by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 13th 2014)
A dreadful performance by Colombian officials led by Wilmar Roldán resulted in former Barçelona and Tottenham Hotspur striker Giovanni dos Santos robbed of two perfectly good goals. His frustration and that of his manager Miguel Herrera were obvious – the injustice clear and amplified by repetition.
Replays showed that the left back played dos Santos onside for the first. The official had a perfect view and got it wrong – exactly the type of decision that a replay would have corrected. And adding insult to injury the officials got another wrong when Eric Choupo-Moting headed a corner on to dos Santos who adjusted to the deflection and headed in an excellent goal, or rather it would have been if the officials had been competent.
If a Méxican player had got the assist rather than the Camerounian, it would have been offside, but both the referee and his assistant missed the fact that Choupo-Moting headed on and dos Santos scored.
The Camerounian players branded traitors in their country over the bonuses fiasco were lacklustre. Apart from an excellent run down the left flank by Benoit Assou-Ekotto for Samuel Etoʼo to shoot instinctively and hit the post they did nothing to deserve anything more than they got from this match – nothing.
A quick turn and shot by dos Santos was parried by Camerounian French-born goalkeeper Charles Itandje – remember him. Itandje was run out of Anfield after showing disrespect during a service honouring the victims of the Hillsborough Disaster five years ago. It was crass behaviour that ended his career at Liverpool.
The rebound was pounced on by Oribe Peralta who scored the winner. It should have been three and a very comfortable. México deserved their win and Cameroun exhibited deep-rooted problems. Not even the officials and footballʼs ostrich-like refusal to embrace technology could save the Africans from the defeat their performance deserved. Camerounians will be wondering why bonuses should be paid after such a wretched display.
Volker Finke – a coach with no experience of African football at all prior to his appointment to Camerounʼs top job- has a very difficult task ahead of him. Top European club coaches Paul le Guen and Javier Clemente recently failed to bring the best out of Camerounʼs players. Denis Lavagne tried and failed after Clemente before farce surrounded the end of Jean-Paul Akonoʼs reign.
Akono was never given a contract and the top job was advertised without telling him. He claimed that he was in negotiations for a contract at the time and was told to reconsider the salary he wanted, which was far lower than European coaches were paid. Among those considered were former Paris Saint-Germain manager Antoine Kambouare and former French Manager Raymond Domenech.
The lack of continuity with coaches, lack of experience of African football or of top jobs, combined with a series of disputes over pay of players has turned the Indomitable Lions – a team the world loved in 1990 – into a shambles. After the fiasco of South Africaʼs World Cup, the players are older now and their preparation was wrecked by the latest dispute – one which unlike the others has alienated their supporters.