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Desperately seeking half-breeds

‘Oh, Meg. Shall we ever learn to talk less’ ? (E.M. Forster, Howards End)


The hunt is on for any ballplayer on European playgrounds loosely related to anything Cameroonian. The making of the national side for yet another futile attempt on the World Cup front demands a hard reality check. Faced with a dearth of talent back home, the entire nation of Cameroon is spurring on football governing authorities to convince any fledging bi-national star or half-breed to join the Cameroonian squad.

Le 8 janvier 2014

This is nothing new, of course. For over a decade now, we have principally relied on hired guns, admittedly of Cameroonian stock. The situation is simply now getting a little bit ridiculous. When you look harder, the last international game we played in Yaounde could very well have been dubbed Tunisia v. Rest-of-The-World.

Let’s do the maths. Of the thirteen or so men who squarely and fairly beat Tunisia in Yaounde, none of them can exhibit a record of ever playing amateur or professional football in a significant way in Cameroon ; three or four got some professional training in a national sports academy ; over 80 per cent of them carry foreign passports and pay taxes abroad ; a fair number of them could not say ‘hello’ in any Cameroonian language.

All that is tilly-fally, isn’t it ? Perhaps. What is significant though is that the bona fide stars of the Cameroon squad, - Mr. Eto’o, Mr. Chedjou, Mr. Nkoulou, Mr. Makoun and Mr. Song to a lesser extent – are all Cameroonian-born and raised. They ply their trade with foreign passports on foreign soil. We have no qualms about that. Since there is no backup or replacement in sight back home, we have been forced to hire abroad. But the fact is that none of the ballplayers we have hired was likely to crack a first team spot on the national side of their respective native countries. My take is that they would not have joined us if they had a solid chance to play for Germany or France.

Mr. Itandje, to name only one, looked down on us scores of times and only accepted to play for us when all his hopes of ever playing for France were dashed. True, Mr. Itandje has performed beautifully, but he will never be another Thomas Nkono. Mr. Matip, Mr. Assou-Ekotto, Mr. Choupo-Moting and other imports are not on the same footing as Mr. Eto’o or Mr. Makoun, and will certainly never get close to the great homegrown strikers and midfielders we were blessed with.

Why are we then gunning for Mr. Ntep, Mr. Umtiti or Mr. Ngando, who are just o.k. ballplayers ? Why spend all our energy and lots of money in search of very ordinary footballers when we have been known to blabber about being a great nation of football ? We talk a lot, don’t we ? But the hard truth is that ordinary players in Europe are far better than anything we can expect from home. That alone should put our legendary yap to silence.

Léon Gwod


Vos commentaires

  • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 17:03, par katika En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    The author of such an article should be ashamed of himself. It is simple fact :- Cameroon can not create jobs for its youths for the past 30 years. When these talented individuals are wanted out of the country, they do (obtain other nationalities) to follow their dreams. This is not just the case with ball players. There are hundreds of thousands Cameroonians in Europe, US and elsewhere with PhDs. They will desire to return and help their country but there are simply no opportunities. Some of these professionals desire to open businesses that can create jobs but corrupted Cameroon will not allow them. So, if the cry is for Cameroonians to help Cameroon, then let it be so....... This article is really annoying. If the author of this article is a Cameroonian, then shame to you. We will stagnate forever if this mentality continues to reign in our people. Go take a look at Ghana, Liberia, Sierria leone, Ethopia, Kenya, etc,.

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 17:40, par Peps En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      Well said Katika.

      Nothing more to add.

      Mr. Léon Gwod, get a reality check before producing such lame article.

