One of the finest Journalist Cameroon has ever known,a Sport Reporter with a different touch remains Late Papa, Zachary Nkwo.
He was at the peak of his powers coincidentally at a time when Cameroonian clubs and the different National selection enjoyed multiple success and he was always with the different teams in career that took him to Multi CAF competitions and Multiple FIFA competition which gave him the all the facts to know and understand true colors of Cameroon Football.
After the 2014 world cup Uncle Zack’s sat down with CRTV’s Henry Mekole to talk about evolution of Football management and Football in Cameroon.
On the attitude and performance of players yesterday and those today:
It is like comparing the night and the day. There are players of different generations with different sense of commitments or uncommitments, that is the main undoing of what is happening today, we are all human beings, each generation faces and there must be the people with the foresight to put bridge’s to gap of the generations. So what those who parade the corridors of power today have succeeded in doing is that,they refused to have a foresight to think about tomorrow.
The people who think about today and forget about that yesterday when they started their journeys can’t afford, let alone hoping hopelessly to go into the future that is the undoing of what is happening today with football in Cameroon. We over slept, we refused to think about future generations, we kept on singing and singing until our song has become useless even to us Cameroonians in terms of football
Q Are you concluding that the blame rest on those people managing football in this country?
The sum total of the success of the people depends on the leaders, so those who have managed have succeeded in mismanaging football in Cameroon. Think about the stars of yesterday, they were people that belonged to another generation, people had the foresight, people had the commitment for the love of the country, but today with the spirit of Materialism in Cameroon we have focused our attention away from the main goals, running a rat race for Materialism, and with the evolution of society every body has to be paid for doing what he has to do. So, money money money! Even those who run around the players are not there because of the love of the game, even because of the love of sports.
Everybody wants to pick his dividence and pocket. With that, the nation goes downwards as it has always been going for the past years. Nobody no body bothers, reap what you can pocket as dividence.
Q How committed were the players of the yesteryears; the Mbom Ephraim, Kunde, Thomas Nkono ; you travelled with them several times, how committed were they?
There was the notion of playing for the love, the fatherland, playing for the flag; of course the whole world saw the Cameroonian flag abandoned by the players who were supposed to be Ambassadors to Brazil. First of all, they took you and I to Brazil and whatsoever happened is no longer news. There was commitment from that group of players I believe; Mbappe Lepe, Mokoko Confiance, Tokoto Rudolph,Tokoto Colbert, Mbassangue Dieudonne’, Gwam Samuel; the Administrative president of Union Of Douala, Doungo Alienga, at the time they were people who were committed, and now comes the generation of Abega Theophile, Thomas Nkono, Milla Roger, Ekule Eugene, Ekeke Eugene and so on. Those were players who weren’t based for money apparently. There was no money at the time, but there was money, but today everything has been awashed because there is ‘Superplus’ money and those who parade the corridors of authority for football in Cameroon have become financial vultures and the players and the players have all rights to do what they did, but not the indiscipline that was displayed to the world from the bad comportment of the players during that last match.
Q What did the managers of football, or football officials, what did they do at the time that the present football officials and managers are not able to do. Where have they gone wrong (the officials).
There was commitment on the part of the administrators, there was commitment by the players and from the players, there were set goals for football at a given time. Trophies had to be won but come to imagine and come to think about it that for the past 7 years how many coaches has the Cameroon national team had?how many presidents have we had? Why is the ongoing war sustained; war between who controls what for football, is it the ministry of sports and physical education, is it the president of FECAFOOT? Where is that ungentlemanly agreement between FECAFOOT and the ministry of sports and the ministry of sports ? And a world cup tournament takes four years, come to think about what happened in South Africa in 2010. Quarrels were carried before 2010, the quarrels, the backstabbing, the running verbal wars continued between players as players, between the officials as officials, between the officials of FECAFOOT, and the officials of the ministry of sports and physical education. Finally, nobody has been in charge of anything, Everything has been run full time riot and this is unfortunately very negative dividence we are getting at the moment. In 1970 when Cameroon went for the African Nation’s Football Tournament in Khartoum, Sudan, look at the crop of players who took Cameroon to Sudan in 1970. The coach then for Cameroon whom most Cameroonians may have forgotten was Raymond Forbeteh. Today, he is in his village in Bali North West region. After that tournament Ahidjou was president as change is very much inevitable, those players ; Cheboh and the group who went to Sudan returned from Sudan with a very enviable record in their first participation, and what happened? Those players stayed for 7 months, the records are somewhere. 7 months without financial benefits, and the end of the 7 months each of them got 50.000 francs for haven’t taken Cameroon to Sudan. The next African Nation’s Cup in 1972 how much money did those players get? Though we were bundled out of the semi finals by the Red devil’s of the republic of Congo. 2010 before the players left Yaounde for the so called farewell match, each of them got 45 millions francs to go to South Africa, at the end of the tournament we graduated from the first round with no points. This year(2014) is 56.8 millions francs, it is good, it is appropriate, you work you have to get paid. But they’re people who hoover around the national football who have nothing to do with football, who have no notion of football. How many of them were in Brazil? Over 200 Cameroonians were in Brazil, doing what in Brazil? We have lost a sense of direction, we are reaping the negative dividence of which is not good for a football playing nation like Cameroon.
Q *There are some people who are proposing that some officials be sanctioned seriously just like the players. Do you think it can help to solve the problem that is rocking our football sector today? Can sanctions really help? And if it can help, how do we sanction the players and the officials.
Permit me to say that there is nobody in charge, I’m not being pessimistic. I don’t foresee any person taking any measures. In 2010 after the AFCON in South Africa, the then minister; Zoua told Cameroonians and the world that amongst those who went to South Africa were witch doctors, to go and tax payers money in a football tournament? Before the world cup in South Africa in 2010; for three days, from the 25-27 of May 2010, there was a forum for football, for the enhancement of good quality football in Cameroon. 3 days in Yaounde there were over 125 participants from all works of life. How do you take chiefs and mechanics in a forum to talk about enhancement of football in Cameroon! The proposals which were adopted, today we are in 2014 what happened to those proposals, and the documents are still there. We have lost our sense of direction as far as football is concerned, but why talk only about football. Football cannot be a magic one. It has been over used as an opium for the people.
Q so, only time may certainly solve the problem?
Time, but with people who are dedicated, who must have foresight and who must be not at war amongst themselves to put football back on the rail. We have wasted over 4 years of back stabbing, verbal wars for nothing. This is the dividence Cameroonians are reaping.
Zachary Nkwo one of the finest voices behind the microphone died on the 7th of June 2017,he will forever remain a legend.
Cameroon clubs and National teams are underperforming nowadays.
Interview conducted by CRTV’s Henry Mekole in 2014.