Interest in sports is a universal phenomenon, with each country directly or indirectly specializing in a few selected ones. Like other world citizens, Cameroonians take satisfaction in international successes, making sports a matter of national solidarity.
Cameroon’s choice of sporting events is informed by cultural affinity and historical background. No country can achieve the same level of success in every sport it participates in. Therefore, Cameroon prides itself on a selected few, which we will review in this article.
Football is recognized as the most popular sport in Africa, and Cameroon is a witness to this. As a result, nearly every town has its football pitch, and both local and national tournaments bring big crowds of people eager to cheer on their squad to victory. Therefore, the sport is considered an essential aspect of nation-building.
Patriotic pride grew when the men’s squad, the Indomitable Lions, won the 984, 1988, 2000, 2002, and 2017 editions of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON). This feat underscores the regional dominance of Cameroon in football. It also highlights the place of the Cameroonian men’s football team as one of the best in Africa.
The country made its mark on the world scene when it became the first African team to progress to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1990. The country also won gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Today, the evolution and presence of platforms like https://parimatch.co.tz/ afford football enthusiasts the chance to win big by betting on local and international football games.
The Cameroon women’s national football team has also made its mark on the African continent, emerging runners-up in the 1991, 2004, and 2014 editions of the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations. Contemporary notables in Cameroon football include Thomas N’Kono, Roger Milla, and Samuel Eto’o.
Wrestling is immensely popular in Cameroon, with various forms of the sport available in virtually every hamlet. The prominence of wrestling in the country is traceable to cultural heritage that has long been preserved across the country. For generations, the sport has been included in several of the country’s initiation rites and ceremonies, especially those relating to ethnic groups like the Bakweri and the Duala.
Wrestling in Cameroon became recognized as a mainstream sport in the last decade, owing to the recent accessibility of global wrestling events. Also, many indigenous wrestlers have undergone personal development up to the level of competing in national and international tournaments. Some notable Cameroonian wrestlers include David Tita and Gévrise Emane.
Many world-class courses in Tiko, Yaoundé, and Kribi prove the prominence of golf as a fancy sport in Cameron. These courses host hundreds of golfers every year for various purposes and tournaments. While several participants visit these courses to hone their skills and rise to the top, thousands of enthusiasts and golf lovers visit as spectators.
The golf course in Yaoundé hosted golfers and spectators from African countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, and Zimbabwe in 2020 for the second edition of the Open Golf Tournament by Charity Elessa Lothian-Sen Foundation. The tournament features golfers in three categories: Amateur, Caddy, and Professional.
Athletics, a group of sporting events comprising competitive running, leaping, throwing, racewalking, and other track and field events, are quite popular in Cameroon. The popularity of this group of sporting activities is attributable to its diversity, as interested individuals are presented with various options to explore.
Cameroon has, over the years, specialized in a range of track and field events. This has enabled the country to produce some of the fastest and best runners; these include Esai Adenji, Paul Kuété, and Françoise Mbango Etone.
Another highlight of the country’s exploits in athletics is the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope, hosted annually in the country. The tournament debuted in 1973 and is famous for drawing hundreds of runners and spectators each year as they battle to complete the 40 km race.
Rugby, one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, has significantly influenced Cameroon in recent decades. In response to this trend, the country today has over 3000 players and 15 recognized clubs competing at the professional level. This resulted in the formation of Cameroon’s national rugby union.
Cameroon participated in the African qualification rounds for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in 2001, finishing first in the final standings to advance to the second round. The country finished third in the final standings after losing to Kenya. They returned in 2007, finishing second in the final rankings after losing to Senegal.
Sports are treated seriously in Cameroon, with youngsters exposed to various sporting events from elementary and secondary school years. This is sustained at the tertiary level, with the National Federation for College and University Sports arranging school contests throughout the country. In recent years, some sports have proven to be more popular, with football, wrestling, golf, athletics, and rugby among the most played and followed.