“I’ll be remembering today (Saturday December 11) as one of the proudest moments of my life. Every vote represents the energy and ambition of our football family to take our beloved sport to a level we’ve never seen before.”
Those were the first words via Twitter of the former Indomitable Lions captain, Samuel Eto’o moments after he was elected as the new President of the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT.
The 40-year old emerged winner 43-31 against his main rival, Seidou Mbombo Njoya during a highly anticipated election held last Saturday in Yaounde.
It wasn’t all that plain sail for the former Indomitable Lions striker who went through all sorts of emotions before arriving at the top.
After an intense week of campaigns and propaganda both off and online, it was time for serious business as the delagates trooped into the “Mfoundi Hall” of the Mont Febe Hotel early on Saturday for the elective general assembly.
However, it took an eternity for the electoral process to kick off after several protests from the delegate: first on the sitting positions which they said could influence the voting then later to the issue of the single ballot and replacement of the mandate of one representative of the footballers’ trade union, SYNAFOC.
After hours of debates, the electoral commission found a solution to each issue raised before proceeding to give the floor to the candidates for three minutes each of campaign before voting.
Emmanuel Mabouang Kessack, Jean Crepin Nyamsi and Justin Tagouh all stepped up one after the other to withdraw their candidacies and throw their weight behind Samuel Eto’o.
On the other hand, candidate Zacharie Wandja who had been discrete all through the electoral process dropped out and rooted for Seidou Mbombo Njoya. It, as the same path taken by candidate Jules Denis Onana whose decision not to back Samuel Eto’o tasted as a bitter pill to swallow within the footballers’ trade union.
With the path cleared, voting effectively took place through the single ballot system with Samuel Eto’o finally carrying the day.
After the proclamation of the results, Eto’o pledged to work for the interest of the football family and bring back the glory days to Cameroon’s football.
Seidou, Others Concede Defeat
Defeat was tough to take for Seidou Mbombo Njoya who embraced the winner and left the hall immediately after the proclamation of the results.
However, he later took to his social media pages to concede defeat and extend his wishes to the new in place.
“FECAFOOT has a new President. I congratulate Samuel Eto’o and wish him success,” Seidou Mbombo Njoya said.
“… Gratitude goes to the football actors and personnel who supported me with the conviction of giving a new direction to our football. I urge them to support the new team voted in place by the general assembly in order to raise our country’s flag higher, “he added.
On his part, Jules Denis Onana wished Eto’o “success on his wonderful challenge to rebuild the pride of Cameroon Football”.
Global Acclamation For Eto’o
Samuel Eto’o’s victory drew praises and congratulatory messages both at home and across the globe from fans, friends and other actors.
Indomitable Lions legend and Roving Ambassador, Roger Milla led the praises on Twitter as he extended his warm congratulations to man who filled his boots adequately on the pitch.
Former Indomitable Lions goalkeeper, Joseph Antoine Bell saw Eto’o’s election as an opportunity to grab for footballers.
Ivorian legends Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure wished Eto’o luck as he embarks on this new journey.
On his part, Ronaldinho who formed a formidable partnership with Eto’o at Barcelona praised the former goal poacher for his dedication and focus to achieve his goals.
The election of Samuel Eto’o was just the first step of a long night to come for the delegates who had to elect members into the executive committee from all the ten regions.
The process started with the elections of the representatives of professional football clubs as Prosper Nkou Mvondo (40 votes) and Kwemo Safia (35 votes) were voted by their peers and delegates ahead of Abunde Pascal and Kome Max. On the other hand, Gilbert Yakam was voted in as the representative of the professional trades.
For the representative of the Adamawa Region into the executive committee, the loan candidate, Abbo Mohammadou picked up 44 votes against 22 nul votes.
In the East Region, Artur Djampir was voted into the executive committee with 48 votes against 11 for his challenger Charles Baninga.
The Far North Region had Boubakari Bello and Guibai Gatama voted in as the two delegates from that area into the executive committee while Abdoul Karimou and Abdoulaye Abdoul were voted from the North Region.
Two members from the Littoral region, Foko Kamga and Mongue Nyamsi were voted while Yoki Onana and Roger Nyassa were given the nod in the Centre Region.
In the South Region, Celine Eko Mendomo was largely voted in while Felix Mbigha also overwhelmingly voted in the North West Region.
Fouedjou Norbert and Joseph Feutcheu were voted into the executive committee from the West Region while Henry Njalla Quan Junior was overwhelmingly voted in from the South West Region.
Smooth Electoral Process
The electoral process smoothly rounded off just about 2.30 am without any major hitch with the delegates satisfied with the outcome.
Closing the session, the President of the electoral commission, Gilbert Schlick, called on members of the football family to use the process to bury the hatchet, unite themselves and work for the interest of the game.
“You have to put an end to the various misunderstandings within the football family. You have alot of work on your hands and it is not time to focus on issues that will advance our football.Cameroonians have their eyes firmly fixed on you and will keenly watch and judge your actions,” Gilbert Schlick told the newly elected team.
Straight To Work
The advice from Gilbert Schlick did not fall on deaf ears as Samuel Eto’o immediately gathered members of his executive committee for a brief meeting on the way forward.
He called on them to work for the interest of the game nationwide as well as well as its growth in their various regions.
Samuel Eto’o stressed that the time for electoral manoeuvres has passed and the football family now has to look forward, starting with members of the executive committee who have to show the example and be united.