Images have been going around on social networks since this Wednesday 16 November afternoon. Many can barely believe it. Did the members of the Egyptian delegation who arrived in Yaoundé for the women’s AfCON in Cameroon really refused to leave their baggage in an old bus chartered for the occasion? Those doubting it had better believe it. The outdated green cargo bus meant to carry the belongings of the Egyptian pharaohs and their official staff remained empty, given the cold shoulder by the newcomers. Two coaches from a rather posh travel agency were rather requested; one for the team and the smaller one for the luggage.
The Egyptian delegation is obviously asking for the minimum requested during international competitions of the stature of an Africa Cup of Nations (AfCON). Indeed, “elsewhere, it is an official bus for the staff members and the players; saloon cars for officials and a small bus for the luggage”, recalls Steve Djouguela, sports journalist, who frequently takes part in sports events. Upon observation, official coaches are not (yet) on the agenda for the Yaoundé Nsimalen International Airport. The cargo buses (called here “moving coffins”) are preferred by the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot). Too little for the Egyptians who are scheduled to play the opening match this Saturday 19 November against the Indomitable Lionesses of Cameroon.
Doubters could see in the disputed choice of cargo, an intimidation attempt by Cameroon to win their first match. But in truth, Fecafoot betted on “improved cargo buses” or at least spruced up, to transport the luggage and even the official delegations, who knows. “The Malians also said no way to the cargo bus chartered for them. The airport loaders applauded them”, confides a credible source, who wished to remain anonymous.
Monique Ngo Mayag