By Basil Afoni
The Normalisation Committee that recently saw its mandate prolonged for another eight months, has come under strong criticism from football pundits as to whether it has been effective or not.
It is undisputed that the committee has not been able to create any impact in the country’s football since its institution eight months ago.
The committee, whose executive is made up of mostly lawyers, has failed to draft out the rules and regulations to govern the Cameroon Football federation, FECAFOOT.
Consequently, the mandate of the Normalisation Committee had to be extended to give it enough time to iron out crucial issues of the new FECAFOOT constitution that is currently been elaborated.
Pundits have questioned the motive of this extension. Others think it might be a fast one played on Cameroonians by the executives of this committee in order to enjoy the juicy gains from Cameroon’s participation at the World Cup.
A point made by the FIFA representative, Primo Corvaro, saying elections could not take place since countries are preparing for the World Cup to Brazil is questionable.
“Right now, qualified teams for the World Cup in Brazil are concentrating in the preparation of this great world football festival. In the month of June-July, nothing will be done at the level of member associations. FIFA will be fully focused on the World Cup. There is no question now rushing to the adoption of texts and elections. All these realities require an extension of the mandate of the Normalization Committee,” Corvaro said.
A statement like this pushes one to ask whether FIFA did not take note of this when they were giving the duration for the committee to work in Cameroon.
The committee which was set up in July 22 last year with the mission to revise the statutes, conduct elections and manage the daily affairs of FECAFOOT is still to create an impact.
It is rather funny that an executive made up of mostly Associate Professors of law, who are well informed with Cameroon football, are given almost 12 months to rewrite the texts and organise FECAFOOT elections.
These people have a thorough knowledge of the problems of Cameroonian football. Some pundits believed that the four months were sufficient for the committee to use two months in rewriting and two in conducting elections. But this failed. Also, some thought that this is a motive to stay in office for long.
Yet, again, they have failed to produce a calendar for the Cameroon Professional League from the first day to the last day of play. For years now, clubs, match officials, football lovers among others have been decrying the fact that there is lack of a calendar for the League. Many had thought that with the coming of the committee, this problem would be solved.
Cameroonian clubs registered the worst results this year at CAF tourneys. Yong Sports eliminated at the first round, Union and Astre crashing out at the second round, and last year’s semi-finalist, Coton Sport of Garoua, kicked out into the Orange CAF Confederation Cup.
Players of the Professional League are still with little or no salaries or better still, they are exploited. Furthermore, at the Regional level, the impact of the Normalisation Committee is still to be felt. In almost all the Regional levels, elections have not been conducted, making the running of activities at this level a jungle matter as they are not supervised by anybody.
In Littoral for example, the Normalization Committee has not been able to restore calm since taking over in july22, 2013. Recently, there was a clash between the supporters of Ekeke Eugene and co. who stormed the Mbappe Leppe Stadium disrupting the launching of the 2014 football year with placards calling on Tombe A. Roko and Prof. Joseph Owona to respect the law.
It should be recalled that Authentic FC, Bandjoun FC, Eugene Ekeke Academy, Youth FC and Oryx Douala, were all suspended at the end of last season, having withdrawn to play the 14th and last day of their championship. It is as a result of this that a solution is still to be reached for the smooth running of the League.
The Normalization Committee lacked balance in its selection of journalists to travel to the World Cup in Brazil and update the population back home about all the happenings. It is disgraceful that Cameroon, a bilingual country, will not have any journalist from the English private media in Brazil as none was selected.
However, the Normalization Committee has been able to increase the number of the country’s Professional League from 14 to 19 in the League One and 14 to 18 in League Two. Also, it was able to provide justice to Bamboutous FC of Mbuda after seven years of waiting; they were finally reinstated into League One.
After an extension of eight months, one will be tempted to ask this question to Prof. Owona and Co.: In eight months, do you think you people can finally complete the job?