Thursday 24 November 2022, 03:00

Indomitable Lions’ den undergoes renovation

  • The National Technical Centre in Odza serves as the headquarters of Cameroonian football

  • World football’s governing body supported the redevelopment through the FIFA Forward Programme

  • Eto’o: “It’ll allow Cameroonian football to develop far more quickly”

Following his election as Cameroonian Football Association President in December 2021, Indomitable Lions legend Samuel Eto’o promised to “launch the reconstruction of football” in his homeland.

One year on and major progress has been overseen: a spot at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ was secured after the Africans’ disappointing showing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. Meanwhile, the National Technical Centre in Odza has been redeveloped following many months of work after the project was launched under the tenure of former FECAFOOT President Seidou Mbombo Njoya in 2020.

Not only was the Cameroonian FA’s home in need of a facelift, the redevelopment work was also rich in symbolic value. The training complex, located on the outskirts of Yaounde, has traditionally acted as the national teams’ base and the focal point of Cameroonian football. Indeed, it was no coincidence that Eto’o paid a visit to the centre the very day after having been named head of the national association. “It’s a massive asset that’ll enable Cameroonian football to develop far more quickly,” explains the frontman-come-executive. “There’ll be new pitches and offices, which will allow our technical director to focus on looking at ways to develop the game. Africa is a continent that’s constantly evolving and I want to thank the FIFA President for his contribution to the development of the game, not just in Cameroon, but across our continent.”

The renovation of the Odza Technical Centre, which was given the green light in 2020, would very likely never have been completed without FIFA’s support, with world football’s governing body offering funding via the FIFA Forward Programme. The project was certainly an ambitious one, with a hotel and an artificial pitch amongst some of the standout features now available to the men’s and women’s national teams. “When it comes to infrastructure, the most important thing for us is that we’re able to operate in an environment that allows us to express ourselves, share our ideas and work in the best possible conditions,” insists national-team coach Rigobert Song. “Having access to high-quality pitches will clearly help all of the coaching staff in our work.”

The Cameroonian FA was in need of a fresh start and has certainly laid some firm foundations following the inauguration of its new-look home.