Voice of America (Washington, DC)

22 June 2014

Cameroon Fans Do Not Give Up On Ousted Team

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Alexander Song apologises for a foul in Cameroon's clash with Mexico.

In World Cup football action Monday, Cameroon will play against Brazil, in Brasilia. Brazil needs a victory to qualify for the next round, while Cameroon has not had a chance of advancing at this World Cup. After two chaotic games, Cameroonian fans hope their national team will play better.

In the few blocks near Mane Garrincha stadium, hotels have seen many fans from around the world since the kick-off of the World Cup tournament. But the Cameroonian group here is quite small.

It is not a surprise as many fans have already left Brazil, heartbroken by the performance of the Indomitable Lions during the first two games. Businessman Nylot Tapet is one of the few who decided to stay.

He says Cameroon fans are still here, but although discouraged they will keep cheering for the Lions. He says they will not change their nationality because the team has been ousted from the Cup, and even though they will not advance to the next round the fans will enjoy the game.

The trip to Brazil was very expensive for Cameroonian fans - between $7,800 and $8,700, according to Laurent Njiki, the tour organizer.

Now he, a former Cameroon soccer player, is running against time, and money. Some fans left their hotels without paying and he does not know how he will be able to compensate and make money.

He says it is getting difficult because some just left, so he is working hard to find a solution and find money. Njiki says the tour group returns home on June 25th, but he will leave on the 26th to make sure there is no issue. He says Cameroonians have a notorious reputation for not paying, and he does not want that to continue.

Nevertheless, the few Cameroonian fans remaining in Brasilia do not give up. They hope Samuel Eto'o and his teammates will proudly represent their country and prove the Lions are better than the poor image that they have shown so far.

Moise Kamgan, an accountant, says he hopes the team will restore Cameroon's image even though they are ousted. He adds that against such a big team like Brazil, the players have an obligation to show that Cameroon is still a great country for soccer.

Will the Indomitable Lions please their fans? The answer comes late Monday.

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