are more important than material gains. We regret the catastrophic performance of the Lions in their  matches with the Croatian and Mexican teams, but hope that they can redress the

disturbing scenario by learning to play like a team that is out to win. This can be hoped for in their last encounter with Brazil on Monday 23rd June. The team can at least prove that the impossible is not Cameroonian, if at all we defend this adage.

The good memories of 1990 in Italy can be rekindled through determination to size up what went wrong, and the challenges we all face to see that not only the national team, (the Indomitable Lions) is patriotic enough to be selflessly committed to good performances, and victory, but also the Cameroon Football Association (FECAFOOT) the Ministry of Sports and Physical Education and other institutions expected to encourage and coordinate sporting activities that yield good results and bring honour to the country.

We face the challenge of going beyond mere participation as far as these World Cup Football finals are concerned.

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