The resignation of the head coach of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon,
Otto Pfister, on Wednesday, May 27, 2009, has again launched the debate
over the future of the team ahead of the 2010 CAN/World Cup. For those
who do not master the context, it would appear Pfister’s departure
could jeopardize the chances of the Indomitable Lions that are
currently camping in Belgium to prepare for the crucial encounter in
Yaounde on June 7, 2009 against the Atlas Lions of Morocco. However,
such an observation would be an overstatement given that Pfister had
been unreassuring at the head of the team.
Many football observers in Cameroon have been sceptical
about the technical qualities of Otto Pfister to deliver in terms of
positive results. During the last outing of the Cameroon Lions against
Togo on March 28 in Ghana, the team suffered a humiliating 0-1 defeat.
The play style was sloppy, team cohesion absent and the coaching was
totally disappointing. Government decision to reinforce the technical
staff of the Lions ought to have helped Pfister draw up a workable
formula for the team. He failed in that line.
Instead, early signs from the group announced some dissention that
could not speak well for Cameroon. Some of the players invited were
being contested by the technical team that had to work with Otto
Pfister. He was being accused of failing to consult with the others.
With such an atmosphere surrounding a team that has a major challenge
in a few days, it became clear that a bold step had to be taken. By
resigning, Pfister has simply acknowledged his inability to lead. The
Government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Sports and Physical
Education, the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT), as well as the
players and technical team must show greater resolve to mend fences and
make football lovers in Cameroon proud by ensuring that the country is
present in South Africa next year.
Having lost to Togo, Cameroon has no explanation to bow down to Morocco
next week in Yaounde. Many have rightly qualified Pfister’s departure
from the team as good riddance, meaning one of the stumbling blocks on
the way of the team has been removed. It must not be that he did his
part by resigning and Cameroon failed to take up the challenge to focus
on that common goal and produce the required results. Memories of the
country’s absence from Germany during the 2006 World Cup are still
fresh. Even getting to the finals of the last African Nations Cup in
Ghana last year was to some a matter of luck and the past achievements
of Cameroon in football prohibit the country from getting to the pitch
without conviction in their play style.
One thing remains clear this far. The ostrich tactics that have been
adopted in handling problems related to the national football team must
stop. Appointing a college of trainers to coach the Lions has been
variedly understood by many. But even more crucial is the absence of a
leader in the group. It would now be imperative to state unequivocally
who would take full responsibility in the group of trainers that are
coaching the team. Pfister already left them with a poisoned chalice
having convened players that they do not want for the training session.
It may not be out of place here to observe that the unwanted players
should not be victims of obscure ulterior motives. The watchword at
this stage in the life of Cameroon football must be a resolve to see
the national team sail through all the present difficulties so as to be
present at such an important rendez-vous as the World Cup and the
Nations Cup with a deserving team.
Richard KWANG KOMETA