Cameroon’s men’s team in pay dispute on eve of AFCON 2019

The reigning AFCON champions are supposed to begin pursuit of a second consecutive title on Tuesday but Cameroon’s men’s football team is still in Yaounde because of a players’ pay dispute, a team spokeswoman said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO – REUTERS

“The Lions are still in Yaounde. They did not agree with their managers on the amount of their premiums,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

Pay disputes before major competitions are not unusual for African soccer federations who often do not have sufficient resources to pay their players high sums. Nigeria and Ghana have experienced similar problems in recent World Cups.

Ministry of sports spokesman Gabriel Nloga said the players had each been paid a bonus of 20 million CFA francs ($34,635). A source at Cameroon’s soccer federation said the players had asked for twice that.

Two sources close to the negotiations said they expected the team to leave Cameroon later on Friday after the ministry of sport agreed to pay each player a 5 million CFA franc bonus after their first tournament victory.

Cameroon has a rich soccer history, with both male and female teams taking part in a number of past World Cups.

The women’s team was one of three African teams to qualify for the World Cup taking place in France. They reached the last 16 on Thursday after a 2-1 win over New Zealand.

The Cup kicks off later on Friday with an opening match between Egypt and Zimbabwe in Cairo.