Sixteen months to the kickoff of the 2019 edition of the African Cup of Nations, streets in Cameroon’s Capital city, Yaoundé are already in the colours of the competition.
The giant billboards announce the football fiesta, infrastructure, the national team, Indomitable Lions and Cameroon’s prowess in football.
The advertisements have been placed at strategic street corners bearing varied massages, including the Head of State’s engagement to ensure that Cameroon is ready.
On the main road to the Olembe neighbourhood for example, a giant billboard of what the Olembe sports complex will look like upon completion and the inscription, “Cameroon will be ready” catches the attentions of road users.
At the Tongolo junction another billboard with the image of the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium stands tall with the caption, “We are already there”.
Another billboard at Mballa II neighbourhood highlights the image of players of the Indomitable Lions who won the 2017 edition of the African Cup of Nations played in Gabon. It projects the message, “together, for the final victory.”
Several other billboards with messages indicating Cameroon’s enthusiasm to host the competition have been hoisted in different parts of Yaounde.
“Cameroon: Nation of Winners” is the message on the billboard that welcomes commuters around Nlongkak. Contrary to the others that highlighted images of sites and players, the billboard at Nlongkak summarises Cameroon’s football prowess.
It indicates that Cameroon has won the African Cup of Nations five times in 1984, 1988, 2000, 2002, and 2017 with each victory represented by a golden star on the poster.
It also shows that Cameroon won the Afro-asiatic cup in 1985 and during the Sydney Olympic Games in the year 2000 Cameroon won the gold medal in football.
Three local football clubs in Cameroon also won the African Cup of Cup winners in five different seasons in 1965, 1971, 1978, 1979, 1980 and three Clubs also won the Africa Cup of Champion Clubs in 1975, 1979 and 1981.
On another section of the board are names of Cameroonians who have been recognised by the continental football body with the African footballer of the year award.
The players of the Indomitable Lions who won the coveted continental golden boat include:
Roger Milla winner in 1976 and 1990
Thomas Nkono in 1979 and 1982
Jean Manga Onguene in 1980
Patrick Mboma in 2000
Samuel Eto’o in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010
These billboard are up at a time when the inspection team from the Confederation of African Football are in the country on their first mission to evaluate Cameroon’s level of readiness to host the 2019 African Cup Nations. Going by the messages on the billboards Cameroon is very enthusiastic to host the sports jamboree and will be ready for it.
The African Cup of Nations is the biggest football festival on the continent. Cameroon is due to host the 2019 edition that will be unique because for the first time 24 teams will be taking part up from 16 in previous editions.