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FALLOUT FROM THE CONFEDERATIONS CUP : May the sun never set on our troubles (Camfoot Forum)

Before the dust settles on the Confederations cup, and as the focus is shifting more and more towards transfers and the different championships, I am happy we are revisiting the confederations cup to draw what conclusions need to be drawn and learn what lessons we can from it.
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Le 23 juillet 2003

One blessing of the confederations cup is that it has permitted the likes of us to assess a lot of players first hand and avoid the Mba Jama situation in which the guy was paraded on this forum as a credible replacement for Mboma (and Schafer diabolised for not selecting him) only to find out the guy is not even a starter for canon.

Marc Vivien FOÉ
Even as this edition of the competition has been rightly dominated by the untimely demists of Marc V. Foe, and regrettable as it has been, few are those who will quarrel with the lessons to be learnt from his death. The first for me is that of humility for in death I have discovered the man Marco, a self effacing man of achievement, a man of depth whose world wide recognition has made us all proud to be his compatriot. Today I salute you Marco (just as fervently as I have criticised you in the past). In your usual silent fashion, you have taught us that the lessons are not ours to dispense, not in football, not in self discipline and achievement, certainly not in patriotism. It is likely that our very vocal and acerbic condemnation of the lions (when they fail) will henceforth be tempered by the deep inner strength, the sense of commitment and sacrifice portrayed not only in MVF’s death but in the exchanges that go on in the lion’s dressing room.

Mboma said in an interview after our successful Olympic campaign that in the finals, when we were down zero to two to Spain, at halftime the players broke in tears. It is my opinion that it is more this spirit than any extraordinary skill that has carried us to these great heights in world football.

Even as this edition of the confederations cup has brought tears to our eyes, it has also brought smiles to our faces, loads of it, indeed enough to go around for we have discovered a team that makes our future less murky, holding their own against some of the toughest opposition in the world. In one movement making sceptics like me stutter and giving Winnie Schaefer a lightness in his step that has been absent for some time. As diehard critics of Mr Schaefer continue to question his contribution to this success story, incredibly second guessing not only his tactics, but his line ups, substitutions etc, it must be with some swagger that he is telling them to please shut the f...k up. Yet this swagger is exactly what the powers that be in Yaoundé dread. He need only talk to Henry Despiereux, and his immediate predecessor Pierre Lechantre.

W. Schaefer and politics
Clearly we need not worry for Mr Schaefer’s recent interview suggests that he knows exactly on which side his bread is buttered. His declaration that the lions decided to play for the president of the republic sounds uncannily like a refrain from a CPDM campaign song. Because of the astonishing performance of the team, and the tragic events that ended this year’s confederations cup, few are those who remember that to a very large extent, the problems that have led some players to withdraw of be dropped from the national team were still largely present prior to the competition.

The endemic problems of mismanagement/incompetence that have plagued us since time immemorial returned to haunt us. Prior to the competition the team had gone for eight months without being called to camp. We all know players arrived in Paris in batches, the authorities not having taken the precaution to obtain visas for everyone in time. This further reduced the amount of time the lions as a full team, trainers and players, spent together. Infarct a team that was more than 60% renovated, had less than a week to get into fighting shape physically, technically, tactically to face the best in the trade. Not surprisingly some in the international press predicted disaster for the lions and enemies of Mr Schaefer smacked their lips in anticipation.

Schaefer against Mboma ?
Thanks to these result we are unlikely going to see any change in the mentality, the approach or the attitude of the powers in Yaoundé. The indomitable lions have unwittingly provided them with yet another excuse for mediocrity, and all those who have fought so hard for change in the national team, Mboma, Etame etc will be made to pay the price, the enemies of progress having reinforced their position with the results. With Mr Schaefer’s declaration that he has found credible replacements for them, it is highly unlikely that they will ever again be called up to the national team. Infarct the coach has made it clear that he is done with Mboma, yet his reasons are highly suspect as Mboma did not insult him in his interview (as he claims).

The future
To a large extent, we are all accomplishes to some of the ills that hold us hostage as some on this forum have questioned the further usefulness in the national team of these players. Yet should there be any other conditions for selection into or exclusion from the lions other than physical, technical and mental strength, the icing being a good dose of team spirit and patriotism ? We cannot permit any other criteria to interfere with these guidelines. They must be sacrosanct, unassailable.

The Confederation cup has given us the opportunity to discover a young team full of promise. Reinforced by the old guard, the result can only make you salivate. As we get ready to defend our crown in Tunisia, the time is now to take a critical look on how to improve on what is already outstanding achievement. What do you say ?

By Ndopman

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