Switzerland Edge Serbia To Make World Cup Last 16

Switzerland’s players celebrate their win in the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Serbia and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)


Switzerland booked a last-16 showdown with Portugal at the World Cup on Friday after a 3-2 win over Serbia in a bad-tempered match secured them second place in Group G.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected strike put the Swiss ahead but Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fine header brought Serbia level at Stadium 974.

Dusan Vlahovic then gave Serbia the lead only for Breel Embolo to equalise before half-time.

Remo Freuler’s brilliant goal early in the second half sent the Swiss through to the knockout rounds for the fourth time in five World Cups.

Bad blood marred the meeting between the teams at the 2018 tournament, when Granit Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated goals by making pro-Kosovo gestures that enraged the Serbs.

Tempers flared in the second half on Friday after Serbia appealed for a penalty, with the stadium announcer calling for an end to “all discriminatory chants and gestures” around 15 minutes later.

Switzerland, who had their destiny in their own hands, nearly struck inside 30 seconds but Embolo’s attempt was well blocked by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who palmed away the follow-up from Xhaka.

Serbia’s Andrija Zivkovic rattled the post from distance with a sweet curling effort and Vlahovic bundled the rebound straight into goalkeeper Gregor Kobel’s arms.

READ ALSOAlves Sets Record As Brazil Make Nine Changes For Cameroon Clash

Shaqiri strikes 

Shaqiri missed Switzerland’s 1-0 loss to Brazil but returned with a bang as he fired his side in front on 20 minutes.

Ricardo Rodriguez speared a cross into the box which was cleared straight to Djibril Sow, who laid off for Shaqiri to sweep home via the leg of Strahinja Pavlovic in front of the Serbia fans.

This time there was no double eagle gesture. Instead, Shaqiri put his finger to his lips and pointed to the name on his shirt as a handful of bottles rained down.

Serbia hit back within minutes as Switzerland lost the ball in midfield, Dusan Tadic bending in a cross for Mitrovic to meet superbly and nod into the far corner.

Shaqiri steered wide under pressure from Pavlovic after timing his run perfectly to meet Rodriguez’s raking diagonal pass, but the Swiss then paid for another lapse in concentration.

They again ceded possession and Freuler watched on in dismay as his attempted interception served only to tee up Vlahovic to roll the ball beyond Kobel.

But Switzerland equalised a minute before the break as Sow picked out Silvan Widmer in acres of space on the right and his driven low cross was turned in by Embolo.

The Cameroon-born striker’s pressure on a lumbering Pavlovic gave Switzerland their third goal right after half-time, a brilliant team effort finished by Freuler.

Shaqiri clipped in a delicate ball after Embolo won it back high up, and Ruben Vargas’s cushioned backheel left Freuler to guide in from around the penalty spot.

Serbia appealed in vain for a penalty when Mitrovic theatrically fell to the ground, sparking an ugly flashpoint that led to reserve Serbia goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic being booked.

Substitute Christian Fassnacht spurned a late chance to ease Swiss nerves when clean through on goal.

An unseemly spat between Xhaka and Nikola Milenkovic threatened to boil over, but in the end the Swiss got over the line to set up a date with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.


Alves Sets Record As Brazil Make Nine Changes For Cameroon Clash

Brazil’s defender #13 Dani Alves warms up ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Cameroon and Brazil at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)


Dani Alves becomes the oldest player to represent Brazil at the men’s World Cup as the 39-year-old captains the tournament favourites in their final group game against Cameroon at Lusail Stadium on Friday.

Alves, who turned 39 in May and has since left Barcelona to play in Mexico, breaks the record that had been set by current teammate Thiago Silva, who is playing in this World Cup at the age of 38.

However, Alves falls short of the overall Brazilian record of Formiga, who played at the 2019 Women’s World Cup aged 41.

He is also a few months younger than Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson and Portugal defender Pepe, two 39-year-olds who have already played at this World Cup.

