Cameroon, Ghana to investigate World Cup failures
DOUALA, Cameroon (AP) — The presidents of Cameroon and Ghana have called for investigations following disappointing World Cup showings that saw both countries eliminated during the group stage.
In Cameroon, state media said President Paul Biya had given his prime minister one month to submit a report on the Indomitable Lions’ “inglorious campaign.”
The report is expected to include steps for “a profound and deep restructuring of Cameroonian football,” said a statement from Biya’s office.
Ghana President John Mahama also said an investigation was needed to figure out why Ghana failed to advance to the knock-out rounds for the first time in three World Cup appearances, according to the state-run Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. Mahama has already replaced the country’s sports minister along with his deputy.
Both teams placed at the bottom of their groups. For Cameroon, the trouble began even before the tournament opened when players refused to board their chartered plane to Brazil until a dispute over bonuses was resolved. The national football federation said it had to take out a “private loan” to meet player demands, increasing the sum given to each squad member by $12,000. The total bonus was not disclosed.
In three games, Cameroon allowed nine goals and scored just one against Brazil after it had already been eliminated. Toward the end of a 4-0 defeat against Croatia, defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto thrust his head into the face of teammate Benjamin Moukandjo and the pair scuffled in front of their goal before being separated by another Cameroon player.
Earlier in that match, midfielder Alex Song was sent off for elbowing Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic in the back in an egregious off-the-ball incident that has inspired a new song from Cameroonian rapper Maahlox Le Vibeur, complete with an elbow-jab dance move.
The national football federation derided the players’ “disgraceful behavior.”
After the team was eliminated, local media began calling for sanctions. The tabloid newspaper La Meteo ran a front-page headline of “All Guilty” underneath photos of sports minister Adoum Garoua, coach Volker Finke and captain Samuel Eto’o.
Ghana’s Black Stars also had disciplinary problems. Two players were thrown off the squad just hours before its final match against Portugal. Sulley Muntari was suspended for allegedly attacking a team official and an executive committee member of the national football association, and Kevin-Prince Boateng was suspended for alleged “vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah.”
The suspensions came just after Ghana resolved its own dispute over bonus payments when the government chartered a jet to fly $3 million in cash to players in Brazil. According to the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the national bar association criticized the move as illegal, saying it “sets a bad precedent for the citizenry.”