The most important international football tournament after the FIFA World Cup is set to kick off in mid-June 2017, and the participation of Cameroon has been confirmed despite an ongoing legal dispute within the confederation and professional leagues of that African nation. The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup is being hosted by Russia; the inaugural match on June 17 will feature the host team against New Zealand. Eight national football teams representing every confederation associated with FIFA will compete for a prestigious trophy that is the second most coveted after the vaunted World Cup, which will have to wait until next year in Russia.
Participation is determined in the following fashion:
- Russia is guaranteed a spot as host country.
- The FIFA World Cup holders, Germany, get a spot.
- Australia is the Asia Football Confederation Champion.
- Chile is the Copa America Champion.
- Mexico is the CONCACAF Champion.
- New Zealand is the Oceania Champion.
- Portugal is the UEFA Champion.
- Cameroon is the AFCON Champion.
African football fans are delighted to see the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon return to international tournaments; after all, this is a team that has proven itself at the World Cup level. Still, things are not well at Fecafoot, the national football federation in Cameroon, and a first division club has sent a scathing letter to FIFA suggesting that the Lions should not participate in international events until certain issues are worked out. FIFA has admitted that officials are concerned about the problems that have plagued Cameroon’s confederation, but the governing body insists that this is not a good time to be arguing since Africa needs to be represented in Russia.
The Fecafoot problems date back to 2013, when FIFA declared the Cameroon federation to be an unfit member of FIFA. The Olympic Committee and international arbitration courts have gotten involved, and a visit from a FIFA official to Cameroon has been conveniently scheduled to take place in August after the Confederations Cup concludes in Russia. Even though the Confederations Cup is often considered to be a warm-up to the World Cup, football fans and bettors are delighted to have a chance to follow exciting matches and place wagers. One nation conspicuously missing from this tournament is Brazil, which was in crisis when it hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was knocked out of Copa America by the national team of Peru. Gambling analysts have Germany as the favorite, followed by Portugal and Chile.
Cameroon is in a tough group in the tournament; the Lions would have to get past Germany and Chile to advance. Plus, there is the issue that some star players who are signed to European clubs have taken advantage of the national federation struggle to skip the Confederations Cup. Still, Cameroon is a safer bet than Australia and New Zealand.