Cameroon avoided a potential International Soccer Federation (FIFA) sanction by electing a new president at the September 28 deadline.
Former secretary general Tombi Sidiki was the overwhelming choice, garnering 59 of 61 votes. He replaced a normalisation committee appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Soccer (CAF) to oversee the sport in the country after Iya Mohammed’s re-election was rescinded because he was in jail awaiting trial at the time.
Last month, Mohammed was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of mismanagement at the state-owned cotton company.
The normalisation committee was appointed in July 2013.
Atah Behazah, the other candidate for the presidency, received just two votes.
Former Cameroon goalkeeper, Joseph-Antoine Bell and three other candidates were not allowed to stand in the election after not meeting eligibility criteria and ex-national team coach, Jules Nyongha, withdrew his candidacy two weeks ago.
The 52-year-old Sidiki has promised to reach out to the candidates who were challenging for the top spot.
“I would call on those who nursed ambitions in different sectors with contradicting views to collaborate because soccer is made up of 11 players, but requires teamwork,” he said. “Nobody could be left aside, but they are free to accept the hand of fellowship or not. We welcome constructive criticism that would help us advance.”
An amateur player, Sidiki was a club president, regional league treasurer, referees commission president and a member of the Cameroon Soccer Federation executive committee and various commissions prior to his appointment to the presidency.
“We must all sit together and talk if we want to rebuild,” he said. “I will bring everybody to the project to work together to make Cameroonians proud of the soccer we all love.”
The first African team to qualify for the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990, Cameroon is ranked seventh among the continent’s teams in the latest FIFA rankings.
Algeria leads the way followed by Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tunisia, Senegal and Cape Verde, which leapt 15 places to break into the world’s top 50 sides. Congo is ranked eighth ahead of Egypt and three-time Africa Cup of Nations champions, Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Guinea-Bissau coach Paulo Torres will miss the remainder of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier because of a CAF ban for abusing a referee. The incident occurred during the country’s goalless draw with Zambia last June.
Torres will miss home and away contests against Kenya next March and matches against Congo and Zambia.
He will, however, be allowed to coach the team in home and away 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia on October 8 and 13.
Mali’s team doctor was also disciplined for physically attacking Guinea Bissau players.
Fadiougou Keita will miss four Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) contests for the attack that occurred in the 3-1 second leg 2016 CHAN qualifier last July.
The Malians won the tie 4-2 on aggregate and will now face Mauritania over two legs this month for a place in next year’s finals in Rwanda.
By RON FANFAIR