Francophonie: FECAFOOT surprised at naming of new national team coach 0

Cameroon’s football federation (FECAFOOT) did not know about the appointment of a new national team coach and were surprised by the sports ministry announcement naming Belgian Marc Brys.

Cameroon Sports Minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombi said 61-year-old Brys was taking over as coach of the Indomitable Lions following the dismissal of Rigobert Song in February.

But the federation said on Wednesday it was taken aback by the news, setting up the potential of conflict between the sports ministry and soccer federation which could lead to a ban for one of Africa’s footballing heavyweights.

“The Cameroonian Football Federation has learned, at the same time as all Cameroonians, the appointment to positions of responsibility for the national senior men’s football team. FECAFOOT expresses its great surprise at this act,” the statement said.

“This unilateral decision comes at the same time as FECAFOOT agreed frank cooperation to achieve a beneficial solution for the future of our dear Indomitable Lions.

“FECAFOOT intends to seek an explanation on this regrettable situation,” it added.

Normally, the football federation would appoint and pay its coaches but in some African countries this is done by the government, especially when federations are cash-strapped.

FECAFOOT is headed by former African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o, who had a storied career playing in Europe.

Eto’o has tried to assert some independence but has also had to tread carefully in a country where matters around the football team are high priority for the government.

Long-standing Cameroon president Paul Biya has often weighed in on team affairs, famously demanding that 38-year-old Roger Milla be included in the squad for the 1990 World Cup.

The veteran striker went on to score key goals as Cameroon became the first African country to reach the quarter-finals.

Cameroon have qualified for eight World Cup tournaments, more than any other African country, making the Indomitable Lions one of the country’s major assets.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA has frequently banned countries when governments interfere in the football federation’s affairs. Kenya and Zimbabwe are two African countries who have only recently had such a ban lifted.

The much-anticipated announcement of the new coach was made on Cameroon television on Tuesday.

Brys has coached clubs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia, but this is his first national team appointment.

Source: Reuters