It was supposed to be a day of celebration. June 8, exactly 24 years to the day when Cameroon scored a memorable victory against Argentina the then holders of the World Cup. Phone companies and local sports officials had planned to 'triumphantly' lead the new pride of Indomitable Lions to the plane that was to take them to the World Cup in Brazil. Well, the squad didn't turn up. They refused to fly to Brazil until a row over match bonuses was resolved. They only left the country around 5:45 in the morning of 9 June.
Haven't we heard this before? Cameroon sports officials and players not in agreement over bonuses before or during a FIFA World Cup. Even that famous victory over Argentina in Italia 1990 (which sparked a historic run to the quarter-finals) was obtained amid disputes over match bonuses between the players and authorities from Cameroon's sports ministry and the football federation.
"[Bonuses were] discussed until the eve of the opening match (against Argentina)," said Bertin Ebwelle, Cameroon's left-back at the tournament in Italy. "I can assure you that the discussions were rough and it wasn't until 5 a.m. that the last player received his bonus,"