As the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) kicks off in Côte d’Ivoire on January 13th, the Cameroonian embassy in Abidjan is calling on its citizens to showcase exemplary behavior and sportsmanship throughout the tournament.
In a statement to the Cameroonian community, Ambassador Marie-Yvette Koloko stressed their full support for Ivorian authorities and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in ensuring the success of the event. The statement emphasizes the importance of "fair play and respect for the laws and regulations of the host country."
This call for calm comes amidst simmering tensions between Cameroonian and Ivorian fans, particularly online. Social media platforms like Facebook have witnessed heated exchanges, with some Ivorian users criticizing the perceived lack of stadium embellishment in Cameroon compared to Côte d’Ivoire.
The rivalry isn't new. During the AFCON 2021 Round of 16 clash between Côte d’Ivoire and Egypt in Cameroon, Cameroonian fans booed and whistled at the Ivorian players despite initially cheering them on against Algeria. This shift followed online accusations against Ivorian fans for alleged disparaging remarks about Cameroon's COVID-19 testing protocols and their support for the Indomitable Lions' group-stage opponents, the Comoros.