Our Champions League and other lowly professional footballers do not drive jaunty jalopies for sure, but rather sleek Mercedeses and fancy Porsches. They have achieved fame, money and recognition. Still, they have lied, cheated and they continued to lie and cheat, spurred on by the whole of Cameroon where rogue and unethical behavior is no barrier to popular acclaim and will not put a tiny dent on social nor professional preferment. Welcome to Cameroon, the land of the ugly footballer.
Remember Ngwatt Mahop? A young man encouraged to cheat by those who are paid to uphold moral integrity in the game and exonerated by the whole population of a nation because cheating and rule-bending are a way of life in Cameroon and nobody seldom gets caught and pays for it.
Now Edel Apoula. Armenian. Cameroonian, certainly and truly. The EdelApoula affair is of course a blatant humbug. This is a study in deceit and unscrupulous behavior, all of which stems from one source : moral wretchedness at every corner and at every layer of the Cameroon society.
We lie and cheat and we know it. We are suspected of cheating and lying everywhere we travel. Our official documents are laughable; our diplomas raise suspicion; the ages we present are more than often subjected to scrutiny. We are vilified, perhaps not openly, but surely. And we know it, and we do not care a tiny bit.
How many Cameroon footballers, duly licensed by the Fédération camerounaise de football, do you believe have not tampered with their birth certificates or other official documents? Don’t we know that the football governing body and other sport authorities send players to events worldwide knowing full well that they have cheated on their ages and sometimes used false identities?
If you cheat and get caught, you should pay for it. Personal responsibility and integrity remain cardinal virtues in society. Whether you play football or the flute. NgwattMahop got caught. He is paying for it: his career may never be anything close to what it could have been otherwise. As for Apoula (whatever), he is winning on the court of law, but he is sure to lose on the court of public opinion in Europe. Cameroon does not count here. Apoula’s career will fade away sooner than later. Cheating is despicable, and nobody, even born Cameroonians, should be allowed to get away with it.