Chaos in Cameroon. The national selection refused to take the plane to the Africa Cup in Egypt. The players feel that the competitive premiums are too low and hope to exert pressure by striking. “This does not surprise me at all,” says former coach Hugo Broos, who won the Africa Cup two years ago with Cameroon. “For every tournament, there is a problem.”
Last night, in the capital Yaounde, Cameroonian players refused to take the plane to Egypt, where the Africa Cup will start today. The reason? According to various sources, there is disagreement about the competitive premiums between the Indivisible Lions and the Cameroonian Football Association. The players demand a premium of 60,000 euros, while the league only wants to offer half. An event is reminiscent of the 2002 and 2014 World Cup. Even then, the players refused to travel because of a financial impasse.
“I am not surprised at the fact that this problem is again emerging,” says former Cameroonian coach Hugo Broos with a cynical smile. “It’s a common occurrence there. It’s a recurring fact. From the moment they talk about premiums, it’s from that. Look, every tournament is a problem. These premiums must be approved by the minister for sport and other higher authorities. People do not talk enough to the players and try to delay the financial part as long as possible. Until you’re ready to leave and it’s still not okay. Then a player’s group can’t always be controlled.”
From the moment they talk about premiums, there’s a problemHugo Broos
Board of players
And yet, two years ago, Broos managed to win the Africa Cup with Cameroon. “But even then some players suggested going on strike. A lot of guys believed that the only way they could exert pressure is by not playing or not training. Fortunately, along with the board of players, I was able to change their minds.”
During my time at Cameroon, you had five players headed by the captain Benjamin Moukandjo (meanwhile stopped as international out of discontent, ed.). They discussed the premiums. Be careful, these guys always wanted to train and did the best they could. On the other hand, they wanted to ensure that the premiums were as high as possible. I told them that they can play hardball, but that they should not threaten with strikes.”
“We then laid down the premiums for the group phase, but as the tournament progressed, there were still discussions. Fortunately, we were able to ensure that the focus on football never diminished.”
According to Broos, the cause of the impasse lies with both the players and the league. “As a player, you ask for the highest possible premium-that makes sense. But if the higher authorities want to pay as little as possible, of course. Both sides are stubborn, and then you get stories and situations like this.”
“This is already a bad start to the Africa Cup for Cameroon. I think they should get out of the group phase, but if they can’t… It’ll be chaos.”
Cameroon has his first game against Guinnee-Bissau on Tuesday. Also, Ghana and Benin are in their group.