The national team of Cameroun just exited from the World Cup with their heads high and as a lover of football and the fact that I am an African, I supported this team all through out. Yes, the composition of the team saw no “Anglophone” apart from the coach who is said to have a Francophone upbringing though an Anglophone himself. I do not know whether Anglophone ladies do not play football or whether they play and could not be selected. What I know is that, at all fabric of national life in that country called Cameroun, there is a systemic and continues marginalisation of Anglophones.
Some people have been quick to say both Francophones and Anglophones are subjects to Biya’s policies and poor administration.They said though the Anglophone problem is real, the Francophones too are suffering from the hardship caused by Paul Biya. I think in other African countries, all citizens faced the bad governance of their government whether they belong to the government party or not, it is a cankerworm in Africa.
In Cameroon both Anglos and Francos faced the bad governance of Paul Biya and are also subjected to similar hardship like any other Africans will face in their country but that is not the Anglophone problem.I prefer to call it the Southern Cameroons question.Let me however use the term Anglophone for easy understanding (Anglophone herein refers to Southern Cameroons). The Anglophone problem is unique and can be compared to no other problem in Cameroon. The Anglophone problem is that of assimilation, annexation, in fact it is a constitutional problem involving a state whose people have become stateless. The only solution is restoring that state and there are just two ways in restoring that state depending on what the people of Southern Cameroons will vote for.
Now when it comes to football, supporting the lionese does not mean supporting the Biya’s regime or supporting the pain inflicted on the people of southern Cameroons as a result of the Anglophone problem.People should be able to differentiate these things. I have seen Southern Cameroonians supporting the Camerounese team, there is nothing wrong with that, I supported the team and so what?. When we support English, Italian, Spanish, French football clubs and even bet money on them, does that make us English, Spanish or Italian? Are not these the same people who colonised us and put us where we are, yet we support and enjoy their teams. Most of us support basketball played in USA, we watched their films and series , we argue over their actors on who is best or not and do not even recognised our own African film actors and comedians, what does that signify?
In most football competitions, some of us would support Brazil, Germany, USA , France etc, does that make us their citizens?. Are not these the same people who captured our parents into slavery, colonised us and created boundaries in Africa? So therefore my friends who are southern Cameroons activists should not get worked up when the Cameroun team is being supported by Southern cameroonians, they must be able to put things in context.When it comes to football, because of the love and art of the game, it is a different ball game entirely.If you hate anything camerounese that is your problem for freedom does not come from hatred. Freedom comes from love despite the terrible things inflicted upon you by the occupier.This is what Ghandi, Martin Luther, Mandela showed.
Like it is popularly said within Christian cycles, hate the sin and not the sinner. Hating anything Camerounese or hating Francophones because of the mess our parents both Anglophone and Francophone politicians together with the complicity of France and UK put us cannot and will not solve the Southern Cameroons question. Freedom comes from love and justice and only these virtues can get us to the promise land.
God is still saying something.