By Tata Mbunwe
As preparations heighten for CHAN deemed to begin this January 16, Cameroon’s Intermediate Lions have encountered two defeats and a draw at the pre-CHAN tournament that took place in Yaounde.
The Lions’ loss to Niger (1-2) and Zambia (0-2) alongside a draw with Uganda (1-1) is not reasuring of the host team as the country expects the best performance from them during the CHAN.
The pre-CHAN tournament, organized in Yaoundé from January 1 to 7 was meant to assess the level of preparedness among the players and to help coaches sel to prowl the workforce in order to select the best.
The boys of coach Martin Ntoungou Mpilé have suffered last year’s grounding of local championships following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Some specialists have opined that the absence of a local championship could justify this poor performance of the intermediate Lions at the pre-CHAN event.
To hope for a better performance during the CHAN, the technical staff will have to review their playing strategies in order to face the other teams involved in this competition and whose players seem to be quite well off.
For this sporting event reserved for national selections whose players play on the continent; 16 teams will be present for 32 matches in the first round.
Tickets for the competition, which will be sold at specific places in Buea, Limbe, Douala and Yaounde, range from FCFA 1,000 to 50,000. But tickets for entrance into the Douala Japoma stadium cost between FCFA 1,500 and 50,000.
CHAN is scheduled to run from January 16 to February 7, 2021, a tournament that was carried over from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Separatist fighters in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions have threatened to disrupt the competition over claims it violates the “territorial integrity of Ambazonia,” a state which separatists have carved out in the English-speaking regions.
Government has intensified security in the towns of Limbe and Buea, cities in the Southwest region where Group D players will lodge for their matches which will be played at the Limbe stadium.
The populations of Buea and Limbe are planning to welcome the competion in the cities with business persons already gearing up to exploit business opportunities presented by the competition.
During a tour of the CHAN offical mascot, Tara, in the two cities in December, crowds turned out jubilantly in Buea, Mutengene and Limbe to receive the mascot.