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Can Cameroon’s new FA president get football back on track?

5:48 AM GMT+8 19/12/2018
Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, Yaounde
After being elected Cameroon FA President, the new man must focus on getting the country’s football back on track

COMMENT    By Daniel Ekonde

After being elected Cameroon FA President, Seidou Mbombo Njoya must focus on getting the country’s football back on track.

Before Wednesday’s poll in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s football leadership was being managed by a temporary body set up by Fifa in mid-2017, following the Court of Arbitration’s ruling that year to cancel the presidency of Tombi A Roko Sidiki.

“After five years of crisis, enough is enough,” the new FECAFOOT President told journalists. “We have now to do our best to rebuild and reconstruct our football, to professionalise and change governance.

“Believe me, there’s need to re-evaluate our ethics, which is very important because we have turned our back on ethics for too long.

“This is the time to re-evaluate ethics.”

It’s a rare ray of light for beleaguered Cameroon, who were recently stripped of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after failing to convince Caf of their worthiness as hosts.

However, if there’s one stiff problem the 16th Cameroon FA head will face in the days ahead, it’s how to professionalise the nation’s football.

Already, getting a calendar for national leagues and the Cameroon Cup is a headache.

The league’s management body, Ligue de Football Professionnel du Cameroun, is consistently cash-strapped, a quagmire that has affected clubs’ record in Caf’s continental competitions.

The LFPC seldom follow the calendars of other African leagues, and money is required to ensure a complete overhaul.

The Cameroon Cup may represent a specific sticking point, with the nation’s president — Paul Biya — traditionally presiding over the showpiece in December.

It wouldn’t otherwise be a problem, but as the cup provides one of the country’s representatives for the Confederation Cup, the date must align with Caf’s new calendar.

Mbombo Njoya must also galvanise the various disparate elements of FECAFOOT, with the federation still undermined by internal strife.

“I have to be paternal to all of them because I am ready to work with all of them as the President of FECAFOOT,” he said.

While the new man must effectuate change through these key issues, he’ll be aware that the true success of his tenure may be on whether he can restore pride in the federation after they were stripped of the Afcon.

It’s a decision that will have hit Cameroon hard — even though they were left with a mountain to climb — and Mbombo Nioya must pick them off the floor.