Cameroon’s President Paul Biya has offered the country national women’s volleyball team FCFA 204 million (Ksh34.7 million, approximately $347,000) for their triumph at the 2019 Women’s African Nations Championship, authorities said.
The country’s Prime Minister, Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute made the announcement in the capital Yaoundé on Tuesday as he officially received and decorated the players with medal of “Commanders of the Order of Sports Merit” on the behalf of the veteran Head of State.
Cameroon outplayed most-titled continental team Kenya 3-2 at 6 October Hall in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday, July 14, in what many fans have described as a fantastic final of the 2019 Women’s Volleyball African Nations Championship to win gold for the second consecutive time.
“You showed patriotism, bravery, combativeness and self-transcendence. You won it very high with four wins in five outings,” PM Dion Ngute told the girls who are coached by Jean Rene Akono.
“You are highly talented sportswomen and exemplary patriots, heroic players who have reproduced the feat of 2017 by conserving the trophy of the Women’s African Nations Volley Ball Championship,” Dion Ngute added.
In a huge contrast, the Malkia Strikers, who were also runners up in 2017, have received no such recognition from the Kenyan government despite several pleas from the girls to have their allowances from their participation in previous tournaments settled.
Malkia Strikers only got a congratulatory message on Twitter from the country's Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed after the final in Egypt 10 days ago.
"#MalkiaStrikers Well done. You did your best throughout at the 2019 Women’s Volleyball African Nations Championships. Thank you for representing Kenya. We are proud of you," tweeted the CS.
Besides being gold medallists, the “Volleyball Lionesses” of Cameroon also garnered several individual distinctions with attacker Laetitia Moma, a top scorer the French Championship last season and a new player of Mulhouse, named MVP and Best Attacker and captain Christelle Nana named best scorer of the tournament.
Moma was awarded the best player of the tournament award two years ago as well.
“We were able to attain this objective thanks to the Cameroonian people,” Nana said. “I want to thank the Cameroonian people because through their support we were able to win the trophy for the second consecutive time,” the captain of the national volleyball team said further.
The recognition by the president of the republic is an encouragement for hard work, according to coach Jean Rene Akono who had earlier said that his players did not have proper preparation for the tournament.
“It is a great honour especially as the president himself wrote to our captain. This shows the recognition of the entire nation. I think that alone will motivate us more to win other medals…with this reward, we will be more galvanised to continue to go to higher heights,” Akono promised.
President Biya had earlier in a tweet described the players as the “Pride of Cameroon.”
"Congratulations to the Indomitable Lionesses following their brilliant back-to-back victory at the AFCON 2019 in women's volleyball. You are the pride of Cameroon. Together, we are champions," Biya said on Twitter following their triumph in Cairo 10 days ago.