Members of the Cameroon national soccer team ‘Indomitable Lions’ who participated in the 1990 Fifa World Cup in Italy will finally receive houses as promised them by President Paul Biya 30 years ago.
The president ordered that 22 modern houses be handed to members of the squad that made Cameroon and Africa proud by reaching at the quarter final. It was the first time an African country reached that level.
The thirty year long promise that was met by the country’s long serving leader on thursday has been saluted by the beneficiaries.
Roger Milla, Cameroon’s most prominent player at the competitions staged in Italy in 90 World Cup, described the fulfilment of the presidential promise as a recognition of their contribution towards soccer development in the country.
Milla who spoke on state radio on friday also called on authorities in the country to involve more former internationals in running football in Cameroon.
Francois Omam-Biyick who who scored in the opening match against Argentina expressed his happiness after the head of state fulfilled his promise.
“I am very happy, this gratification of giving houses to the 1990 players is very important,” he said.
Cameroon demonstrated a record-breaking run at the Italia ’90 competitions by beating Argentina in the opening match then Romania and Colombia at the group stages. They bowed out of the competition when England knocked them in the extra-time.
The long delay was blamed on the then Sports and Physical Education Minister who inflated inflated the list from 22 to 44, a number that the officials could not manage.
Authorities of the Cameroon Real Estate Corporation (SIC) have been waiting for an authentication letter and names of beneficiaries from the minister who was fired some months after the competitions.
President of the Association of former players of the national team, Bertin Ebwelle, used the event to mark 30th anniversary of the Italia ’90 to remind President Biya of the unfulfilled promise.
Biya responded through the current Minister of Sports and Physical Education who on Thursday asked the General Manager of the Cameroon Real Estate Corporation to hand keys of modern houses to the players.
The development comes at a time when the body of the captain of the Italia ’90 squad, Stephen Tataw is lying at a Yaounde morgue awaiting burial. Two other former players, Benjamin Massing and Louis Paul Mfede died before the promise was fulfilled.