Coach Tite makes nine changes in total to the Brazil team that beat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday to clinch qualification for the last 16, with Eder Militao and Fred the only players retained.

Neymar is still sidelined with the sprained ankle he suffered in the favourites’ opening 2-0 victory against Serbia.

Brazil need a draw to be certain of winning the group and facing South Korea in the last 16.

READ ALSO: It Was ‘Important’ To Deny Uruguay World Cup Progression – Ghana’s Amartey 

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song brings in Vincent Aboubakar up front to captain his side, while Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu starts wide on the left and it is all change in central defence as Christopher Wooh and Enzo Ebosse both come in.

Devis Epassy continues in goal after Andre Onana was dropped for unspecified disciplinary reasons for Cameroon’s last game, a 3-3 draw with Serbia.

The Indomitable Lions have to win and hope Switzerland do not beat Serbia in the other Group G game being played simultaneously if they are to advance to the last 16.

Starting line-ups:

Cameroon (4-2-3-1)

Devis Epassy; Collins Fai, Christopher Wooh, Enzo Ebosse, Nouhou Tolo; Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Pierre Kunde; Bryan Mbeumo, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu; Vincent Aboubakar (capt)

Coach: Rigobert Song (CMR)

Brazil (4-4-2)

Ederson; Dani Alves (capt), Bremer, Eder Militao, Alex Telles; Antony, Fabinho, Fred, Rodrygo; Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli

Coach: Tite (BRA)

Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)


Brazil To Rest Key Players Against Cameroon Ahead Of Knockouts

Brazil players celebrate with supporters after they won the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 28, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)


Brazil coach Tite is set to follow the lead of France and rest key players for their final World Cup group game against Cameroon on Friday with their place in the last 16 in Qatar already secure.

The World Cup favourites meet Cameroon at the Lusail Stadium needing just a draw to secure top spot in Group G after starting their campaign with wins over Serbia and Switzerland.

Even a defeat would not stop them topping the section so long as the Swiss fail to win at the same time against Serbia, but France have already shown that changing most of your starting line-up does not necessarily work out.

The holders made nine changes for their final group game against Tunisia on Wednesday and put in a disjointed performance in a 1-0 defeat.

“I can only measure the players based on what they do on the field. It is a risk, yes, but it is an opportunity for them to show their quality,” Tite said when asked about the pitfalls of making too many alterations.

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Brazil will still be without Neymar and right-back Danilo, who both suffered ankle injuries against Cameroon, while left-back Alex Sandro is ruled out too.

Tite is expected to rest the likes of goalkeeper Alisson Becker, centre-back duo Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta, Vinicius Junior and Richarlison against a Cameroon side who have to win to stand a chance of progressing.

Among the players set to come into the side are Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, and veteran right-back Dani Alves.

The decision to include the 39-year-old Alves, who made his international debut in 2006, in the squad was criticised in some quarters in Brazil.

Alves, who missed the 2018 tournament due to injury, ended a second spell at Barcelona at the end of last season and is now playing club football in Mexico.

“I have been playing for Brazil for many years and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to close out this cycle by playing at a World Cup,” said Alves, who could be joined in Tite’s line-up by the likes of Antony and Gabriel Martinelli, who are aged 22 and 21 respectively.

“I have been here for 16 years and this is the most balanced squad we have had in that time,” he said.

“Age doesn’t matter in football. Whether you are the youngest or oldest, all that matters is if you are good enough.”

Brazil have lost just once in the first round of the World Cup since 1966, and that defeat in 1998 to Norway came after they had already sewn up top spot in the group.

If they top the group, they will play their last-16 tie on Monday against the runners-up in Group H, which features Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.


Cameroon Goalkeeper Onana Breaks Silence After Being Dropped From Team

Andre Onana. Twitter/@AndreyOnana


Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has spoken out after he was dropped from the team at the ongoing 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The Indomitable Lions’ coach Rigobert Song left out Onana for their second group match which they drew 3-3 with Serbia on Monday, deciding the go with Devis Epassy in goal. At the end of the game, the coach insisted that the Inter Milan goalkeeper must respect the rules before he could be allowed back into the team.

