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Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux
Lynch Bages, a last surprise, was climax, crown and seal. I will perhaps forget your beautiful eyes, but never ever will I forget this meal. (Robert Parker).


As we plod along towards our umpteenth and futile foray into World Cup play, sitting here watching a gradually disappearing bottle of Pauillac, I am reminded of some great moments of football that I know I am very unlikely to re-experience on the Cameroon side of things.Great wine breeds melancholy, doesn’t it ?

Le 17 mai 2014

Whichever way you look at it though, 1990 was a meaningful year, an unforgettable moment actually, even though we know, in retrospect, that we got very lucky then. But who cares really how we got there as long as we chalked up a respectable performance through a combination of nifty ball-playing and a fair measure of « ntong » ? Is it not how football games are won and reputations made ? Wouldn’t you kill to experience or re-experience the madness and the pride we basked in that year ?To strut our legendary smugness one more time on foreign soil ?

That, I believe, will not happen again anytime soon. I am a hardened Brazil-skeptic, and if 2010 in South Africa was an embarrassment, I bet this time around will be remembered at best as a humbug.

Granted, there is always a chance in football. Pinning our hopes on luck is certainly no folly in our case, as one single game in Portugal showed how far back we could be on the world stage. The fact that we will be the only nation going to Brazil without a duly elected chief executive officer is another damning factor that shows the sorry state of football governance in our country. Governance has always been a recurrent issue ; there is nothing new on this front. But we used to perform reasonably well, regardless. What is newer is that, in the last ten years or so, we have been bad as well on the pitch. The situation on both fronts is not particularly conducive to luck coming our way.

But « le Cameroun, c’est le Cameroun », right ? Or « qu’importe le flacon, pourvu qu’on ait l’ivresse », n’est-ce pas ? Bull. Because we do not play by the rules of Cameroon. We are talking here about a world scene where competence, hard work and accountability are blended together for the pursuit of one single goal, i.e. winning football paramount trophy. For our country, cracking a spot on the 4 to 8 best list in the world would be a tremendous achievement.

So, do we measure up ? Can we deliver ? Hardly. For a start, we just do not have enough talent on the pitch, and it does not matter whether you take all the Kamenis, the Songs, the Chedjous and all the rest and blend them with other ballplayers made Cameroon nationals by virtue of a hastily-delivered national passport, the line-up you could field against Croatia is still very ordinary indeed. Then there is the Cameroonian scourge : we never learn, we know it all and we never care.

Yes, there is really more than one way to skin a cat. And football is just another human activity. We play it our way, they play it their way. The problem is that they win and we don’t. Their way is arguably the better way. We could learn from the best, even steal from them. But I’d rather bet on the time-honoured quality of Lynch Bages than on the will of all of Cameroon to finally skin our cat the better way.

Léon Gwod



Vos commentaires

  • Le 17 mai 2014 à 09:40, par DannyDan En réponse à : Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux

    Mr Gwod. You are a big time narcissist and like the mythological figure you shall drown under the spell of your self-love and self righteousness. You dandily make allusion to a 9 year old bottle of wine that has no link to the story. You are a perfect example of an « assimilE » who throws his weight around in every conversation as if a bottle of Bordeaux bestows upon you a higher intellience that we, drinkers of ’matango’ do not have. Why you trod on with this path of self righteousness is in itself apocryphal. Shame on you !

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  • Le 17 mai 2014 à 10:44, par ngufor En réponse à : Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux

    Yes I do agree that is very unlikely to see what happen in 1990 world cup with our national team happen again. As you explained in your writing that filling all the chedjous and kaminis cannot play against Crotia ????. croatia got just 3 players I can say are well known ( modric, manzukic, Ivan rakitic ). The rest of their players are less average than us. Their secret is discipline and team spirit which we lack. Then remember the same 1990 Cameroon vs Argentina 1990 were Cameroon players were unknown. Is even much better now. Well to conclude I will rather say only hard work, commitment, team spirit and discipline (eto’o ???) and blessing from God will help us through…

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    • Le 23 mai 2014 à 16:36, par fan_237 En réponse à : Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux

      Yeah, and if I may add, neither does Mexico have stand out names in their squad. If only we had some form of team spirit then we would stroll our way out of this Group. That in itself will be an accomplishment for a nation which in so many WC participations has gone beyond the first round only once !

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  • Le 22 mai 2014 à 10:42, par Nsakè En réponse à : Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux

    Je n’aime pas ça. A 7 heures du matin tu nous mets le pinard ? Et quelle bouteille ? Laisse nous brosser d’abord les dents et prendre un jus de fruit au petit déjeuner.
    Merci pour tous ces souvenirs.

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  • Le 28 mai 2014 à 15:14, par KUJEPA En réponse à : Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux

    Mr. Leon can you please pin down what you believe could be the best suggestions to solve Cameroon recurrent problems as well as the time table that could go with them.

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  • Le 25 juillet 2014 à 14:29, par Stéphanie En réponse à : Under the spell of (great) Bordeaux

    Super site, encore un article au top, en bref, je t’adore vraiment ! Stéphanie de

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