Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf refused to speculate on his future after the defending champions crashed out of the Africa Cup of Nations in the last 16 after Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Nigeria.
Odion Ighalo scored two goals and set up Alex Iwobi for the winner as Nigeria rallied from 2-1 down after Cameroon had struck twice in quick succession through Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie before-half time in Alexandria.
“Maybe you want to give us a few days,” Seedorf responded when asked his for his plans following a premature end to Cameroon’s title defence.
“The first thing is I’m very sorry for the boys. They have worked really hard and played well but this is football and only one can win in the end. It’s not so important in my future. The important thing is what we have built until now, we’ve improved in many aspects on and off the pitch.
“It’s a group that is very united. I hope the people at home can be proud of the fighting spirit we’ve shown. Obviously, the disappointment is really big but this is sport. This is the moment where everyone must say we are united and continue to work for the future.”
The former Dutch star has won just three of nine competitive games since taking over the Indomitable Lions alongside assistant Patrick Kluivert last August and struggled to convince he is the right man for the job.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve been working with this group, being in Africa especially. And we’ll see what comes in the future,” Seedorf said.
“I feel disappointment obviously and also some anger because I thought we were a little bit tense in a few moments, but I have to appreciate the players have done everything they could today. It was not enough.”
“I repeat that we will stay united and not throw away all the great work the team has done in the last months,” he added.
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Super Eagles of Nigeria for defeating the indomitable lions of Cameroon 3-2 and advancing to the quarter-finals stage of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari recognised the hardwork and sportsmanship of the team.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will confront the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in the Round of 16 of the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations finals ongoing in Egypt, and venue is the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday, 6th July.
The match will kick off 5pm Nigeria time.
The fixture was confirmed on Tuesday evening after a 0-0 draw with Benin Republic, and Ghana’s 2-0 defeat of Guinea Bissau, condemned the Cup holders to second place in Group F, and a direct confrontation with the second –placed team in Group B, which is Nigeria.
Cameroon defeated Nigeria in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations in 1984, 1988 and 2000, but most painful for the Super Eagles was the agonizing penalty shoot-out loss in front of home fans at the National Stadium, Lagos on 13th February 2000.
In 2004, Jay Jay Okocha spearheaded a 2-1 defeat of Cameroon in a quarter final match at the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet in Monastir, Tunisia and in the 2018 FIFA World Cup African qualifying series, the Super Eagles lashed the Lions 4-0 in Uyo and were forced to a 1-1 draw in Yaounde.
Nigeria and Cameroon share eight African titles between them. While the Indomitable Lions have won five times (1984, 1988, 2000, 2002 and 2017), Nigeria were champions in 1980, 1994 and 2013.
Saturday’s game is indeed a titanic battle, and the Super Eagles would be expected to pick themselves up from Sunday’s stunning defeat by Madagascar and battle the bitter rivals the way they should.
Captain Steph Houghton set England on their way to the quarter-finals of the women’s World Cup on Sunday with a 3-0 win over a Cameroon side who were left furious with several refereeing decisions and at one point appeared ready to walk off the pitch.
Houghton, Ellen White and Alex Greenwood scored the goals for England in a bad-tempered encounter watched by more than 20,000 fans in Valenciennes, and Phil Neville’s side go through to a quarter-final against Norway on Thursday.
However, this match will be best remembered for Cameroon’s protests to the Chinese referee as they went out in the last 16 for the second successive World Cup, and African interest in France came to an end.
They were left with a sense of injustice at the manner in which England’s opening goal came about in the 14th minute, and their anger reached boiling point when White’s goal to make it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time was initially disallowed for offside before being awarded after referee Qin Liang consulted with the Video Assistant Referee.
Their players surrounded the referee, pointing to the big screen replays of the goal and seemingly threatening to walk off the pitch.
‘What is this?!’
Coach Alain Djeumfa persuaded them to carry on, but expressed his rage as he turned to the television cameras and appeared to shout: “It’s a shame, what is this?!”
Further confusion came just three minutes after the restart when Cameroon thought they had pulled a goal back to make it 2-1, but Ajara Nchout’s effort was eventually disallowed for offside after the referee had again consulted with the VAR.
The Indomitable Lionesses carried on but were outclassed by an England side who will nevertheless need to improve considerably from this performance if they are to win the World Cup.
Their early opener on a sticky evening at the Stade du Hainaut came after Cameroon goalkeeper Annette Ngo Ndom picked up what was adjudged to have been a backpass by Augustine Ejangue, although it looked to be nothing more than a poor piece of control from the defender.
Toni Duggan laid off the free-kick barely six yards out for Houghton to fire in, despite Cameroon placing every single player behind the ball.
England were laborious but increased their advantage through that controversial second goal right on half-time, with Lucy Bronze doing excellently to set up White, who fired in on her left foot for her fourth goal of the World Cup.
White was in line with the last defender when the pass was played, and the decision to let the goal stand was the correct one.
