opinionBy Fred Vubem Toh
Though football is not an exact science, certain factors could have led to the dismal performance of the Lionesses.
The Indomitable Lionesses went to Equatorial Guinea with high hopes of clinching the continental trophy for the first time. Confidence was further spurred by the gold medal won by the Lionesses during the last All African Games in Maputo and experience gained in their maiden participation at the Olympic Games in London.
But this dream was cut short by a stunning 0-2 defeat against the host nation in the semi-final. The premature ousting therefore raises eye brows as to what could have gone wrong with the Indomitable Lionesses. The diagnosis is simple given that the ailment is common to all categories of national football teams in Cameroon. More so, feminine football in Cameroon is treated with levity. Hence, in addition to the age-old problem of inadequate preparation, the Lionesses were amputated of their vital strike force, not motivated enough and simply didn't have the turf of a champion.
The Lionesses began their preparation late unofficially at the impetus of the coach, Enow Ngachu, before being given the means to officially begin the preparation, while other countries like Equatorial Guinea were far in their preparation, naturalising foreign talents, organising tournaments and playing friendly matches. Even when the lionesses officially went into camp, not all the players were present and professionals only joined the squad one week to the kick-off of the competition without enough time for team cohesion between the amateurs and professionals.
More so, some key players of the squad like Siliki, Ediangue and Ajara couldn't be part of the expedition due to the refusals of their clubs to release them claiming the tournament doesn't feature on the FIFA calendar, thereby depriving the Lionesses of their vital strike force.
Though the bonuses paid to the Lionesses witnessed a significant increase, it is nothing compared to their counterparts in the tournament. While the Lionesses were receiving one million francs for a match won, the Nzalang National of Equatorial Guinea were receiving six million each. Hence the incentive wasn't strong enough especially as the Equatorial Guinea side has eight Cameroonians. This could sap the morale of the Lionesses and subject them to manipulation by opponents who could use unorthodox means to win. That notwithstanding, Cameroon did not have the turf of a champion as they failed to produce the best of the art in the tournament