The Cameroon Football Federation released a statement reiterating its support for the coach, maintaining that it is to preserve discipline, solidarity, complementarity, and cohesion within the team. But Onana has given his own side of the story, citing differences between him and others on the team.

READ ALSO: Fernandes Double Sends Portugal Into World Cup Knock-Outs

“I want to express my affection for my country and the national team,” wrote Onana in a statement on his social media handles. “Yesterday, [Monday] I was not allowed to be on the ground to help Cameroon, as I always do, to achieve the team’s goals. I always behaved in a way to lead the team to success in a good manner.

“I have put all my efforts and energy into finding solutions to a situation that a footballer often experiences, but there has been no will on the other side. Some moments are difficult to assimilate. However, I always respect and support the decisions of the people in charge of pursuing the success of the national team and country.

“I extend all my strength to my teammates because we demonstrated that we are capable of going very far in this competition. The values that I promote as a person and as a player are the ones that identify me, and that my family has given me since my childhood. Representing Cameroon has always been a privilege. The nation first and forever.”

Toll In Cameroon Landslide Rises To 15



At least 15 people died when a landslide engulfed members of a funeral party in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, the local governor said on Monday.

The victims had gathered in marquees at the top of a hill for a memorial service on Sunday when the ground collapsed.

At least one of the tents and the people beneath it were swept away.

“We are now at 15 dead,” Naseri Paul Bea, governor of the Centre region which includes Yaounde, told AFP, updating an earlier death toll of 11.

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A dozen members of the fire brigade were shovelling away a huge mound of reddish soil at the foot of the hill to search for victims.

Nearby, a stream of people went to two houses to present their condolences to the newly-bereaved families.

Sunday’s service had been intended as a memorial tribute to five members of a local association who had died this year.

The disaster took place in Yaounde’s working-class district of Damas, on its eastern outskirts.

Four large white marquees remained on the hill’s summit, at the edge of what seemed to be a ridge, beyond which the ground had opened up, an AFP journalist saw.

The search had been suspended late Sunday evening.

Marie Claire Mendouga, 50, attended the ceremony but her tent was not affected by the landslide.

“We had just started to dance when the ground collapsed,” she told AFP on Sunday.

She said she “went to dig with my hands” to try to extract victims, and was still covered in brown clay.

Landslides occur relatively frequently in Cameroon, but they are rarely as deadly as Sunday’s incident.

Forty-three people were killed in the western city of Bafoussam in 2019, when a landslide triggered by heavy rains swept away a dozen flimsy dwellings built on the side of a hill.

Cameroon Fight Back To Draw World Cup Thriller With Serbia

Cameroon’s forward #13 Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Cameroon’s forward #11 Christian Bassogog applaud the fans after the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Cameroon and Serbia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 28, 2022. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)


Cameroon kept their hopes of making the last 16 of the World Cup alive on Monday after fighting back from two goals down to draw a thrilling Group G encounter with Serbia 3-3.

Rigobert Song’s team looked almost dead and buried after goals from Strahinja Pavlovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Aleksandar Mitrovic gave Serbia a 3-1 lead early in the second half.

But substitute Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting snatched a draw with two quick-fire strikes just after the hour mark to leave both Cameroon and Serbia on a single point, two behind group leaders Brazil and Switzerland.

Had they lost, Cameroon would have been relying on the Swiss beating Brazil in order to not be eliminated with a game to spare, but instead the west Africans still have a chance of getting out of the group stage for the first time since 1990.

Cameroon have a tough task ahead as they play Brazil in their final match, which they will reportedly play without first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana who was dropped from the matchday squad just hours before kick-off following an unspecified disciplinary issue.

