Cameroonian football has always known how to reinvent itself. The proof: for years, he was mainly talked about for cases of unpaid or misappropriated bonuses, and preferably before – and even during, showmanship requires – a major competition, such as the World Cup or the CAN.
The journalists responsible for following the news of the Indomitable Lions still remember the innumerable tantrums and headaches between the players, their federation and the government responsible for paying the bonuses, the threats of strikes, the palavers which drag on until at the end of the night, and suitcase carriers sent by Yaoundé to calm the conflicts.
A total of 807,000 euros
This time, when everything had been negotiated according to the rules of the art between all the parties concerned, and the amount of the bonuses had to be kept secret, this one – opportunely? – leaked on social networks. We thus learn that Rigobert Song, the coach, pocketed 31,175 euros, and his four assistants (Sébastien Migné, Augustine Simo, Souleymanou Hamidou, Raphaël Fèvre) 19,000 euros each. That is as much as the bonus granted to each of the 27 players selected for the double confrontation with Algeria (0-1, 2-1) last March and to the team doctor. Bill Tchato, the former international, for his part received a little less: his bank account was credited with €17,580.
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Raymond Kall, “team manager”, was rewarded with €14,900, a little more than the video analyst (€12,185), the physiotherapist (€10,150), the two security guards, the press and the two stewards in charge of equipment (€9,480). Finally, at the very bottom of the document which should never have been found on social networks, an attendance bonus, awarded to two people to date unidentified, and for a total amount of €29,100. In the end, the qualification of the Indomitable Lions will have cost €807,630 to the state budget.
Those behind this public unboxing have pulled it off
The disclosure of this document obviously had its small effect. The Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot) quickly published a press release to deplore the leak of a document whose only recipient was the Ministry of Sports. Some Cameroonians see it as the hand of political power, which would have had little taste for the spectacular exit of Samuel Eto’o, president of Fecafoot, on June 9 after the victory against Burundi (1-0) in Dar es Salaam, during qualifications for CAN 2023.
“His speech in the locker room was premeditated, since he was wearing a lavalier microphone. And there is not a single reference to the role of the state with the Lions. I can assure you that this displeased some of the political leaders, blows a close friend of the selection. Here, many people believe that this leak was organized by the political milieu. Those who are at the origin of this public unpacking have succeeded: remind everyone that it is the state that pays, not the federation. This scenario is not far-fetched, as Samuel Eto’o has attracted the enmity of certain senior politicians.
Two unidentified beneficiaries
Journalist at CRTV-Radio, Raphaël Nkoa echoes another controversy raised by the disclosure of these payments: “Regarding this attendance bonus, two beneficiaries have not been identified. It gets people talking, people are trying to find out who it is. Another debate concerns the usefulness of the bonuses received by Cameroonian players playing in Europe, the Persian Gulf or the United States, for whom these sums represent only a tiny part of their comfortable salaries.
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This sensitive question should resurface with the approach of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, since Fifa will pay 8.6 million euros to each of the 32 federations concerned. An amount that will increase according to the course of the selections. Speaking in the Dar es Salaam locker room, Eto’o told the Lions that he was aiming to win the competition. The winner of the World Cup should pocket 40 million euros, paid by Fifa. If Cameroon manages to rise to the top of world football, it promises joyful – and juicy – negotiations.