Cameroon’s diehard football supporter, Henry Mouyebe, popularly known as Ngando Pickett, was arrested at the Douala International Airport this morning after flying in from Ivory Coast where he had gone to support the national team at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ngando and his six-member team were immediately taken by the police for questioning after arriving through an Air Ivoire flight.
“He was on board an Air Ivoire flight that arrived in Douala around 2:24am. We immediately interrogated him and his collaborators,” a police officer told Equinoxe Radio.
The arrest follows a call the 72-year-old made in social media last week, asking people to help pay for his transportation back home from Ivory Coast.
He said he and his team were stranded because they had no means of transportation, and blamed the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) for abandoning them.
In a telephone interview with Equinoxe this morning, Ngando said his arrest at the Douala Airport is not unconnected to his public call for help.
“I was heard for minutes. I find this to be completely normal. There have been problems. Some think that by my behavior I dishonored Cameroon. I had to explain myself. It’s completely normal,” Ngando said.
The plea for help did not resonate well with many Cameroonians who said he was being too desperate and was tarnishing the country’s image.
Ngando Pickett, who has been the official mascot of the Indomitable Lions for over 30 years now, travelled to Ivory Coast by road after he was reportedly snubbed by FECAFOOT.
The football federation has not issued any official statement regarding the Ngando controversy.
His return to Cameroon was thanks to a generous donation of FCFA 1.4 million made by some Ivorians in swift response to his plea for transportation.