The first lesson at the end of a football match is gotten from analysing the impact of a victory, draw or defeat.
With a second defeat recorded by the Indomitable Lions in Brazil at the ongoing 20th edition of the FIFA World Cup, it is now clear that the team will not continue the competition. True to facts, only an illusory mindset would have expected much from the players. They all form part of a team that did not go to the World Cup as favourites.
A cursory look at the recent past of the environment in and around the Lions within the last decade reveals a group of players and officials that had everything to worry about except football. A few of the hard facts are worth recalling, even if it is just for the sake of refreshing the brain.
During the zero-four debacle that the Lions suffered against Croatia last Wednesday 18 June, 2014 the world watched with dismay how a professional player of international repute, Alex Song, blindly ran into his Croatian opponent and punched him with a vicious elbow from behind without the Croatian even being aware of any fault against Song.
The consequence was a red card for Song and Cameroon that was already one goal down. The team had to continue the game with ten players. With four goals down, the Lions instead of struggling to convince their fans through an iota of determination to score a face-saving goal started fighting among themselves. A desolate head knock from Benoît Assou-Ekoto against Benjamin Moukandjo, left many bewildered as to what must have gone wrong with the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.
Added to such depressing acts were the unfortunate quarrels over participation bonuses and other issues before the players left for Brazil. Yet, the hard-earned qualification by the team for the 2014 World Cup warranted a much more rigorous preparation and concentration for any palpable results on the field. The apparent cohesion at the last qualifying match against Tunisia created an illusion that the Lions could again roar like in the past. Alas!
Now that the 2014 World Cup is behind the Indomitable Lions, it must be said that other competitions like the African Nations Cup qualifiers will soon be coming up and the same actions could lead to the same results if the management and play style of the national football team remain the same.
After all, is it not said that when one falls, the problem is usually not where the falling took place, but what caused the person to stumble before falling. Thus, to stare in bewilderment at the Lions fiasco in Brazil last Wednesday may be of no consequence now because the harder task obviously lies ahead. For instance, qualifiers for the 2015 African Nations Cup begin next September and Cameroon missed out on the last edition for the same reasons.
Similar challenges have occurred in the past, and each time the Lions faced a defeat, only short- term solutions were proposed. Apart from the early 1980s and the 1990 FIFA World Cup where the Lions kept their problems behind them to concentrate on football, the sordid past of the team and its management have persistently caught up with the country.
To say that the situation has gone past the critical point may be an understatement. Solutions and counter proposals have been made in the past with little positive results or even follow-up. It would even appear that what the players demonstrated in Brazil was just a tip of the iceberg that involved football officials as well.
Without crying over spilt milk, it may not be too late to get back to the drawing board and rebuild the team for future competitions, given the love Cameroonians have for football. The outcome of a match may not be an end in itself, but the means to an end; especially if those involved in football management and the players remain focused on what each of them has to do to get national football back on rails.
Source: Cameroon Tribune