By Afoni B
Barely two months to the next matches in March, which are qualifiers for the 2017 African Nations Cup, Cameroon is yet to appoint a new coach.
When the contract of the German tactician, Volker Finke, was not renewed, Alexandre Belinga was named caretaker coach and took charge of the two World Cup qualifiers against Niger, which produced the uninspired performance.
On December 2015, a shortlist of coaches was made public, raising speculation. However, the Indomitable Lions are yet to get a man in place before their back-to-back games against South Africa.
Their first game will be in Cameroon on March 25 and then, four days later, in South Africa on March 29.
Meanwhile, a team of six senior officials traveled to France to interview coaches shortlisted for the national football team. The team was to be in France from December 19-23 to carry out this assignment.
During the federation’s executive meeting on December 17, FECAFOOT President, Tombi A Roko Sidiki, unveiled the countries of the coaches shortlisted.
“What I can say about the shortlist is that there are three French coaches, a Serb and a Cameroonian,” Sidiki said.
He also promised to announce the name of the new coach of the Indomitable Lions in January.
“We would look for the best candidate and, before the end of January 2016, we would appoint a new coach,” Tombi said.
However, since returning from the trip, Cameroonians are yet to know the new coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
At first, speculations were high that Claude Le Roy, who, in a TV interview, expressed his desire to coach the Lions one more time before he retires from football, was tipped for the job with the support of the Roving Ambassador, Roger Milla. He was also considered as the choice of the Presidency.
Later, Serbian-born tactician, Mirolan Rajevac, former Ghanaian coach who took the Black Stars to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, was believed to be the man for the job, thanks to the backing of Lions sponsor, Puma.
However, speculation has been shifted away from Le Roy to his compatriot Alain Giresse, who is currently in charge of Mali.
The arrival of the Frenchman was repeatedly announced, but he never came to Yaounde. The Frenchman himself has not yet officially commented on the matter to the media.
According to reports, the current coach of Mali has refused to comment regarding the news.
In its issue of February 2, 2016, Mutations newspaper published excerpts of the reaction of the head of communication of the Mali Football Federation (FEMAFOOT):
“There is nothing. Alain Giresse has taken no official steps signifying that he wants to terminate his contract. You cannot block his contract. However, if he quits the head of the national team before the end of his contract, he must pay damages related to it,” suggests Modibo Traoré Naman.
Also, a Malian website, Maliweb.net on January 30, 2016, announced the return of Giresse to Mali in the coming days.
“The national coach of the Eagles of Mali, Alain Giresse, is expected in Bamako next week. His arrival will be for him to prepare for the next match of Mali as part of the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations, AFCON, finals which will be held in 2017 in Gabon. To do so, the Eagles of Mali should host Equatorial Guinea in late March in Bamako before traveling to Malabo four days after,” the website reported.
The delay is unclear, and Cameroonians have been waiting to know the next coach of the Indomitable Lions. As things stand now, Belinga is set to continue, even though he was not supposed to stay on.