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 18:39, par katika En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      Thank You Peps.
      I would like to ask one question to Mr. Leon Gwod- What makes Ntep, Ngando, Umtiti a « Half-breed » ? If you had just a little bit of secondary biology, this term would be a taboo to use on pure blood Cameroonians. What really makes you -Mr. Leon Gwod- a « Full-breed » ?
      Please, allow Cameroonians to be Cameroonians. We have not provided adequate infrastructure for our youths to develop in the country........They are left alone and when the go abroad and have to adapt to country institutional demands to foster their career, they become « half-breeds » !
      Let me ask you one more question- Is Z. Zidane a France born and how many Africans have played for the France ? Bottom-line is - every country is looking for ways to win/earn their bread - so too, the individuals.

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 20:06, par SANGA TITI En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      Gwod has lost another golden opportunity to just shut up. Cameroon is going to the World Cup in Brazil with the commitment and determination to prove its critics wrong. We are a great football nation, yet, football is still very much an amateur sports here. Why then should we shy away from availing ourselves of cameroonian talents born abd bred abroad ? We’ve always called in Cameroonians playing in foreign leagues, from Njo Lea, Abossolo and Joseph Yebga Maya, down to Assou Ekotto and Choupo-Moting. We’re not talking about Santos and Camus with Tunisian passports. Neither are we talking about Deco, Pepe, and Fernandinho with Portuguese passports, let alone, the Podolskis, Ozil, and all the German players of foreign origin, or even Spain playing with Engonga or Diego Costa, and not to talk about Croatia with a Brazilian player. Leon, Cameroon is back, and the world will soon see it.

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 20:08, par SANGA TITI En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      Quite ridiculous ! You should be ashame of yourself !

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 23:52, par EKru En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      This is really stupid. I hate to have waisted 3 minutes of my valuable time reading such an out right nonsense ! When I read similar nonsense in french, I tell myself, oh well « what did you expect ». I feel ashamed on your behalf, Léon Gwod or whoever you are. Wow, really !!

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  • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 17:42, par jony En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Is it an evil thing to recruit players out of Cameroon ? How do you think France won her first and only world cup ? What would you say about Italy, Belgium, Germany and all the other countries that recruit foreigners to play for their side ? Why is it « very Cameroonian » to always criticize our country ? Simply pathetic !

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 19:24, par jean mark En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      enlève Thiago Mota en Italie Osile ,podolsky , etc en allemagne, Diego kosta en espagne .d aprs toi les enfts nés hors de leur pays ou né dans leur pays et qui ont fait et obtenu lrs diplômes dans des pays étranger ne doivent pas servir ou revenir dans leur pays d origine quand vs n avez pas d info à ns communiqué laissé nous tranquille vous écrivez du n importe qoi

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 21:56, par ali mussa En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      ntep is very stupid france has many players and he will never play world cup in his life where are ngog nouma ngoty

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 22:02, par ali mussa En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      ntep is stupid wher are ngog nouma ngoty

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  • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 19:10, par winner En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    To help Leon Gwod, Messi has never played in a relevant team in Argentina, neither did Higuain, Aguro, and so many other players around the world. All the football game is made in europe and it’s from there that good players are growing now. Did we recruit a player from Gabon, Chad, Senegal, Egypt or Vietnam ?

    What is shamefull if we fight and get back one of us who is about to be a white country slave ?
    We did it for pat Mboma and you were erecting yourself when he was scoring fantastic goals for Cameroun

    I think they are some who just want to show themselves in Camfoot pages. This a nonsense story in 2014 !

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    • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 21:06, par Joe En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      MR Leon Gwod,
      You sir are one of the people responsible for the continuance of tribalism, racism and all types of isms affecting our country. Calling the last game Tunisia vs. Rest of the world is an insult to our sons who bravely represented our country that day. I do not know of any Cameroonian, no matter where they were in the world at the time who did not feel proud for what those young men have accomplished that day. Shame on you ! You are calling them hired guns ? Give me the name of one player that day who is not a Cameroonian ? You sir are pathetic... Get out of here !

