By: Carlos Castro
Although the unstoppable Samuel Eto’o would go on to make international headlines by leading his team to victory twice in the African Cup of Nations, once in 2000 and again in 2002, Cameroon’s football history dates way back to 1953, when they played their first match as a national team while they were still a French colony. Undoubtedly, their greatest athletic achievement was at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, where the U-23 Indomitable Lions won gold against Spain. They’re arriving to Qatar 2022 fully motivated, having secured their spot in the Cup during extra time in their last match against Algeria.
With a population of over 25 million inhabitants, Cameroon is a country full of diversity. It’s home to 240 ethnic groups… each with its own language! Adding to its geographical location (as it’s the crossroads of Africa), is an exquisite gastronomy which mixes the flavors of the whole continent and combines them with some European seasoning; rich music, unique artisanal items, and a people so friendly and respectful, that foreigners always enjoy their visits.
Fun fact: Cameroon comes from the Portuguese “Rio de Camaroes” (river of shrimps, due to their abundance), the name that Portuguese explorers gave to the Wouri River during an expedition in 1472. The Germans arrived later and named the Rio de Camaroes, Kamerun. The English had called it Cameroon and, finally, the French called it Cameroun.
The first Christian missionaries arrived in the 19th century, founding schools, establishing health centers, and promoting literacy. Catholics, Protestants, and other Christian groups comprise 70% of the population to date. Islam is practiced by 20%, and the rest follow African folk religions or confess to not adhere to any religion. The Church of the Nazarene founded its first church in the nation in 1999.
Let us pray for Cameroon’s 4.4 million people, many in need of humanitarian aid due to crises linked to social conflict and displacement or epidemics. Pray for the nation to be saturated with the love of Jesus Christ.
Photo Football Player: George Clerk.
Photo Culture: ESPN Sports.
This article is part of our series featuring the culture, church, and sporting accomplishments of the 2022 Men’s World Cup participating countries.