Media reports suggest that Onana has been sent home from the World Cup after a disagreement with Song, but that pre-match turmoil didn’t stop Cameroon from putting in a fighting display against a Serbia team who probably deserved to win on the balance of play.

Asked by AFP whether he would start Cameroon’s final match, Onana’s replacement Devis Epassy said “you’ll have to ask the coach” and insisted there was no problem in the camp.

Serbia meanwhile have to hope Brazil beat the Swiss, otherwise, qualification will be taken out of their hands in the final round of Group G fixtures.

“We wanted all three points, we wanted to start this tournament with a win so it’s hard to take,” said substitute Marko Grujic.

“We need to take this point and watch the Brazil game tonight, hope that they win and then we hope to win against Switzerland.”

Mitrovic was almost invisible in Serbia’s defeat to Brazil but here he was involved from kick-off, the Fulham forward unlucky not to give Serbia the lead in the 11th minute when he crashed a shot off the post from a tight angle following a neat exchange of passes with Dusan Tadic.

– Cameroon comeback –

But Mitrovic only had himself to blame for not opening the scoring six minutes later, shanking an awful first-time finish wide when, after a mix-up in the Cameroon defence, the ball dropped at his feet with only Epassy to beat.

And Jean-Charles Castelletto punished the Serbs for Mitrovic’s miss in the 29th minute with the simplest of finishes after ghosting in at the back post to meet Nicolas Nkoulou’s flick-on at a corner.

Pierre Kunde then passed up a golden opportunity to double Cameroon’s lead in the 43rd minute and it was Cameroon’s turn to be undone at a set-piece when Pavlovic brilliantly headed home Tadic’s floated free-kick.

Serbia’s tails were up and Milinkovic-Savic flipped the match on its head two minutes later with a superb left-footed finish after Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa carelessly gave the ball away just outside his own penalty area.

Mitrovic finally had the goal his strong display deserved seven minutes after the break, tapping in Andrija Zivkovic’s pass unopposed at the end of a beautiful move guided by Milinkovic-Savic and Tadic.

The match looked over but from nowhere Cameroon sprang back into life thanks to Aboubakar’s odd goal.

The Al Nassr forward raced through onto Castelletto’s launched pass over the top and scooped an improbable finish over the Serbia’s keeper, beaming with delight after his goal was awarded following a VAR check.

Aboubakar’s pace caused Serbia all kinds of problems and he laid on Choupo-Moting’s leveller, bursting down the right and laying on a simple finish for the Bayern Munich forward which sparked wild celebrations on the pitch and in the stands.

Neither side could find a winner in an end-to-end finish to the game and their bids to make the knockouts will go down to the final game.

Landslide In Cameroon Kills At Least 11

A map of Cameroon, a Central African country of varied terrain and wildlife


A landslide in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde killed at least 11 people attending a funeral on Sunday, a local official told state media.

The victims had gathered at the top of a hill for a memorial service for five people when the ground collapsed under part of the audience.

“Some were sitting in a tent where there was a landslide early this evening,” Paul Bea, governor of the Centre region that includes Yaounde, told state radio. He added that rescue efforts were ongoing.

The search had been suspended late Sunday evening before a planned resumption on Monday morning, a rescue worker at the scene told AFP.

Marie Claire Mendouga, 50, attended the ceremony but her tent was not affected by the landslide.

“We had just started to dance when the ground collapsed,” she told AFP.

She said she “went to dig with my hands” to try to get people out from under the earth, and was still covered in the brown clay from the site.

Frantic search

The disaster took place in Yaounde’s working-class district of Damas, on its eastern outskirts.

Four large white tents were on the hill’s summit, at the edge of what seemed to be a ridge, beyond which the ground had disappeared, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Police pick-up trucks were hauling away bodies covered by white sheets early on Sunday evening.

A police cordon prevented journalists from getting closer to the scene.

Emergency services struggled to make their way to the site, as hundreds of people frantically searched for loved ones. Some in the crowd wept as emergency workers scoured the area.

