By DOH JAMES SONKEY
The 2018 World Military Women’s Football Championship is currently taking place in Fort Bliss, Texas in the United States of America without one of the qualified teams, Cameroon because the female military lionesses were denied visa to enter America for the tournament holding from June 20 to July 5, 2018.
Consequently, Cameroon’s name was stripped off from Group B where it was lodged and their first match against Bahrain that was initially scheduled to be played last Friday, June 22, 2018 failed to take place because the lionesses did not show up.
Following this unfortunate development, group A has five teams; USA, South Korea, Netherlands, Canada and China while group B is now left only with four teams; France, Germany, Bahrain and Brazil.
The American Embassy in Yaounde is said to have refused granting the Cameroonian female military squad a visa for fear of some players escaping in the USA as was the case in Australia during the last Commonwealth games in April 2018.
Organized by the International Council of Military Sports, the competition entered its 11th edition this year.
The visa refusal saga for the military indomitable lionesses is coming at the time the dust is yet to settle over the US Ambassador, Peter Henry Barlerin’s advice on the President of the Republic, Paul Biya to think of leaving a legacy like Nelson Mandela of South Africa and George Washington of USA.
Since his media outing, Ambassador Peter Henry Barlerin seems to have been declared persona non grata by the Yaounde regime barons with an individual reported to have even threatened the Ambassador on his life.
The 2018 World Military Women’s Football Championship in Fort Bliss, Texas [June 20, arrival of delegations; June 21, opening ceremony; June 22-July 3, tournament] brings together women soccer players from militaries around the world to compete, promote gender equity among service members, and bridge cultures in friendship.
The Cameroonian team had been invited to participate, but we did not receive their visa applications in time. Due to necessary travel time to the United States and even with expedited visa processing, they would have been unable to participate per the regulations of the tournament.
There are no penalties for the no-show and it will not affect their chances to be included in such events in future.
We regret not being able to have made this happen and wish them well for the future.
Cameroon military lionesses refused visa to enter USA for World Championship
By DOH JAMES SONKEY