CHAN 2020: Will the “Priest’s” Prayer Work for Cameroon Again?
Saturday 16th January was the long awaited day set out to introduce one of Africa’s football crafts on Cameroonian soils, the African Nations Championship – CHAN. It was also a day to test the fanaticism of a people to whom football has become a religion, a culture.
Alongside the official mascot of CHAN,Tara, was a good number of unsolicited others. Their entertaining displays on the periphery couldn’t go unnoticed.
A case in point is a priestly mascot whose benedictions cannot be downplayed nor completely dissociated from the grand scheme of Cameroon’s victory that day.
The “bishop” was unique in his cassock painted with the national colours of the host country.
His prayers, clerical gesticulations and solemn moves, gave no room to a dull moment at the lowest stand opposite the presidential tribune.
Onlooking supporters cheered on and instantly possessed a renewed spirit for the intermediate lions.
The reverend mascot’s message brandished by his lay servants read: “Cameroun uni pour la victoire”, meaning ” United Cameroon for victory.
The placard sounded the alarm that it was high time Cameroonians stood as one man behind their CHAN candidate. That was the priestly mascot’s uttermost prayer request.
It is probably the positive wave that spurred defender Banga Bindjeme II Salomon, to produce that 71-minute overhead kick that secured victory for Cameroon.
Tonight, the hosts clash with Mali, an encounter expected to produce entertaining football.
Cameroon versus Mali will be followed by Burkina Faso versus Zimbabwe at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde.
Both countries share some interesting characteristics. They are in for their fourth CHAN; they all belong to Group A, they have harvested three points each having beaten their opponents (Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso on day one) by the same score – one zero.
The winner between the Lions and the Eagles would have taken a bold step for the knockout phase of the tournament.