By 10:00 pm (2100 GMT) the search had been called off.

A member of the emergency services who asked not to be named said the death toll remained at 11, and the search for more victims would resume Monday morning.

In the crowd behind the security cordon, tears were streaming down faces.

“I’m not sure if I’ll be able to sleep,” Mendouga said.

“You are sitting down, you have people behind you and afterwards, they’re dead.”

Landslides occur relatively frequently in Cameroon, but they are rarely as deadly as Sunday’s incident in Yaounde.

Forty-three people were killed in the western city of Bafoussam in 2019, when a landslide triggered by heavy rains swept away a dozen precarious dwellings built on the side of a hill.

Embolo’s Lone Strike Lifts Swiss To World Cup Win Over Cameroon

Toko-Ekambi being challenged by Xhaka during Switzerland and Cameroon World Cup encounter. Twitter/FIFA World Cup.

Breel Embolo scored against the country of his birth as Switzerland defeated Cameroon 1-0 to make a winning start to their World Cup campaign on Thursday.

Embolo struck three minutes into the second half at Al Janoub Stadium as Switzerland secured a vital three points in a group that includes tournament favourites Brazil and Serbia.

Cameroon have now lost their last eight World Cup matches going back to 2002.

Roger Milla was presented with an award before kick-off as the oldest goalscorer in World Cup history, a reminder of past glories for Cameroon who have won just one game since reaching the quarter-finals 32 years ago.

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, who played at four World Cups including with a 42-year-old Milla in 1994, opted for the in-form Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to lead the attack in place of usual captain Vincent Aboubakar.

African teams had made an encouraging start in Qatar after all five failed to get past the group stage in 2018, but Cameroon will regret not making more of a first half they controlled.

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Bryan Mbeumo fired at Yann Sommer after a superb ball through from Martin Hongla before Karl Toko Ekambi lashed over the rebound.

Sommer then got down low to save from Choupo-Moting after he pinched the ball away from Manuel Akanji, although a questionable foul was given against the Bayern Munich striker.

Silvan Widmer made a vital challenge to stop Toko Ekambi turning in a cross from Collins Fai and Sommer pushed away a weak effort by Hongla.

Akanji glanced wide at a corner as Cameroon switched off on the stroke of half-time but there was no such escape when they were again caught napping at the start the second half.

Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler worked the ball out wide on the right to Xherdan Shaqiri whose low cross into the area was swept home by an unmarked Embolo, who chose not to celebrate against his birth country.

Choupo-Moting neatly weaved his way past a couple of defenders in the box but couldn’t beat Sommer from a tight angle.

Andre Onana kept Cameroon in the game with a brilliant stop to deny Ruben Vargas who found himself completely free in an almost carbon copy of Embolo’s goal.

Only a desperate block prevented Haris Seferovic from adding a late second.

Song said the rankings meant nothing coming into the tournament, but Cameroon’s eighth World Cup appearance risks being brief with games to come against Serbia and Brazil.

[FULL TIME]: Tunisia Exit World Cup Despite Lone Goal Victory Over France

A FIFA World Cup trophy replica is pictured on the pitch as fireworks go off ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)


The World Cup kicked off with host nation Qatar facing Ecuador on Sunday as the month-long football showpiece finally gets underway after a tortuous 12-year build-up dogged by off-field controversies.

Foreign government officials, VIPs, and celebrities were in the crowd as the first World Cup staged in the Arab world opened at the Bedouin-tent-inspired Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, 50 kilometres (31 miles) outside of Doha.

Ecuador supporters cheer ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Ecuador supporters cheer ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)


The venue is one of an array of brand-new stadiums built for the tournament, which has cost Qatar an estimated $200 billion.

Refresh this page for live updates…

18:05  Tunisia exit the World cup as it is confirmed that Australia have beaten Denmark 1-0.

