Cameroon: Finally, 'Indomitable Lions' Receive World Cup Houses

Members of the Cameroon national football team at the 1990 Fifa World Cup in Italy will finally receive houses promised them by the country's president, Paul Biya 30 years ago.

On Thursday, the president ordered that 22 modern houses be handed to members of the squad that made the country and Africa proud by reaching the last eight of the competition--the first time an African country reached that level.

Though coming 30 years after the long serving leader promised the squad, beneficiaries have saluted the gesture.

Roger Milla, Cameroon's most prominent player at the Italia '90 World Cup, described the fulfilment of the presidential promise as concrete recognition of their contribution towards soccer development in the country.

Speaking on state radio Friday, Milla also called on authorities in the country to go further by involving more former internationals in the management of football in the country.

Francois Omam-Biyick who gave his side the all-important goal in the opening game against Argentina said he too is very happy that finally the president has honoured his promise.

"I am very happy and say thank you to the president of the republic. This gratification of giving houses to the 1990 players is very important," he said.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon demonstrated a record-breaking run at the tournament, defeating Argentina, Romania and Colombia at the group stage of the competition before being eventually knocked out by England in extra-time.

The delay in the fulfilment of the presidential promise, was allegedly caused by then Cameroon Minister for Sports and Physical Education who inflated the original list of 22 players to 44 and officials couldn't handle such a huge number.

Authorities of the Cameroon Real Estate Corporation (SIC) were waiting for an authentication letter and names of beneficiaries from the minister who was rather sacked months after tournament.

Bertin Ebwelle, president of the association of former players of the national team, used the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Italia '90 tournament to send a letter to the president reminding him of the unfulfilled promise.

The letter was speedily transmitted to the presidency through the current Minister of Sports and Physical Education who responded Thursday, asking the General Manager of the Cameroon Real Estate Corporation to hand keys of modern houses to the players.

This is happening at the time when the body of the captain of the Italia '90 squad, Stephen Tataw is still at a Yaounde mortuary awaiting burial. Tataw and two others; Benjamin Massing and Louis Paul Mfede will not personally enjoy the house having died before the promise was fulfilled.

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