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“This is unjustified”: the anger of Cameroonian handball players deprived of the Olympics due to visa problems

The players aren’t even shocked anymore. “Such disruptions happen all the time,” says Makamte Fabiola, a Montpellier 3M player and member of the Cameroon national team. But this time the sanctions are harsh: no Olympic Games. Cameroon’s handball players were scheduled to fly to Debrecen, Hungary, on April 11 to try to win a ticket to Paris 2024 during the Olympic qualifying tournament. They will be left disappointed and frustrated at the door of the plane and will be replaced by Team UK.

“The Cameroon national team did not provide the documents required to obtain a visa to travel to Hungary in time to participate in the women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament (TQO), the International Handball Federation (IHF) confirmed in a press release on April 9. The next day this was confirmed by the country’s national handball federation. “FECAHAND regrets to confirm the team’s non-participation in the Olympic qualifying tournament.”

“It’s disappointing not to be able to make the most of your chances when a result is forced on you that you can’t control,” said Makamte Fabiola, who missed out on selection this time due to injury. Many will say that we had no chance to get out of this, but the girls believed it. We had a good World Cup and managed to compete against strong opponents. There was a place there. Even if we don’t talk about winning, playing against big teams is always a plus.”

“The documents are not confirmed: which ones? Why ? How ? We do not know “

The Lionesses finished second at the Luanda 2023 TQO Women’s Tournament in October last year. This time they qualified for the April tournament, which they ultimately did not enter. And this is “despite all the efforts made by the Hungarian Federation and the International Handball Federation, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon, in recent weeks,” the IHF clarifies. It’s the same story from FECAHAND. “This decision was taken despite all the efforts made by the State of Cameroon and the Federation.” So who’s to blame?

Former international Karichma Eko reacts to her former team’s non-participation in TQO Paris 2024. She left the Cameroon national team in 2021.

“It’s strange, that’s what we said to each other with the girls,” says Makamte Fabiola. The competition has been planned since the World Cup, we have been waiting for it since October, the players are the same, the composition has not changed. We just know that some documents were not validated: which ones? Why ? How ? We do not know. This is weird. “They are waiting for explanations from the federation, which did not respond to our requests when contacted.

“Our Federation has a great responsibility”

FECAHAND states in its press release that it has made multiple attempts to make an appointment with the German consulate in charge of visas. Who would fire him without examining the case due to the lack of an insurance certificate. “While the carrier was outside” he was ready to make them available.

“It’s unjustified,” says Paola Ebanga, Cameroon’s center half. Our Federation has a great responsibility, which made the request very late. “. Two days before the event, they still did not have a plane ticket. The reason why the player, although selected to participate in the TQO, refused.

“The problem also exists at the state level,” she adds. If our sport was taken seriously, this wouldn’t happen.” The event is not isolated. Disorganization, unpaid bonuses: the Federation’s blunders are becoming more frequent. Abba Oumate, the club’s president, apologized to the players who are demanding change.

Source: Le Parisien

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