The father of Cameroon’s international Pius Ndiefi, Stephen Ndiefi, has made interesting revelations about his days as a national team player himself. Speaking exclusively to The Herald at his Kumba residence, Pa Ndiefi explained the family football roots. He played for the national team between 1966 and 1969, before the team was baptised the Indomitable Lions.
Pa Ndiefi’s team mates included the famous Mbappe Leppe Samuel. He recalled some of the great games they had.
In 1966 they had a World Cup qualifier against Nigeria. It was one all in Lagos during the away game.
« I equalised for Cameroon. Two weeks later, in the Akwa stadium in Douala, we lost 0-1, with Mbappe Leppe losing a penalty. Many people accused Mbappe of having taken money from the Nigerians to throw the penalty away. But it was all false. »
Pa Ndiefi recalled that football then did not fetch much money like today. « When we went to Nigeria for that game, we were given 20 pounds (about 20.000 FCFA today) and when we returned we were given 8000 FCFA ».
Even when President Ahmadou Ahidjo promised each of them a Fiat car, they never got it. « The whole thing was wrapped up in politics », Pa Ndiefi regretted.
Born in 1939, Pa Ndiefi started playing football in primary school before joining Prisons Buea and Kumba Rangers also known as Kumba Federation. He disclosed that apart from Pius, two other sons – Macdonald and Terence – play football in France. But they have not hit the headlines yet. In deed it was Macdonald who made it to the top in Cameroon before Pius.
Pa Ndiefi praised the method of selection of players into the national team in his days.
To him it was more transparent than today. He was one of the four players from the South West province in the national team before 1970.
On how he reacts when watching Pius play, Pa Ndiefi said football was a team game and when Pius scores it is for the nation, not for an individual.
He wished that his son should play football for as long as God willed.
Pa Ndiefi was offered ten crates of Brasseries du Cameroun drinks to entertain guests each day Cameroon played during the Korea Japan World Cup.