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  • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 20:04, par Jean Luc En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    What an idiotic article from someone who clearly know very little about how world soccer has evolved in recent years. First of all..your use of the term « half-breed » is insulting and ignorant of you. You seem to be seeking attention at any cost. All but 2 players (Ekotto and Itandje) that started for Cameroon where born in Cameroon. Itandje has both Cameroonian parents and Ekotto a Cameroonian father. Moting - who came in as a sub was the only other foreign born Cameroonian player to feature in the game. So 80% of those who played the game where born in Cameroon FYI. Have you looked at the French national side..does it bother you that most of their players a second generation French with African parentage. That’s what world soccer has become. Don’t make a fool of your self in quest for cheap publicity. If the US embassy in Yde announced giveaways of US citizenship - first come first serve - I’m sure your fat ass will be first in line gleefully accepting it..POS

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  • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 22:28, par Rube En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    To be fair, this article raises a good point : not about the so-called « Half-breeds » as mercenaries, but about the fact that the development of youth football (or any other youth sport) is seriously lacking in vision, planning, structure/infrastructure, and execution.

    Pragmatically speaking, let them develop our youth for us since we cannot do it ourselves, so that we may come claiming those kids when they are ripe for the picking. Just don’t be surprised if these youth - for not having been [under]developed back home - do not feel the same visceral connection to Cameroon the rest of us do.

    Go Lions !

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  • Le 8 janvier 2014 à 23:30, par Birago En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Dear Leon, I can see your point but admit that your discourse carries few ILLOGICAL views :

    1/ A gangster was once asked : “Why do you rob banks ?” ; he answered : “Because that’s where the money is !” Thus, what’s wrong in seeking talent among promising and well or better trained youngsters by SOMEONE ELSE ? I rather think that Cameroonian officials are smart in this instance.

    2/ Making the ILs’ WC qualification a recruiting tool seems equally smart since you yourself agree that these PROMISING footballers are otherwise often hesitant to join the ILs.

    3/ Besides, no one has a crystal ball that predicts the future of PROMISING footballers. All won’t certainly end-up being an ’Eto’o’, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t therefore be pursued... Who really know ?

    4/ If Cameroonian officials don’t entice this youth NOW, you and I will CERTAINLY be blaming them in the future for corruption and lack of foresight !!!!

    Pease let’s all honestly prepare for the WC with undivided support for all that roars and is therefore LION !

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 00:59, par RANDY NFOR En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Guys guys i think before we run into a unanimous conclusion to blast Mr. Gwop about his article lets take a step back to re-evaluate what he is trying to transmit across.
    From what I gather is that Mr. Gwop is trying to make us understand that instead of Cameroon to spend time to find talent here in Cameroon, they would rather go abroad to look for talent cuz of the popular notion that football abroad is better than back home. i love my country to death but with the very poor infrastructure in cameroon, we will never make big.
    so this is my take on the situation.

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 09:16, par Numfor Andrew En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Each and every Cameroonian has the right to be a Cameroonian and has the right to say what he thinks can build the country. I am happy with the author of this article as he has just bring out just a pinch of some ot the ills of this country. He is 100% right when he says if the guys like Asou, etc have chance to play in other countries, they wouldn’t have come to Cameron. What about Bonsong Who was a cameroonian but played for France ? Let us join hands with the autor and see how we can develope our football rather than critizing the author for the wonderful passage.
    Ever since i started visiting this site, this is the best passage I have read from it.

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    • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 09:47, par Davis En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      « As he has just brought out a pinch of the ills of our country » seriously so you actually think by hunting for foreign talents deprive us from searching for our home talents.
      so do you think by differentiating within our own race makes you and your author better citizens .

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    • Le 10 janvier 2014 à 08:41, par Numfor Andrew En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      What do you mean by home talent ? Is there any football played in Cameroon ? Look what is happening to our leaque. Is there any league ? Where is the pitch in which the players will show their talents ? If there are local players in Cameroon why can’t we qualify for chan ? How many years consequtively have we been absent from chan ? And we will continue to be absent because we don’t have local players. Please let’s wake up and face the reality. We cannot produce a local player for the world cup this year. We still have to develope our league.

