By Kesah Princely and Ngome Michael, in Buea.
Barely a week after the demise of Captain Stephen Tataw, the man who led Cameroon’s National Team to a historic quarter final World Cup finish in 1990, the Head of State has now taken a move to accomplish a promise made three decades ago.
When the Italia90 captain, Stephen Tataw died recently, the Cameroonian government came under heavy criticism for neglecting the hero and his teammates who brought glory to Cameroon in particular and Africa in general.
Football pundits blame the Biya regime for neglecting the 1990 Lions for the past 30 years, despite their display of patriotism.
Some analysts, among them, veteran sports journalist and seasoned administrator, Njomo Kelvin, told the media that the legendary team leader deserved better than an “unhonourable neglect of a true hero, great footballer and administrator who represented his nation with pride.”
The 57 year-old took ill over five months ago, but was completely neglected by a government which had made a promise to better the lives of the 1990 footsoldiers who led Cameroon to a historic competition at the world’s biggest soccer jamboree that year.
Cameroon’s President, Paul Biya who had then been in office for eight years, promised his government was going to offer a house each, for the players who took part in the 1990 football bonanza.
Three decades after the presidential promise, the 38 year-old regime now feels it is the right moment to recognise the contribution of this set of veteran football stars.
The government has entreated the General Manager of Real Estate Cooperation, to hand over the keys of some modern houses to the generation of players who took part in the Italia90 World Cup.
It is worth mentioning that some key actors who accompanied Cameroon to glory at the competition would not enjoy the comfort of their own houses, because they died before the president could fulfill his decades-long promise. They include: Captain Stephen Tataw, Benjamin Massing and Louis Paul Mfede.
However, their families are reportedly hoping to benefit from the gesture.
Meantime, the Country’s Football Roving Ambassador, Albert Roger Milla, has described government’s move to fulfill its 1990 promise as a true recognition of talent.