Cameroon national team, Indomitable Lions, showed a rare support for “End Anglophone Crisis” movement on Thursday.
Ahead of kickoff against visiting Mozambique in the 2022 AFCON qualifiers at Stade de la Réunification in Douala, the players took a knee as the national anthem played.
The scene was replayed in the 38th minute after captain Vincent Aboubakar celebrated his opener by taking a knee and pointing to the sky with both hands lifted high.
Kneeling on one knee (taking a knee) before sporting events by athletes has been used as a sign of protest against racial and other injustices especially in the US.
Cameroon is smarting from last month’s massacre of seven children at Kumba School in the English speaking region of the country which has been in turmoil for over three years now.
The government has blamed separatists, who have been agitating for breakaway from Francophone Cameroon, for the killings.
According to journalist Daniel Ekonde, Indomitable Lions Players are not known to take a stand on social or political issues in the country.
“Apart from former goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell, who was known to be very vocal, the current crop of Indomitable Lions keep off political issues or stick to the government narrative,” said Daniel.
He however remembers in 2017 after the team won the AFCON in Gabon a few players expressed sympathy with the victims of the ongoing conflict in the Anglophone region.
In 2018, a Kenyan priest, Father Cosmas Omboto Ondari, a Mill Hill priest serving in the Diocese of Mamfe, was shot dead by suspected government soldiers in the Anglophone.
Cameroon is poised to host Championship of Africa Nations (CHAN) in 2021 and the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 2022.