The Vice President of the Cameroon Wrestling Federation speaks of this sport in Cameroon. He gave an interview to CamerPost, and below is an extract from it.
Cameroon won the African heavyweight belt for 28 years. Yet the country counts very few top-level wrestlers. How is this possible ?
Wrestlers do not feel at all encouraged nor accompanied. Remember the launching ceremony of the 2016 season, at the Camp de l’Unité, they each received 15,000 CFA per a fight won. The losers were entitled to 10,000 CFA. The children have denounced the abuse and claimed an increase in their bonuses. The reaction of the federation officials did not please them. They reminded wrestlers that they represent the nation, and for that they must do it for free. It’s a shame! these are not things to say to these young people, when we know what sacrifices they consent. They endanger their health and even risk their lives in the ring for 10,000 or 15,000 CFA! Rather than suffer fractures and other injuries that are not supported, the wrestlers prefer to stay at home. It is very difficult for these children. Yet they are many who love wrestling.
Was it the same reality in the time of Super Makia?
I made a good career because I moved out of the country. Guinness had recruited me, linking my image to its products. This was also the case with Michael Power. I almost went around the world. I even spent five years in London. My monthly wage was 600,000 CFA, with the bonus of free housing, a special allowance for my diet and a vehicle. Changes occurred later in the company. The Marketing Director from Europe, was replaced by a Cameroonian. A brother! It is the latter who decided to change my salary treatment. We did not find a common ground and that’s why I left Guinness. Overall my career has been a success. I’m not a billionaire, but lacks nothing today.
In your opinion what should be done for the Cameroonian wrestling to have a good level?
Each athlete should have a sponsor. That’s how they can know a good evolution in their career. In Cameroon people do not know. Power Lee, the current heavyweight African Champion, was able to play the final move in Yaounde thanks to his sponsor. He handles the financial side. Cameroonians lack sponsors. Each wrestler must have one. If not things get difficult. In fact the state does not take care of beginners, but known athletes. The athlete must take charge at first, before expecting some assistance from the state. Cameroonians must know.