Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions Finally Get their Promised Homes, but it’s too Late for Some
After a long wait, Cameroon’s 1990 Indomitable Lions would finally get the houses President Paul Biya promised them 30 years ago.
Roger Milla and the 1990 squad stunned the world with a feat, hitting the highest target for an African team to reach the quarter finals of that year’s FIFA World Cup. A thrilled President Biya then promised to supply all the 22 Lions houses.
Stephen Tataw was the most blessed Captain of the Indomitable Lions' Squad (C) The SportsNation
They may finally come in possession of those houses. On occasion of the 30th anniversary of that historic run, the players wrote to President Biya demanding what happened to that promise. Biya responded by asking the Director General of the country’s real estate company, SIC to provide all the Lions the houses.
“We are grateful that the President has finally kept his word,” said Albert Roger Milla, the star of the 1990 World Cup tournament, who at age 38 was still able to hit four goals in the competition.
“We never asked the President to give us houses. He did it at his own volition and therefore there should be no argument that the gift came too late,” Milla said.
Francois Omam-Biyick who gave his side the all-important goal in the opening game against Argentina said he too was happy.
“I am very happy and say thank you to the president of the republic. This gratification of giving houses to the 1990 players is very important.”
Mfede Louis-Paul created the first dribble that electrified the Indomitable Lions against Argentina (C) Getty Images
But the houses come at a time three of their mates, Louis Paul Mfede, Benjamin Massing and Tataw Eta Stephen are all dead, and they died in misery.
What blocked the process was that instead of 22 names, a list of 44 was forwarded to the President by the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Joseph Fofe, some highly placed sources in Yaounde told Timescape Magazine.
Massing Benjamin leading a charge against Argentina's Caniggia (C) The Mirror
But the association of former lions, with Bertin Ebwelle as president revived the file with a letter to the presidency.
The director of the housing estate has been instructed to finalise the process and hand the houses closer to where the players live, namely Yaoundé, Douala and Limbe.
Cameroon became Africa’s first ever team to reach the World Cup quarter finals in 1990, beating cup holders Argentina in their opening game, and defeating both Columbia and Romania in subsequent encounters.
They bowed out to England in the quarter finals, but their sterling performance not only put Cameroon on the world map, but also earned for Africa five places at the World Cup final phase.