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International Football

It Is Do-or-Die against Super Eagles, Boasts Cameroon’s Bassogog

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

 

Youthful Chinese Super League player, Christian Bassogog is the player Cameroon have saddled goal scoring task to as the Indomitable Lions face the Super Eagles on Friday in the first leg of the back-to-back World Cup qualification fixtures.

The 21-year old Bassogog of China based Henan Jianye appears to be up to the task as he has started talking tough.

The player who was named best player at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations is not a stranger to the Super Eagles.

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Apart from the possibility of having crossed path with the nearly half a dozen of Nigerian players in the Chinese League, he was in the Cameroon squad beaten 3-0 by the Super Eagles in 2015 in a friendly match played at Vise in Belgium, the home country of Hugo Broos, the current Coach of Cameroon.

According to information gathered from FIFA, Bassogog is “arguably the fastest player in the entire Indomitable Lions squad”.

He made his debut for Cameroon last November in the 1-1 home draw with Zambia in a World Cup qualifier.

Although he has chalked up a little over 14 international caps, he has scored just twice one of which was the goal that virtually sent Ghana out of the race for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Bassogog put into effective use, his swiftness which can be likened to that of Nigeria’s former international, the inimitable Segun Odegbami, as he paced past Ghanaians defenders to put score lines at 2-0 in the semi final clash of Africa’s premier competition. In the Chinese Super League, Bassogog has reportedly scored seven goals.

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“I am not sure just how fast I am,” the former Wilmington Hammerheads winger told FIFA.com. “I have never tested my speed by running a 100-metre sprint. But I know my pace is my top strength.”

He told FIFA.com that the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year was a learning curve for him. “It was a great experience for me,” he said. “It was my first major competition with the national team. In the first game against Burkina Faso, I tried to play well but I missed a glorious chance.

“I was glad to open my account against Ghana and help my team to the final. And we won it.”

He continued that featuring in the FIFA Confederations Cup has added to his experience. He is aware of the importance of the back-to-back fixtures with Nigeria in the next few days.

That explains the over reliance on speedy Bassogog to unsettle the Nigerian defence when the two teams meet in Uyo. But Bassogog downplayed his individual skill, pointing out that the unified spirit in the Cameroon camp will see the team through in the Uyo battle if Cameroon will have any realistic chance of making it to Russia 2018.

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.  “Nigeria are a strong team,” he told FIFA.com.  “They have very good players and many of them are playing in Europe. But we must defeat them if we are to maintain our qualifying hopes. We should take the game to them. We need to fight to defeat them.

“Our players are young, but we are strong as a team,” he said of Cameroon’s progress under Belgian coach Hugo Broos. “He is a good coach. He knows what the players are good at so he can get the best out of us. In this team, everyone has his chance.”

Having said that, Bassogog is all too aware what responsibility he shoulders.

“These are matches I want to win,” he said. “We are not in an ideal position but these are qualifying games for the World Cup. I will do my utmost to help our team.

“When I was young, I liked watching Eto’o. I watched carefully how he went forward and how he scored. He could always score some unexpected goals in amazing fashions. For a long time, I had thought of becoming a player like him.”

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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International Football

New twist in Cameroon football coach crisis

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA

The coaching crisis in Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions has taken a new dimension as the football federation, FECAFOOT, led by former international, Samuel Eto’o goes in direct confrontation with the coaching crew appointed by the sports ministry which also picks the bills.

  According to a Cameroon official who will not like to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, the claims and counter claims of both the sports ministry and the FECAFOOT led by Eto’o had been heard and decided by the conciliation and arbitration chamber of the Cameroonian national Olympic committee, which is a court in charge of sports cases in Cameroon.

  “What is in contention is not the position of the Belgian coach, Marcc Brys, but that of the Cameroonian assistants attached to him.”

  The source explained to Sports Village Square that although the employment of Brys by the sports ministry was initially contested by Eto’o, the former player has come to accept the situation.

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  “In Cameroon, there is always a techenical crew of nine to 11. The foreign coach is allowed to bring in two foreign assistants, while the others are always Cameroonians.

