Over 66% of delegates at the Cameroon Football Federation(FECAFOOT), saw hope in Seidou Mbombo Njoya during an elective general assembly in December at the CAF centre in Mbankomo, Yaounde, and voted him as head of the structure. They didn’t just see a 58 year old man, they saw a candidate who has matured in the world of football through his experiences for 19 years, and they also trusted in his ambition to give the federation a positive facelift. His ambition was rekindled in his campaign slogan, «together for change ». This hunt for change comes against a backdrop of leadership problems that have rocked FECAFOOT for years and has dampened the hopes of footballers as well as football fans.
It wasn’t news for any football fan to hear of financial scandals rocking the structure, footballers loosing confidence in FECAFOOT, decrying terrible working conditions or football clubs crying out for financial and structural deficiencies. Football lovers were gradually loosing hope and the nobility of the profession was lost, amongst other disturbing setbacks. It was therefore an objective in December during the elections that delegates select, whom they trust would bring back professionalism and hope to the Cameroonian Football landscape.
During his campaigns before election, his plan of action enticed many. A plan of action that barely few months after he took office, Seidou Mbombo Njoya has started implementing. He however stated during his campaigns that some solutions to the problems currently faced by FECAFOOT will be long termed. He is bent on making FECAFOOT a reference football association in Africa and the world at large through its professionalism. His objective to rekindle hope in Cameroonian football and most especially the activities of the association is reflected in his plan of action, which cuts across internal governance, feminine football, youth football, regional and departmental leagues, the welfare of clubs, referees, coaches, the national football team, players in general, the roles of executive committee(COMEX), national technical bench, medical staff, supporters and the introduction of Futsal and Beach Soccer competitions. Here are some of the things he has decided to turn tables around to see it succeed under his term of office.
The administrative and governing body of FECAFOOT is a strong arm of the body. The 2 months old FECAFOOT boss, Seidou outlines that the communication and relationship within this unit will henceforth be cordial and aim at painting a positive image for the organisation. The fight against corruption has been intensified in the unit, while development of competencies and expertise remains pivotal. He is currently distributing roles accordingly, which has helped in strengthening relationships within the sector.
To the 58 year old, the Technical bench (DTN) of the federation remains fundamental. That is why he is investing to see that this department is used at the centre of football development in Cameroon. This is not going to end at the level of Yaoundé , the nation’s capital, because the new head of FECAFOOT has started making plans to extend the creation of regional offices of the National Technical Centre (CNT) He has promised to reinstate the national centre of Odza. This will help in checking out football formation centres. His idea of a creating a fond for the promotion of regional and departmental football competitions is worth commendable. This will help in ameliorating the working conditions of players, and the league.
The relationship between FECAFOOT and the Cameroon Professional Football League has come under scrutiny these days by fans but FECAFOOT boss has maintained his calm and dignity as he strives to work hand in gloves with the league. He is accompanying the league in its goal to professionalism and currently working on possibilities of bringing in more sponsors in the Cameroonian football league.
Football begins from the base and as it is always said, « charity begins at home ». The prospects of going back to the base and encouraging more youths in football is a plus for Mr Seidou, who wants to reorganise the sector and check on the existing formation centres and seeing an addition in the quota of subvention meant for this sector. He however thinks youths should start thinking about life after football, which they don’t seldom do.
Behind any rich man is a woman. The woman is the backbone of every family. That is why whenever a woman shows interest in football, she is admired and respected. There’s no way a football federation in any country around the world, would dare minimise the potentials of women footballers and the glory they bring to a country.
The Indomitable lionesses have taught us all the lessons of humility and the paths to success. It is therefore just and right that any president of a football federation who neglects the women section, will not achieve any thing at the end of his tenure. Seidou Mbombo Njoya couldn’t be different to this. He has been admired by many female football spectators and actors for the perspective he has for girls and women in Cameroon’s football history. That is why he has the intention of promoting women football in the country. He plans to organise competitions in all categories of feminine football and thinks encouraging teams financially , will boost their performance, hence develop Cameroonian football. He has an ambition to see a formation centre of female trainers in the country. Mr. Seidou suggests that the rights of players should he protected and intends to create a quorum for this. To him all players should have their contracts, so as to enjoy the benefits that comes with it.
He further takes as priority, the contributions of coaches and referees, whom he thinks their jobs need to be added value. Ameliorating their working conditions and constructing formation centres is a prerequisite for him. In the months ahead, Cameroonians will be watching international matches refereed by their own blood, because the new FECAFOOT boss is bent on promoting the performance of Cameroonian referees on the international scene. He also pays attention to the medical unit of the teams and the role supporters bring to the clubs. To this man of change, there will be looking at accelerating infrastructural projects already kick started and if need be, ameliorate the existing ones for the welfare of football.
Cameroon has lost some of its talented players to national football teams in Europe. The recent case of Félix Mbappe who now plays for the French national team has played down on football lovers and the country as a whole who regret that Mbappe should have been with the national football team. Mr Seidou M.N is here to stop this. He is creating a system that will track down all Footballers with Cameroonian nationality, playing in Europe for possible selection in the national football team. Whenever questioned on his main objective, Seidou Mbombo Njoya would say…
« Restore ethics, fight corruption and bad practices., develop a strategic action plan for the development of football, Optimize the administrative and financial management, Put the DTN at the center of the development of football, Make operational as soon as possible the NTC of Odza, Create an Amateur Football Assistance Fund (FAFA), Organize a competition between the regional selections of the regional league, establish a bonus for the license to increase the number of licensees, Mutualize the search for sponsors with the League, Put in place a good policy for the protection of players, exploit the Marketing Department, create a system in Europe for the detection and the follow-up of the binational, popularize and promote the medical sporting unit and the urgent completion of the work of the headquarters of the Federation »
Many would say Seidou Mbombo Njoya is simply following the foot steps of his father Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, who was at the helm of FECAFOOT, between 1961 to 1964. The difference here is with the experience Seidou already has in managing football. Nationally, before her was elected president, Seidou had been member of the executive committee(COMEX) of FECAFOOT since 1999. He served as President of the Federal Football club of Noun, president of the commission for International Competitions at FECAFOOT, Second Vice President of the National Professional Football League, First Vice President of FECAFOOT, member the administrative bench of the national Olympics committee, and President of Cameroon Golf club. On the international scene, he was in charge of the CAF’s( Confederation of African Football) President protocol, member of jury of the disciplinary committee at CAF, and member of the commission for the organisation of U20 Central African championship zone.
With a rich profile which bags his experience, it is no doubt that the future of Cameroon’s football is in good hands. The choice of Seidou Mbombo Njoya remains a square peg in a square hole.