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 09:33, par Davis En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    It’s rather strange that we have such inferiority towards our own identity,up too going to the point of attributing to our own brother as half characterizing our thinking with such imbecile comments we are just showing our weakness towards being patriotic and believing in our own fundamental rights of our race.
    I do not see any wrong in having a dual nationality and if we could make a potential use of it to come to help within a nation which ultimate passion is the love for ball then why make an amalgam of half breed.we should be proud of this young talent that are willing to come back for the love of patriotism an serve their mother land,instead of us all helping towards this direction some of you are spilling fire to differentiate within born Europeans of Cameroonian parents and those born back home as if the place of birth brighten your talents in the came of ball is just the infrastructure that differs and if you got the talent with the right and adequate help you will be quite successful like the Mamadou sako who today is the proudness of the French people due to his two wonderful goals scored during the qualification match in Paris against Ukraine.
    this article does not help or improve the hopes of us having the best recognition of our home talents because we actually at this time do not have.

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    • Le 10 janvier 2014 à 00:10, par Peps En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      True, our footballing system does not work and little effort is put in to solve it (Even if it is, we are not seeing it).

      But does it mean we are not allowed to make use of Cameroonian talents brought up abroad - through a modern system- ?

      At this point, we have to make use all resource we can have : let’s be honest with ourselves, local talents are not up to the task - Failure of our system -. Well, it will all come down to what’s on the table - Career wise-.

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    • Le 10 janvier 2014 à 08:54, par Numfor Andrew En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      Well Mr. Peps, I agree with you. The writer had a point in what he mention in his passage. Remember he said these guys did have love for the country. Think of charles itanje, Matip, Assou and many others. When we first called them, did they respond to our invitation ? The big answer to this is capital NO. It is only when they realized that they could not play in the country in which they were hoping to play that they responded to our invitation. That is what the writer is crying about. That why can’t these guys come to the country to play without someone chaising them ? Let us join voices together with the writer and tell our brothers and sisters abroad that even if they have double or triple nationality, they should always remember that they are cameroonians and should be ready to defend the country anytime. That is the point.

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 10:55, par Ralph En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Hi All,
    I can not imagine someone will wake up and write such a none sense article on this website. I am baffled that a Cameroonian in this day and age will take such a stance. I reside abroad and have a foreign passport and proudly loyal to my country of adoption. Does that make me a lesser Cameroonian than those back home ? My children are all born abroad but they all know where their true roots are and they are very proud of that. Given a chance one day they will represent Cameroon...

    For someone to come here and infer that those players with foreign passports should not be asked to play for Cameroon is ridiculous and stupid at best. Must we forget that P Mboma and Etame Mayer where exactly in the same category ? How short sighted can you be ? The biggest price we’ve ever won in Football (i.e. the olympic games) was done so with an unbelievable contribution from those you call « foreign players ».

    I am not sure you’ve got a TV screen to watch Ntep and Ngando... These are extremely gifted and talented players and it would be an absolute privilege if they agreed to play for Cameroon. Your position makes me wonder if you are Cameroonian yourself. Maybe a Nigerian in disguise !

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 13:08, par babyoh En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Aah-Nganaah, Eh-Kieh !!!! As fondly said by JJ.
    Leon Gwod !!!
    Each time you google translate your article, there must be some polemics either in your translation or its content . I am sure that the rubbish you have written has made readers forgot the English assassination you constantly make.
    Though you slightly improved this time , I am pleading that you get an English literate person to edit your articles for it to be more comprehensible.
    It is avery unfortunate that Leon Gwod also goes under cover names like Numfor Andrew and Randy Nfor to react to his own article so as to influence public opinion.
    This is honestly one of the worst articles I have ever read.
    Barack Obama is a Kenyan but an American President. I have hardly heard Americans calling him kENYAN
    Yannick Noah is a Cameroonian but played for France. French people hail him
    More thn 50% of French players are Africans and everyone is cool about it but for the Politician Jean- Marie Le Pen.
    There was a Cameroonian who was mayor in France.
    Who is that person who does not prefer better compensation or conditions of work.
    Leon Gwod if today you are offered a good job abroad I am sure you shall immediately run away from Camfoot.
    You truly have a complex and a projected aggression against those abroad.
    Can you truly tell us the intentions of this article.
    SHAME ON YOU MY BROTHER for calling Cameroonians Half Breed. You are a true son of Hitler

