Leadership crisis rocks Indomitable Lions’ preparation for qualifier

Cameroon’s midfielder Sebastien Siani celebrates with Cameroon’s forward Vincent Aboubakar (L) after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group A football match between Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau at the Stade de l’Amitie Sino-Gabonaise in Libreville on January 18, 2017. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

FIFA appoints normalisation committee for Cameroun FA

Cameroon’s bid to dislodge Nigeria from the top of Group B of the Russia 2018 World Cup African qualifying series may have been dented by a leadership crisis that has gripped the country’s football association (FECAFOOT). The crisis may also affect the country’s ability to host the 2019 African Nations Cup.

Yesterday, world football governing body, FIFA was forced to appoint a normalisation committee to run the federation.

Earlier this week, CAF called off a scheduled eight-day inspection visit to gauge the country’s ability to host the first expanded 24-team Nations Cup final citing security concerns.

Justifying its decision to intervene in the leadership crisis, FIFA cited “recent failed attempts to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroun and overcome the current impasse.”

Cameroun meets Nigeria in the first leg of a double header on September 1 in Uyo and host the return leg in Yaoundé on September 4.

According to FIFA, the normalisation committee’s mandate is to run Fecafoot’s daily affairs, draft new statutes and organise elections for a new executive committee.

The power struggle started shortly after FECAFOOT elections in 2015 were annulled by the Cameroun National Sports and Olympic Committee’s arbitration chamber. That decision was then confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

This prompted some clubs to join a campaign against FECAFOOT president, Tombi A. Roko, who they alleged was appointed rather than elected to office, accusing FIFA of supporting his position in contravention of their own statutes. CAS agreed and eventually FIFA appear to have respected that ruling but imposed a normalisation committee. That may prove to be a politically convenient route to stripping the country of the 2019 hosting.

This impasse may, however, not affect Cameroon’s chances in the matches against Nigeria, as they were still able to win the 2017 AFCON despite the off-field problems.

FIFA is expected to soon name members of the normalisation committee, who will also act as an electoral committee, though “none of its members will be eligible for any of the open positions in the elections.”

The current impasse seems likely to boost Morocco’s chances of stepping in as AFCON hosts. The Moroccans recently announced they are bidding for the 2026 World Cup but seem far more likely to stage Africa’s flagship regional tournament. Morocco have worked hard at becoming a close ally of Ahmad having paid for a number of CAF meetings and events in the country.

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