  In this case, the sports ministry approved the list of two foreign assistants by Brys while also announcing another set of local assistants that included former international, François Omam-Biyik, one of the stars of Italia ‘90  and the scorer of the goal that gave Cameroon a 1-0 win over a Diego Maradona-inspired  Argentina.

  “That is where the problem is. FECAFOOT also submitted a list of technical crew that included Brys and his two foreign assistants but dropped the names of the local assistants with new ones.”

  In essence, there are two lists with both having three names as same, but differ on the rest.

 According to the source, the list submitted by the sports ministry was upheld by the tribunal which threw aside that of FECAFOOT.

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  In another twist, FIFA has already removed the name of Marc Brys from the profile of Cameroon on its website. Only the name of national women’s coach, Jean-Baptiste Bisseck is listed.

The removal of Brys’ name is happening a second time as it was first removed at the end of last month before being reinstated.

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Cameroon’s appointment of Brys as manager suspended by sports tribunal

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Marc Brys

Cameroon’s appointment of Belgian Marc Brys as head coach was suspended by the country’s top sports tribunal on Tuesday following the petition of an amateur football club.

The country’s sports ministry stirred controversy last month when it named 61-year-old Brys as manager of the Indomitable Lions without consulting the football federation (FECAFOOT).

The move sparked a dispute between the sports ministry and FECAFOOT, which said the government had made a unilateral decision.

In response, it asked its president Samuel Eto’o to propose a national coach and other management staff for the national side within 72 hours, deepening its standoff with the sports ministry.

Eto’o kept Brys as head coach but named different assistants, technical, medical and administrative staff.

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An amateur club, meanwhile, took the matter to the Arbitration and Conciliation Chamber of the Cameroon National Olympic and Sports Committee.

In a provisional ruling on Tuesday, the court suspended the FECAFOOT appointments while it fully examined the matter. Concerned parties have 24 hours to appeal.

FECAFOOT in response said it “reserves the right to refer these decisions to FIFA, as they hinder the preparation process for the forthcoming sport events.

“The Emergency Committee of FECAFOOT will meet immediately to take appropriate measures,” it said in a statement.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has strict rules against government interference in national federations and has frequently banned countries when governments get involved in federation affairs.

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The president of the Cameroon Association of Amateur Football Clubs, Balla Ongolo Henri, had previously said Eto’o’s appointments would damage Cameroon’s image and disrupt preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next June.

Brys, 61, penned a contract on May 8 as head coach of the Indomitable Lions following the dismissal of Rigobert Song in February. FECAFOOT did not attend the signing ceremony.

The sports ministry says it has acted in accordance with national and international regulations.

Reuters

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Amokachi, Adebayor and Amanda Dlamini confirmed for CAF African Schools Championship Finals

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African football legends, Emmanuel Adebayor, Daniel Amokachi and Amanda Dlamini are some of the top names that have been confirmed for the Continental Finals of the CAF African Schools Football Championship 2024 scheduled in Zanzibar between 21 – 24 May 2024.

The CAF African Schools Football Championship is the school’s competition that includes over 44 African countries with over 800 000 participants of Boys and Girls under the age of 15.

This is the second edition of the competition that is not only focused on Football but also on a number of programmes including Young Referee’s Programme, Young Reporter Programme and Safeguarding. 

Adebayor, CAF Player of the Year in 2008, represented Togo at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for their only appearance at the tournament. Ex-striker for Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and others, the Togolese star has had a successful career, earning over 85 caps with Les Eperviers.

Nigerian football star Amokachi played 42 international matches for the Super Eagles. He participated in the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups and was part of the team that won the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic Games in 1996.

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Former Banyana Banyana (South Africa) captain Dlamini played in two TotalEnergies CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations competitions where they finished third and second in 2010 and 2012, respectively. She is one of the few footballers, both in the men’s and women’s national teams to reach 100 caps.

Dlamini recently made history when she became the first female to be part of the world commentary feed at the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023.

Also on the list are local stars Abdi Kassim Sadalla, former Tanzanian National Team Captain, and Hilda Masanche, Head coach of the Tanzania U17 Women’s National Team.

The Legends will feature in various activities to promote and support football development among African youth.

The finals will bring together talented young players from across the continent, providing them a platform to showcase their skills and passion for the game.

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-CAF

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