Ten thousand , eight hundred francs (10,800frs) each, is the participation bonus given to the 12 rugby lions who took part in the just ended Rugby 7 competition in Mauritius.
This was revealed by some of the players on the national station CRTV sports and entertainment, as they explained the deplorable condition they had to go through , inorder to prepare for this tournament which serves as pre-qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“when I reached my neighborhood, every one was happy I had travelled. Just for the records I am a five belt. Normally I have to come back home with something for people in my neighborhood , I had debts to settle on my arrival. I went to camp and didn’t come back with what I had to get. In the first two camps, I got 10,000frs each . In Burundi and Uganda, I was given 10,000frs” Camille Zogo Awono one of the national team player revealed.
Simon Edimo Ebo’o, another senior player explained how injured teammates were paid 15000frs with no health coverage or any other assistance to cater for their medical needs.
“We had players who went back home, those are weren’t selected and some injured , they Gave them 10,000frs, 15000frs. It’s with this money that they expect players to do scans, and meet other medical needs. It’s a deplorable situation” Simon Edimo Ebo’o,confirms on CRTV.
This revelation comes after a whistle blower N’zui Manto had called out the standardization committee for paying these players 11750frs upon arrival in Cameroon .
As justification , The president of the standardization committee explained, the competition was never in the budget. At the start of the year, only the Rugby women cup was budgeted at about 79 million with the Rugby 7 tournament in Mauritius not included.
“In 2023, only one competition was budgeted.that is the women rugby cup in Madagascar, with a budget of 79 million. I sent a request to the ministry of sports, calling their attention on an eminent two years suspension if we don’t go to Mauritius.I did my best, solicited for 55 million, with the same compensation recieve by the women. But someone at the ministry told me, they ministry cannot sponsor a competition which wasn’t budgeted That what we needed to do was solicit for special support,” Felix Onana Etoundi explained.
20 million was disbursed by the minister of Sports and Physical Education, Prof Narcisse Mouelle Kombi to cater for pre tournament and tournament expenses. An amount far below the 55million budget drawn.
“The minister accorded us with 20million cfa. In that 20 million when we deduct tax we have about 18.5million. we had to pay insurance from the same money, you cannot travel without it, you have to pay for healthcare , drugs , that cost over 900,000frs.We paid for the stadium we used in training for all ten days.In the same budget we paid for equipments “Felix Onana Etoundi continued on Crtv sports .
As a result, players had to pay the ultimate price with a meager sum of 10,800frs given upon arrival.
“I came back home with 15 euro(9,784frs). We finished 9th in this 12 team competition, but if we stayed longer in camp, we would have gotten more, or even qualified” Camille Zogo Awono concluded.
This low wages coupled with the hard conditions in which they trained in Akono has been advanced as the reason for their failure in Mauritius .
However some members of the Rugby federation apportion blame to the newly created standardization committee set up by the minister of sports on May 11,2023.
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