Contributed by Nkafu Gabriel
The 2019 world cup campaign for the Cameroon under 17 Football lions has come to an end in Brazil on a rather very disappointing note. The lions bowed out of the world cup after failing to impress in all their three group stage matches.
The Baby lions lost their very first match against little known Tajikistan by 2 -1. It did not get any better as they also lost their second match to Argentina by 3 goals to 1. At this point, Coach Thomas Libii and his boys could only hope to defeat Spain in their last group game with a high goal margin in order to qualify for the next stage on the basis of being one of the best third place teams. However, hope failed them as the young Spaniards eventually trashed the baby lions by 2 goals to 0.
It’s still extremely difficult for many to understand how and why the U-17 lions of Cameroon who are currently African Champions had such a poor performance at the competition, recording three defeats, no game won, scoring a single goal, a five goals deficit and no point obtained.
Unlike Cameroon, Africa’s other representatives at the world cup, Angola, Nigeria and Senegal all qualified for the knockout stage after obtaining a total of 6 points each at the group stage. Football analysts have blamed the poor performance of Cameroon at the competition on the 2014 Presidential decree that prohibits foreign based players from playing in junior international tournaments. Remember, 6 foreign based players who all trained with the under 17 lions including Etienne Eto’o were all excluded from the final 23 man squad as a result of this decree. To these analysts, if the U-17 lions must do well in other future competitions, then this law must be revisited.