The Cameroonian first division football championship could be played without the defending champion. Coton Sport is threatening to boycott the tournament. The reason: the city of Garoua where the club is based has not been selected to host the matches.
The Cameroonian football season will kick off this Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Mbouda, in the western region. A few hours before this appointment which will oppose Bamboutos to PWD of Bamenda, voices are raised in Garoua, in the North of the country. The flagship club of the region, Coton Sport, is threatening to boycott the competition. The Green and White are contesting the formula of the championship which they consider discriminatory.
A consultation took place on Monday between the Football Federation (Fécafoot), the transitional committee in charge of organizing professional championships and club presidents. At the end of the discussions, it was decided that the first division championship will be played in two pools of 12 and 13 clubs, divided into four cities: Yaounde, Douala, Limbe and Bafoussam. No trace of the city of Garoua where Coton Sport is based. And this, the Cameroonian champion in title does not support it.
"Coton Sport represents the three northern regions of the country. It is inconceivable that all this part of the territory is deprived of the matches of its flagship team" said Adamou Saliou.The head of communication of Coton Sport threatens: "If the Fécafoot stubbornly wants to apply this discriminatory formula, we will be forced not to participate in the championship this season. The new formula of the championship is shocking for the Cotonculteurs on several other points. Firstly, the club's leaders believe that they were not invited to the consultation that led to the validation of the four cities of the competition. While "the city of Garoua is equipped with ultramodern infrastructure that hosted the recent African Cup matches," they say.
The board of Coton Sport also criticizes the application of the rules of the competition. "In the rules of the championship, it is said that all clubs will play in neutral stadiums. But when you look at the schedule, this is not the case. There are three clubs based in Yaounde who will play there. And it is the same for some clubs in Douala and Bafoussam. There is a mismatch," said Adamou Saliou.
A petition launched
In Garoua, Coton Sport's stronghold, fans, elites and journalists are crying foul. A petition has even been launched to protest the current format of the championship. The club's leaders have sent a letter to the president of Fécafoot. Sources close to Samuel Eto'o whisper that a meeting is scheduled in the coming days to explain to the club, the factors that weighed in favor of the adoption of the championship formula. In the latest news, informed voices believe that the Fecafoot would study the feasibility of finally including the city of Garoua among the hosts of the championship.