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    • Le 13 janvier 2014 à 00:58, par Jonahson En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

      M Babyoh,
      Stop being pitiful. Why don’t you google M Gwod to learn about him and his accomplishments through life ? You keep alluding to his articles being a translation from google . Are you serious ? FYI Mr Gwod made his living as one of the brightest professional interpreter/translators across four continents starting with the central bank of Canada at Ottawa in the late 70’s, to retiring a year ago from the African Development Bank in Abidjan/Tunis as a teminologist. Leon Gwod is not Banyangue, he is Bassa from Ngambe, and a former star student of the faculty of letters and social studies of the university of yde in the early 70’s before moving to Canada for graduate studies on full scholarship where he studied translation and interpretation. He then was hired by the central bank of Canada in Ottawa in 1978, left the bank in 1997 as Chief of the linguistics division to join the African Development Bank in Abidjan. Google him, knucklehead..
      Take this advice, stop commenting in English. You lack command of the language.

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 14:51, par Ralph En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    Very good points Babyoh... I think this is an incredibly bad attitude for someone to have. Every Cameroonian, irrespective of where they reside/born have got the right to represent Cameroon. Still can’t get my head around what this guy is trying to achieve.

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  • Le 9 janvier 2014 à 15:16, par PICKING BALL En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    It is a shame to wirte and a disgrace to publish this thing you call an article, I am not even sure your a journalist. How much better are you than them ? what good have you done to this country yourself than those who go on the pitch and work for their country just for you to sit and call them helf breed. it is a shame inshort you should be fired.

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  • Le 10 janvier 2014 à 00:39, par alianmoise En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    I will first of all qualify the one who wrote this as an imbecile, because this is rubbish he wrote here. I am a 100% cameroonian from Akom2 and I live in Australia actually I have young kids that are really showing good future in soccer. so according to you if they play for Cameroon they will be import as you qualify them. how stupid are you ? I always tell my kids they are Cameroonian even if they hold other passports and they are proud of that. do you think you are more cameroonian than a kid born in a different country from a Cameroonian father ? even if the mum is from a different nationality. what is your intellectual level ? do not write for the sake of writting. as you wrote like an idiot I have to consider you as one.

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  • Le 22 janvier 2014 à 10:27, par Joachim Arrey En réponse à : Desperately seeking half-breeds

    I have read these reactions and I think it is outright wrong to use foul language against a distinguished writer like Leon Gwod. Those of us who know Mr. Gwod have nothing but praises for the strength of his pen. He has been a senior colleague both in the translation and writing fields and I sincerely think that instead of lambasting him, we should rather take a long and hard look at his piece to find the beauty in it.

    Besides, there is no pride living abroad as someone highlighted in his reaction to Mr. Gwod’s nice piece. But I must mention that before most of you ever thought of living abroad, Mr. Gwod was already tired of living out there. He loved the continent of his birth and had to leave a prestigious job in Ottawa to come to Africa to make a modest contribution to the continent’s development efforts.

    For those of us who lived in Canada to see him produce exciting articles for various media outlets in Ottawa, we cannot but advise those on this forum to show some modesty and respect for a senior who is quietly resting in Edea after decades of hard work. Mr. Gwod is an African to the core and higlighting the weaknesses that are undermining our soccer in Cameroon does not make him less of a Cameroonian. Like the French would say, Qui aime bien, chatit bien. Mr. Gwod loves his country and soccer and will continue to pontificate as that is one of his areas of predilection. Tonton, keep advising on the way forward.

    Joachim Arrey.

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