The next flashpoint came just after the restart as Nchout scored from Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene’s low ball into the box, but again VAR overturned the decision, this time disallowing the goal for offside.
Again it was the right decision, but again the Cameroon players protested vehemently. Neville approached Djeumfa to try to help calm his opposite number down, and play again eventually resumed.
England then wrapped up their victory when Duggan’s low corner from the left was swept home first-time by Greenwood in the 58th minute.
That ended any doubt about the final outcome, and the referee then opted not to give England a penalty after coming to review a possible foul on Fran Kirby in the box by Ysis Sonkeng, thereby avoiding the further wrath of the Cameroon players.
The United Nations on Tuesday called for $184 million (163 million euros) to help more than 400,000 people displaced by the separatist conflict in western Cameroon.
“Violent clashes in Cameroon between the military and armed separatists over the past 13 months have forcibly displaced thousands, including across the border into Nigeria,” the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said in a statement.
“The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. And there are fears now that more people will become displaced over the coming months.”
The UN estimates that 437,000 have been displaced in Cameroon itself, while over 35,000 have fled across the border into Nigeria — a number that is expected to rise as fighting continues.
Of the estimated aid needs, $35.4 million is needed urgently, “for critical life-saving assistance,” the UNHCR said.
The Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon are in the grip of an armed campaign launched by anglophone separatists in October 2017.
At least 500 civilians and more than 200 members of the security forces have died in clashes, attacks and a government crackdown, the International Crisis Group (ICG) says.
Around a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 24 million are English-speakers.
Their presence can be traced back to the colonial era.
After World War I Germany surrendered Kamerun, its principal colony in West Africa, which was then taken over by Britain and France.
France was given the greater part of the territory, which became independent in 1960.
A year later, the British colony also gained independence. Some of the English-speaking areas opted to join newly-formed Nigeria, while others chose to join the federation of Cameroon.
English-speakers have chafed for years at perceived discrimination in education, law and economic opportunities at the hands of the francophone majority.
In 2017, as the authorities refused demands for greater autonomy for the Northwest and Southwest Regions, the anglophone movement radicalised.
On October 1 that year, separatists declared the creation of the “Republic of Ambazonia” in the two regions, named after the local Ambas Bay. The declaration has not been recognised internationally.
A court in Nigeria has condemned as “illegal and unconstitutional” the arrest and deportation of Cameroonian separatists who had applied for asylum in Nigeria, the lawyers representing them said Sunday.
In January 2018, Nigeria arrested and deported 47 anglophone separatists who had fled Cameroon following a crackdown by the authorities.
The move was denounced by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, which said most of them had filed asylum claims and accused Nigeria of breaching international agreements.
“Justice Chikere declared the arrest and detention of the 12 applicants illegal,” said a statement from Nigerian law firm Falana & Falana, referring to a ruling issued this week in the capital Abuja.
“Consequently, Justice Chikere declared the deportation of the applicants illegal and unconstitutional, awarded (compensation) to each of them and ordered the federal government to ensure that they are brought back to Nigeria forthwith.”
Among the 12 claimants was separatist leader Julius Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, president of the self-declared “Republic of Ambazonia”, who was arrested along with his supporters on January 9 by Nigerian intelligence agents.
The group was sent back to Cameroon on January 26, and Ayuk Tabe was put on trial for “terrorism” in December at a military court in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital.
At the hearing, defence lawyer Femi Falana argued that the arrest and detention of refugees and asylum seekers constituted a breach of Nigeria’s constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The judge agreed, saying the expulsion of the group was in “utter violation” of legal obligations which ban Nigeria “from expelling or deporting refugees” from the country.
And he ordered the government to ensure they were brought back to Nigeria, and that their fundamental rights be respected.
Since their deportation, the 47 have been held in secret at a high-security facility at police headquarters in Yaounde.
Clashes between the armed forces and separatists take place almost daily in the two Anglophone regions on the western flank of Cameroon, where resentment at perceived marginalisation by the French-speaking majority boiled over into an armed uprising in late 2016, prompting a harsh government crackdown.
In a congratulatory message, President Biya said: ‘‘On the occasion of your re-election to the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as declared by the Electoral Commission of your country, I am very pleased to extend to you my sincere and warm congratulations.’’
Recounting the excellent relations between the two countries, President Biya said, ‘‘I am already looking forward to working more closely with you to the continued promotion of the excellent relations of friendship and cooperation between Nigeria and Cameroon…
About 40,000 residents of Rann who fled their homes in Borno State, following a recent attack by insurgents have been asked to leave their refugee camps in Goura, Cameroon.
This is according to the international humanitarian body, Médecins Sans Frontières, (MSF) which said that the affected people have started to make their way out of Cameroon.
Thousands of people fled Rann in Kalabalge Local Government Area of Borno State following the violent attack on the town on January 14, 2019.
They arrived in Bodo, Cameroon on foot, some seven kilometres across the border from Rann after crossing River El Eid Ebeji.