18:01: VAR diuallows Griezmam”s stike

France’s forward #07 Antoine Griezmann scores a goal which was later disallowed after a VAR review during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

17:57:  GOALLL, Griezmann draws France level at the death.

17:54: France continue their onslaught but the Tunisian defence hold strong.

17:52: France awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Tunisian box as Mbappe fires straight at Tunisia’s wall.

17:50: Eight minutes added on.

17:48: Mbappe works his way through Tunisia’s defence before firing off a shot from the left side of the box but Dahmen keeps the ball out.

France’s forward #10 Kylian Mbappe fights for the ball with Tunisia’s midfielder #18 Ghailene Chaalali during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)


17:41: Griezmann and Mbappe continue to pile pressure on Tunisia as the North Africans  stubbornly hold out a

17:41: France come again though and win a corner on the left, from which Disasi wins another setpiece. The second corner comes to nothing as Tunisia clear the ball away

17:40: Tunisia 1-0 France

17:50: It’s half-time in Qatar with the hosts two-nil down. Can they stage a comeback?

17:45: Five minutes of extra time have been added.

17:31: Valencia scores a header to double the lead for Ecuador.

17:16: Enner Valencia scores the first World Cup goal in Qatar after converting from the spot.

17:15: Saeed Al Sheeb becomes the first player to be booked in the tournament after he brought down Valencia in the penalty area.

17:05:  Enner Valencia heads in a goal but VAR cancels it for an offside against the forward.

17:00: The opening game of the competition kicks off between Qatar and Ecuador.


89-Year-Old Paul Biya Set For 40th Anniversary As Cameroon’s President

In this file photo, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya (C-L) and First Lady of Cameroon Chantal Biya (C-R) wave at the crowd during the opening ceremony of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football tournament at Stade d’Olembé in Yaounde on January 9, 2022. Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP


Cameroon’s 89-year-old president, Paul Biya, on Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of his rise to power amid splashy ceremonies where the word on everyone’s mind — succession — will almost certainly be absent.

The Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC), which Biya founded in 1985, says it will hold “a big party” up and down the country to mark the anniversary.

The festivities will celebrate “political stability and peace — the biggest successes of these last four decades in Cameroon,” said Herve Emmanuel Nkom, a member of the party’s central committee.

At the RDPC’s headquarters in Messa district, a couple of dozen party members were busy selling caps, scarves, shirts and multi-coloured garments emblazoned with Biya’s face.

“Lots of people come by and look — we get a lot of orders,” said Sylvie Beyala, 42, a party member for 20 years, next to a photo of a beaming Biya and the slogan “Unity, Progress, Democracy.”

The crowning event on Sunday will be a “regional mega-rally” in front of city hall in Yaounde, the capital, but no word has emerged as to whether Biya himself will attend.

The anniversary bash aims to divert attention away from “the crucial question,” said Stephane Akoa, a professor and researcher in political science.

“It’s not whether Cameroon is doing well or could be doing better, but how the president is,” he said.

Biya rose to the top job on November 6 1982 after seven years as prime minister.

He is only the second president in Cameroon’s history since the central African nation gained independence from France. He is also the continent’s longest-serving leader after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who seized power in 1979.

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Wily leader 

Cameroon President Paul Biya speaks as he meets with French former hostages at the presidential palace in Yaounde on April 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / REINNIER KAZE
In this file photo, Cameroon President Paul Biya speaks as he meets with French former hostages at the presidential palace in Yaounde on April 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO / REINNIER KAZE


Commentators ascribe Biya’s extraordinary political longevity to a mixture of astuteness and ruthlessness — he has a constellation of loyalists in key positions and crushes or sidelines opponents and rivals.

But his public outings, except for a few choreographed TV appearances, have become rarer and rarer in recent years, stoking speculation about his health.

Any official talk of succession is taboo, and none of the most visible figures around Biya has publicly uttered a word about entertaining any wish to succeed him.

