By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
With the world on its knees owing to the dreaded CoronaVirus, at a time that people are losing their lives and means of livelihood as a result of the pandemic, there is no better remedy than collective action to fight the invisible enemy that is fast bringing the world to a standstill.
The Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT led by president Seidou Mbombo Njoya has chosen to reach out to 1040 players and coaches from the 18 top flight clubs, 14 second tier clubs and 12 Women’s league top flight clubs.
394 players and 54 members from the coaching staff have been attributed the sum of 22,500,000frs for the top flight clubs, that is, 1,250,000 frs per club.
308 second tier players and 42 coaching staff will benefit from 10,500,000 frs, that is, 750,000frs per club.
From the women’s top flight, 204 players and 36 coaching staff will benefit from 6,000,000 frs, that is, 500,000frs per club.
Therefore, the distribution of a total of 39,000,000frs allocated to 1040 players and coaching staff from the 44 clubs from the men’s top flight and second tier and the women’s top flight has begun.
Each top flight club has submitted a list of 22 players and three coaching staff who will each receive the sum of 50,000frs, directly into an Orange Mobile Money account. While the same number has been provided for each of the 14 second tier clubs with each beneficiary getting 30,000 FCFA. The 12 women’s league clubs will each provide 20 beneficiaries, with each taking home the sum of 25,000 FCFA through the same mode of payment.
FECAFOOT’s gesture is a purely benevolent gesture, so no one can question them nor rubbish it. However, the gesture has exposed weaknesses from both the clubs and the federation and shown the existing management problems in the local championships.
Almost every club in Cameroon boasts more than 22 players in the first and second tiers, what happens to the players who will not benefit and which criteria will be used to select beneficiaries?
Some may advocate for the criteria of playing time, but will that not double the disgruntlement of the already sidelined players who are not happy with their game time?
Therefore, another option could have been to give the money to the clubs to distribute amongst their players. But due to an acute lack of trust between players and their unreliable management teams on matters of money, the players prefer to receive the money directly especially as some have gone for as long as five months with no salary.
Some may even look at FECAFOOT’s gift as a poisoned gift as it will cause more harm than good in the ranks of the already volatile clubs, whose management teams seem to have no direction and maybe rightfully so.
It’s a longtime since a Cameroon club tapped from the juicy money available for clubs that excel in African club Competitions. This means with the less lucrative nature of the Cameroon domestic championship, picking a ticket for the African Club competitions is synonymous to quick entry and exit as early as in the preliminary rounds.
The leagues are played for little or no prize with just pride at stake. The club president’s imagine investing millions with nothing to show for at the end, and openly rely on FECAFOOT subventions to pay their players salaries.
Unfortunately, even when these subventions are made the salaries are not still paid to the players in most cases.
Going forward should FECAFOOT rather be thinking of organizing the league better, get a broadcaster, attract sponsors and get a huge prize for league winners so that the clubs can organize themselves and get resources to fight for those prizes based on their league standings?
Will Union, Canon, Fovu, Avion and the rest not do everything to put their players in the best possible conditions if they were fighting to top the league and bag home 300,000,000frs? In Cameroon clubs ask for league subventions of up to 900,000,000FCFA, money that could be distributed as prize money for clubs to fight for it on the pitch, instead of giving it out as subventions to “adventurous” club Presidents?
Others have shown the way but FECAFOOT and their supposing league and now Technical Transitional Committee have not copied.
Others simply consider FECAFOOT’s gesture to the coaches and players as a blind folder, looking at what the FAs of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan and others have done in solidarity with their governments in the fight against the pandemic.
The North African football stakeholders are leading the way, showing football and FAs are more than just beneficiaries, but have a strong role to play in times of crisis.
In Egypt for example, the bitter rivalry between Cairo giants Al Ahly and Zamalek is now secondary, as players of both clubs are uniting forces to fight a common enemy.
Al Ahly’s defender Saad Sameer has launched what is known as the #good_challenge initiative under which the defender has announced to look after 20 families till the end of the crisis, challenging players from both Cairo giants to follow suit.
His call was heard as players from both clubs and beyond have signed up to the initiative. Ahmed Fathy, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Kahraba, Mohamed El-Shenawy, Wael Gomaa, Amr El Solia, Sherif Ekramy, Mido, Trezaguet, Ahmed Hegazi, Shikabala and Ahmed Hassan have all joint in the initiative. Hundreds and even thousands of Egyptian families are now benefiting from the initiative started by Saad Sameer.
This demonstrates the strength of unity against a common enemy, after all there is more to life than football.
In Algeria, former Algerian international winger Rafik Saifi took the lead. He called on all current and former Algeria international footballers, to help finance Algerian hospitals.
Many Algerian players have responded favorably to his call. Almost the entire squad that lifted the 2019 AFCON trophy as well as other big names like, Carl Medjani, Ramy Bensebaini and Yacine Brahimi are on board.
Apart from Saifi’s call, other players have been busy for the same purpose. Salim Boukhenchouche, Andria, Abdelmoumene Djabou and several other players in the Algerian domestic championships, have individually decided to sponsor impoverished families whose predicament will obviously be worst-off, during this challenging times.
The Algerian Football Federation [FAF] has not been indifferent. Through its President Kheiredine Zetchi, the FAF announced that it was placing all it’s financial and Human Resources at the disposal of the nation’s authorities to help in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Zetchi said FAF will not hesitate to be actively involved in the fight against the pandemic. The Algerian FA has also pledged to put at the disposal of the state, the facilities of its technical training centre in Sidi Moussa as soon as the work is completed.
These facilities will be used as a quarantine centre, with the exception of the Hotel Les Fennec, where work will still be going on until next year.
In Tunisia, the story has not been different. A good number of their national team players have made telling donations to the country’s Coronavirus solidarity fund. Wahbi Khazri, Anice Badri, Youssef Msakni, Taha Khenissi, Ben Youssef, Wajdi Kechrida, Ferjani Sasi, Bassem Srarfi, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Ellyes Skhiri and the entire Tunisian squad that took part in the 2018 FIFA World Cup have all donated to the Tunisian CoronaVirus solidarity fund.
The Tunisian Football Federation [FTF] has put the national team’s training facility at the disposal of the Tunisian Ministry of Health, which has readied the facility for any potential emergencies.
The FTF has also given 100,000 dinars to provide the medical supplies for the Borj Cendria and Ain Draham centers. The dinars are also at the disposal of the ministry of health.
The FTF has also taken the responsibility of covering the cost of the medical and paramedic personnel that will temporarily supervise the centres, and also announced that its teams were ready to support the government in a bid to end the crisis.
The FTF did not just end there, they further provided internet services to all the quarantine centres and pledged to give every Tunisian returning from abroad a mobile SIM card with data. They also placed five buses at the disposal of the Transport Ministry and provided 700 Tunisian families with staple foods, sanitary liquids and cleaning material.
The Royal Moroccan Football Federation [FRFM] has also made a telling contribution by donating 10 million dirhams to the Moroccan anti Coronavirus fund.
Some professional football clubs in the country also made donations to the fund. Current and former players as well as coaches have joint their voices in numerous campaigns aimed at raising awareness on the dangers of the virus and the necessary preventive measures to curb its spread in the country.
Cameroon’s Football Association has to review a lot if not everything. It is impossible to expect a financial donation in the face of this crisis from any home based Cameroon player who is not even sure of the next meal? .
Fecafoot whose policies are responsible for the plight of these players has chosen them as an easy way out to provide them with money for snacks at a time that the people and government of Cameroon would have appreciated a real support and assistance from them in the face of a serious problem.
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