Following Cameroon’s elimination from this year’s African Cup of Nations at the quarter finals, Mr Mohammed Iya, president of the Cameroon Football Federations says though it’s a the disappointment, Cameroonians can’t lament over it. He says the way forward is to learn the lessons and make corrections in future competitions. The president thinks that some of the corrections will affect the defence as it was not normal for defenders to all rush up front struggling to score against Nigeria and let the team fall in the counter attack trap.
It was a huge disappointment for Cameroon to be eliminated by Nigeria at the quarter finals of the Nations Cup.
In deed I feel very disappointed. We were not expected to terminate the competition at this stage. Unfortunately, that is the case. That’s sport and there is nothing we can do about it. We’ll have to learn our lessons and see how to continue searching for success in the future competitions.
Has the federation sat down with the team to diagnose the causes of Cameroon’s elimination?
Not yet because it is too early to make a proper analyses. Certainly, in the days ahead we will have the opportunity to discuss with the technical staff. For now it is too early to draw conclusions.
Voices are already being heard calling for the sacking of head coach Winfried Schaefer. What does the federation think about this?
For me there is no debate on the sacking or not of Mr. Schaefer. The federation has full confidence in him. I have always argued that we need a coach for a long term objective. We can not always change coaches once there is a defeat. That will mean having new faces and new policies in every difficult corner of the team. No, there must be some continuity and stability at the head of the team. We can’t win all the time. In sports, you win and lose. What is important is that we learn from the defeats and make corrections.
What about the problem with the new kits of Cameroon. FIFA banned Cameroon from using the kits. But Cameroon has continued to use the jersey. Has there been any statement from FIFA?
No, there has been no official statement from FIFA. May be there have been some comments, but no official statement yet. However, I must remark that the Nations Cup is a CAF competition and CAF was not against the use of the kits by Cameroon. So I did not see why we could not have used the kits right up to where we were eliminated.
After the elimination what next for the federation?
I think we have to sit down and analyse the situation. Of course we lost, but we must also admit that we were quite unlucky. The ball hit the post and went in for Nigeria’s second goal. But when our own turn came it hit the post and went out.
Now the coaches have a lot of home work to do. I think they have to do something about the defence. It was not normal, I must admit, that every body was trying to score. They all went up front, leaving a lot of space for the opponents behind them. They just wanted to score and forgot about defending and we trapped in a counter attack.
Any last words?
I think the fans, should still have confidence in the team, the federation and the government. Life is a permanent battle. We must continue to fight hard to remain on top. We cannot refuse ourselves the aim of staying on top, so we shall continue to work to merit our status.
The must important thing is that we learn our lessons. You also know that Cameroon have always edged Nigeria in crucial games. That situation was bound to change one day and that day has come, we have to accept it. We have been defeated today. There is no reason why we’ll not win tomorrow. It’s as simple as that.
Martin Etonge and Jean Jacques Mouandjo, Monastir