25 December 2012

Cameroon: Grandiose End of 2012 Sports Season

The 2012 sports season in Cameroon is now history but memories of its end are still fresh in the minds of actors and could linger on for some time. Bright as Sunday December 23 was to bid farewell to the season, the presence of the Head of State, Paul Biya, to chair the 53rd Cameroon football cup final, which usually rounds off the season, was an icing on the cake.

The main actors of the day, Unisport of Bafang and New Stars of Douala drew unprecedented crowds to the battle ground, the Omnisport Stadium, in the Mfandena neighbourhood in Yaounde. The supporters of the two clubs, as well as spectators, started trooping into the showground even before midday with their dance groups and fan clubs. And when the presidential motorcade got into the stadium at about 3:15 pm, all the actors (players and match officials, presidents of different sport federations and youth to stage scintillating choreography displays) were already lined up, each ready to act best to produce the spectacle needed of the feast.

From the time the Minister of Sports and Physical Education, Adoum Garoua welcomed the Head of State as he alighted from the presidential limousine, to the handing over of a bouquet of flower to President Paul Biya by a young school girl to the singing of the national anthem and the review of troops, seriousness could be perceived in the air. The communion was total as the Head of State shook hands with all players, officials and presidents of different sport federations before occupying his seat at the presidential tribune wherein Cabinet Ministers and other senior State functionaries were already seated.

The beautiful choreographic display by youth where national unity was depicted, brandishing banners with messages like, "Adequate and quality infrastructure for future victories," "Sports in Cameroon, a uniting force," and "Ten regions and one nation behind the Head of State," held onlookers spellbound as they joined the Head of State to cheer in amusement.

Throughout the 90+5 minutes of the game, President Paul Biya applauded some of the rare spectacular moves exhibited by Unisports and New Stars. On the pitch, experienced triumphed over youthful exuberance. Unisports' consistency in the cup final (three-time finalist without a trophy) was rewarded as two goals in the first half of the game gave them the coveted trophy and the FCFA 10 million cash prize, relegating the new and inexperienced New Stars to the runners up spot. The victory quenched the taste of the Bafang club, ended their trophy drought in the previous cup races and also booked them a place in the prestigious African Confederation Cup next season. The event that started well ended as such with the Head of State handing over medals and trophies not only to footballers but also to all the other disciplines to exit the 2012 sports season and for efforts to be redoubled to make the next one even better.

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