By Basil K Mbuye
Star athletes over the world have donated money or equipment to boost the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, but those of Cameroon are yet to react as the country’s registered cases approach half a thousand.
Millionaire players and star athletes, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer and many others across sports disciplines, have donated millions to charity. It has been the same situation in Africa with a good number of sports stars donating to their countries to fight this pandemic.
However, the situation in Cameroon has been a dormant one as none of the sports stars in the country has made his or her impact felt in these desperate times as the tolls continue to increase.
Twenty-time Grand Slam winner, Roger Federer, along with his wife, Mirka, has donated circa FCFA 621 million (one million Swiss Franc), to help vulnerable families in Switzerland. Manchester City coach, Pep Guardiola, gave FCFA 656 million (one million euros) towards the purchase and production of medical supplies and equipment with another Barcelona-based campaign.
Cristiano Ronaldo and agent, Jorge Mendes, also donated circa FCFA 656 million to fund intensive care units in hospitals in Lisbon and Porto. Argentinean forward, Lionel Messi, has donated FCFA 656 million to a hospital in Barcelona to help combat the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistani cricketer, Shahid Afridi, is on the ground, donating soap, disinfectants, food and other supplies to the needy. While Bangladeshi cricket team players have contributed half their monthly salaries to help the country fight the pandemic.
In Africa, the same gesture is taking place in other countries. Senegalese forward, Sadio Mane, donated FCFA 30 million (50,000 USD) to his country’s National Medical Commission to fight the deadly microbe. His compatriot, Keita Balde, who played for AS Monaco, donated FCFA 11 million
In Ghana, Asamoah Gyan, Andre Ayew, Samuel Owusu, among others, have donated face masks, hand sanitizers, soaps to the Health Ministry. In Ivory Coast, former Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba, gave masks to the cathedral of Abidjan.
In Egypt, Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, made a donation of circa FCFA 700 million (1.1 million Euros). Stars of Egypt’s two largest clubs, Zamalek and Al Ahly, have come together in the fight against the COVID 19 pandemic. Al Ahly defender, Saad Sameer, launched the #good_challenge initiative under which he announced that he would sponsor 20 families until the crisis has ended. Other stars, like Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed El-Shenawy, Wael Gomaa, Mido, Trezeguet, among others, have also taken the challenge.
In Algeria, former international, Rafik Saifi, has launched a campaign in which he urged all current and former internationals to help finance Algerian hospitals. The campaign has been welcomed favourably with players like Yacine Brahimi, Carl Medjani, Ramy Bensebaini, and almost the entire squad who won last year’s CAF African Cup of Nations title. Several other footballers in the Algerian local leagues have individually decided to sponsor some impoverished families during the crisis.
The Carthage Eagles’ past and current players, including Fakhereedine Ben Youssef, Youssef Msakni, have all made donations to the Coronavirus solidarity fund of their country. The Tunisian Football Federation has made available FCFA 20 million (100,000 dinars) to provide the Borj Cedria and Ain Draham centres with medical supplies, provide 700 families with staple food, among others.
In Morocco, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, in cooperation with its professional and regional leagues, and women’s football bodies donated the sum of FCFA 590 million (10 million dirhams) to fight COVID 19. Some clubs also announced donations to the solidarity fund.
However, the situation in Cameroon has been different. Sports stars, federations or clubs in the country are yet to contribute to the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Sports stars like Samuel Eto’o, Joel Matip, Nicolas Nkoulou, Benjamin Moukandjo, Toko Karl Ekambi, Ajara Nchout Njoya, Gabrielle Aboudi Onguéné, Estelle Johnson, among others in the football milieu, are yet to make a gesture.
Federations like the FECABASKET, FECAHAND, FECAFOOT et al, have all been quiet as the virus continues to AFFECT Cameroonians.
Also, sports stars with Cameroonian origin like Cameroonian-French mixed martial art professional, Francis Ngannou, American football star, Ndamukong Ngwa Suh and others, are all silent.
Cameroonian professional basketball players in the National Basketball Association, NBA, like Pascal Siakam, Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Luc Mbah a Moute, Joel Embiid, are yet to react.
However, Christian Mougang Bassogog, in February, donated FCFA 10 million to Cameroonian students living in China