Cameroon Football lovers were treated to a wonderful pregame show at the Champions Cup in Bafoussam, West Region today October 22, 2022. Bamboutos FC sought revenge against Coton Sport following a 1-0 loss at the Cameroon Cup finals weeks back in Yaoundé.
Prior to the clash, some of Cameroon’s best were ushered in to entertain the crowd.
Let us examine key moments and shed light on what should be applauded and of course, what should be axed.
1) ‘We are sorry for the late start’
First, the show failed to kick off on time, upsetting the entire evening. You would expect a game at the highest levels of a country’s football to set an example but it failed to. This set a bad precedence and many other facets of disorderliness and lack of proper coordination followed suite.
Opening the floor, Mbolé ambassadors, Les Rythmeurs conquered Bafoussam’s Kuekong stadium. Unfortunately, the stage placement/crowd orientation was not the best. This was glaring, probably due to the low turnout of fans.
Rinyu who was expected by many to ‘carry’ the show, was made to perform during half time. It was a performance botched by the multiple inconsistencies of the night.
2) ‘Murife don’t ran’
Artistes had to make the long run to get to the crowded side of the stadium mid performance. One would have thought they were partaking in the popular TikTok trend, ‘Murife don’t run/ran’. Not only did this sap the energy from the show, but it also left the camera crew confused and the sound, disoriented.
This same run almost handed Krys M a wardrobe malfunction as she had to run all the way mic in hand and breast in another. Remember Janet Jackson’s Superbowl both?
Bikutsi diva, Lady Ponce weathered the storm by staying close to the stage and her multiple dancers for much of the time. Her energetic vocal performance matched with intense physical dance moves was nothing short of class. Close to 20 years in the game and still going steady.
Viewers back home did not have it any easy. State media, CRTV too did not leave them short of drama, as journalists at some moments could be heard running commentaries as artistes performed. Who does that??? As if the inconsistencies of the pregame show were not already enough, viewers also had to deal with journalists making commentaries over their favourite artistes’ hit songs. Distraction.
3) Déjà vu
Away from the artistes’ performances however, the pregame show lacked much novelty. This was partly because organisers appeared to have burdened themselves with portraying works from all cultural zones of Cameroon, something we have seen often in the past months.
We saw masquerades on stilts, and dance groups perform different choreographies as the DJ switched from one song to another.
We had it at the AFCON opening and closing, and then at the cup of Cameroon finals too. Some o the stages were even more grandiose than what we had. Still, it was a full house – commendable.
But in this age, it doesn’t suffice filling the stadium and going them an epic football performance. While just being in the stadium for such a frame was a dream come true for thousands of Cameroonians, there’s always room for improvement.
The Champions Cup finals pregame show could easily be Cameroon’s Super Bowl, the largest nexus of sports and music entertainment.
It should provide an excellent avenue for testing new limits and exploring more Cameroon art forms and ushering in novelty.
It was short of this by a few merits. On the bright side however, just having the occasion is a huge win for the football and entertainment industries in Cameroon.
Eto’o’s FECAFOOT presidency (like any other) definitely has its sand in the boots, but we can’t count out its wins.
Also, having the event held in Bafoussam is another win for Cameroon’s much trumpeted decentralization. For ages, Yaounde has been the center of most major sporting events and seeing another town given the show to say the least, super exciting.
Now, youths in every corner of Cameroon can dream and believe they too will one day be the center of national focus and for good reason.
Bamboutos eventually carried the night, beating Coton Sport of Garoua 1-0.
The bigger win however, was for all of Cameroon, with music and football fostering culture and social cohesion.
Like Tino advised, this is a good time for music to perch on the back of football which has found itself basically soaring over the past months in Cameroon.
We have seen it work in other climes. For them it might have been other causes but we too cause football to fight for causes we better relate to.
The use of football as a tool for the gentrification of our art (music, spoken word, etc) with provide a mutually beneficial parasite-host-like relationship. Both sectors share a lot in common and can feed off each other’s positive energy. This would be nothing short of a recipe for financial and moral success and in the bigger picture, a win for all of Cameroon.