Since then, the refugees have been staying in a large camp in Goura, most of them sleeping in the open, even though it is sandstorm season and the temperature drops sharply at night.
The MSF Emergency Coordinator in Goura, Stéphanie Remion, has raised concern over their safety and welfare in the face of the new development.
“Today we are seeing people packing up their belongings and leaving for Rann after being told by Cameroonian and Nigerian authorities to leave.
“We are extremely concerned over what will happen to them once they go back to Rann as the security situation there is very uncertain and there is no humanitarian assistance available,” she said in a statement by the MSF Field Communication Officer in Borno State, AbdulKareem Yakubu.
According to the MSF, many of the people did not want to return because of fear, following the several attacks that had been launched on the community by the terrorists.
Of particular concern to the MSF is the health implication of the people returning to Rann, where they might not get adequate medical help.
“We know there were suspected cases of measles in Goura and if this spreads in Rann where there is no medical care available, it will be a disaster. We call on the governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to protect these vulnerable people and ensure they can seek safety where they choose and where they have access to essential means such as shelter, food, and medical care,” the MSF added.
The MSF whose warehouse, office, and clinic were looted and burnt down in Rann, had set up a clinic in the camp, providing more than 400 consultations.
Thirty-five per cent of these were for infectious respiratory diseases, followed by diarrhoea and conjunctivitis, all of which are related to the refugees’ poor living conditions, according to MSF officials.
According to the state governor, Kashim Shettima, vehicles were sent on to convey the refugees to the closest Nigerian town, Ngala, to enable them cast their votes on Saturday before returning to Goura.
The Cameroon government has expressed “sincere regret” to Israel over comments made by a minister who compared the Bamileke people to Jews persecuted by Nazi Germany.
Deputy justice minister Jean de Dieu Momo appeared to warn arrested opposition leader Maurice Kamto that he was leading the Bamileke people to a similar fate of Jews murdered in the Second World War.
Both men are of Bamileke descent.
“In Germany, there was a very rich community who wielded all economic power,” Jean de Dieu Momo said on Sunday during a prime-time TV show on the public Cameroon radio television (Crtv) network. He added that he was referring to the Jews.
“They (the Jews) were so arrogant that the German people were frustrated. Then one day, a certain Hitler came to power and put them in the gas chambers,” he said.
“Educated people like Mr Kamto need to know where they are leading their people,” he said.
Former government minister Maurice Kamto was arrested on January 28 in a move condemned by human rights groups. Analysts say the authorities view Kamto as a threat as he claims to have been cheated out of the presidency in last year’s elections.
The Cameroon government distanced itself from Kamto amid outrage from Israel.
“The government of the Republic of Cameroon would like to stress that the minister concerned was speaking in a personal capacity,” said the communication minister, René Emmanuel Sadi in a press release received by AFP on Tuesday.
The government “deplores” the deputy justice minister’s comments, but has not said if he will be disciplined.
In a press release on Monday, the Israeli embassy in Cameroon “strongly” condemned Kamto’s comments, which they said, “makes a tacit justification of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany”.
Cameroon opposition leader Maurice Kamto, who claims to have been cheated out of the presidency in elections last year, was arrested in the country’s economic capital Douala on Monday, a senior party member said.
The arrest is the latest political turbulence to hit the West African country and comes after several recent eruptions of violence over the October vote, which saw Kamto come second behind Paul Biya, who has ruled for more than three decades.
“Mr Kamto was arrested at the home of (supporter) Albert Dzongang,” said Emmanuel Simh, vice-president of the opposition Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), confirming information from a source in Douala.
Following Kamto’s arrest, around 300 people gathered outside Dzongang’s house, according to an AFP reporter, flanked by about 50 police officers. Shots were fired into the air to disperse the crowd.
The authorities did not respond to an AFP request for information.
Veteran leader Biya won a seventh consecutive term in the October election, which was blasted by the MRC as an “electoral hold-up”.
Kamto, who has continued to claim he was the rightful winner, won 14.23 percent of the vote to place second, according to the official figures, but his party has held sporadic protests since then to dispute the result.
On Saturday 117 people were arrested during protest marches in several towns.
The MRC was holding a crisis meeting late Monday in response to the arrests, Simh told AFP, adding that Dzongang and Christian Penda Ekoka, an economist, were also arrested in Monday’s police raid.
Kamto’s former election campaign head Paul-Eric Kingue and rapper Valsero were among those detained over the weekend.
The Cameroon government has looked to dissuade Kamto’s party from demonstrating, claiming that the opposition leader was an “outlaw” for not accepting the election results.
In France dozens of protesters broke into Cameroon’s Paris embassy on Sunday, vandalising portraits of Biya, according to witnesses.
Police forced them out of the building two hours later and onto the street, where they continued their protest outside the embassy.
Biya has ruled the West African country since 1982 with support from the army, government administrations and the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (RDPC) that he created in 1985.