“Ministers have fallen into disgrace just for thinking about a theoretical departure of the president,” said Aimee Raoul Sumo Tayo, a defence and security specialist on Cameroon.

“Mr. Biya has put the saying ‘divide and rule’ into practice… forces which could have challenged him for power have been unable to get organised and, even less so, unify,” said Akoa.

Even so, conversations about a successor are rife.

Those most commonly named are Biya’s son, Franck Biya, and Finance Minister Louis-Paul Motaze. The younger Biya already has a discreet following among supporters called “Franckists.”

Another name in the mix is that of Biya’s right-hand man, the presidency’s chief of staff, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh.

Reputed to have the backing of Biya’s influential wife, Chantal Biya, Ngoh Ngoh has been the longest-serving chief of staff in the presidency’s tenure.

He wields extensive de-facto authority through executive powers that have been delegated by Biya and, like his boss, also has his supporters in senior jobs, said Akoa.

 All-eclipsing debate


“No (potential) candidate enjoys unanimity,” said Akoa, adding that the succession debate “eclipses all other concerns, such as strategies for health, education and infrastructure.”

The jockeying for power has been intensified by Cameroon’s weak mechanisms for handing on presidential power in an emergency, said Sumo Tayo.

If the president becomes unable to continue in office, presidential authority is handed down in the interim to the speaker of the Senate — currently 88-year-old Marcel Nial Njifenji, whose health is at least as much a concern as that of Biya.

The scenario stokes “the probability that certain parts of the army may intervene,” said Sumo Tayo.

Military leaders appointed by Biya may fear their privileges will be at threat once he exits the scene, which increases the risk of turbulence, he suggested.


Customs Intercept Petrol Tanker Loaded With Rice Along Nigeria-Cameroon Border


The Nigeria Customs Service in Adamawa says it has intercepted bags of foreign rice concealed in a PMS tanker and Urea fertilser concealed in black polythene bags, among other banned items worth over N144 million.

The seizures were made along the Nigeria-Cameroon border route over a period of two months.

Other items seized include 165 kilogram of pangolin scales and 1,000 kilogram of donkey skins wrapped in 10 sacks and PMS worth over N12 million.

Briefing the media in Yola, Comptroller of Customs, Adamawa/Taraba Area Command, Olaniyi Alajogun, said the seizure was as a result of the measures put in place to nib smuggling activities along the route in the bud.

Flooding: No Agreement With Cameroon On Dam Construction, Says FG


Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, on Wednesday, debunked reports (NOT by Channels Television) that Nigeria entered into an agreement with Cameroon to build a dam that will mitigate flooding when water from the Lagdo Dam is released.

The minister stated this in Abuja at the Budget Defence with the Senate Committee on Water Resources.

He said there is no record of such an agreement but while the government is in the process of building the Dasin Dam to mitigate flooding from Cameroon’s Lagdo Dam, there are engineering concerns.

Adamu said Cameroon did not inform Nigeria about the release of water from the Lagdo Dam until 24 hours after it was released.

The minister further said the Lagdo Dam contributes only one percent to the flooding in Nigeria, even though sometimes the water is released without notice.

According to him, 80 percent of the floods in parts of Nigeria are as a result of ceaseless rainfalls.

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Floods have hit parts of Nigeria in the last two months with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) saying that about 2.5 million persons were affected and over 603 persons killed by the flooding caused by torrential rainfall of late.

Houses and farmlands have been submerged in Lagos, Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Edo, Delta, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Benue, Ebonyi, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Imo, Abia States, and the Federal Capital Territory.

Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State on Tuesday said Nigeria must have a national emergency conversation about flooding to avert recurrence.

“What is the nation doing to prepare for the next one because we know that it will happen again and again? It has been happening, and Cameroon will soon open the dam in the next one or two years. What is the national plan to deal with the next one? Whether we are going to build dams or embankments along the banks of the rivers. I think as a nation, we need a national emergency conversation,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.