Yaounde: Cameroon football chiefs said they are determined to root out the seven players they termed as 'bad apples' implicated in an alleged matchfixing scandal over their World Cup group game with Croatia.
"Recent allegations of fraud around Cameroon's 2014 Fifa World Cup three preliminary games, especially Cameroon versus Croatia, as well of the 'existence of seven bad apples [in our national team]' do not reflect the values and principles promoted by our administration, in line with Fifa's code of conduct and the ethics of our nation," the Cameroon federation (FECAFOOT) said in a statement on its website. "We are strongly committed to employ all means necessary to resolve this disruptive matter in the shortest delays."
Cameroon's squad. Pic/ AFP
FECAFOOT added that in 55 years they had never before been punished for "match-fixing or any fraud of any kind." The launching of the investigation by the Ethics Committee followed a report in Germany in which a Singaporean match-fixer correctly forecast that Croatia would win 4-0 and that a player would be sent off in the first-half.
Barcelona star Alex Song was dismissed for a bizarre elbow assault to the back of Mario Mandzukic in the 40th minute. Later in the match, left back Benoit Assou-Ekotto aimed a headbutt at team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo leading the 'Indomitable Lions' veteran German coach Volker Finke to label their behaviour as unacceptable.
Football's governing body FIFA said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation. "Speaking generally, the integrity of the game is a top priority for FIFA and as such we take any allegations of match manipulation very seriously."
Cameroon's campaign proved to be an unmitigated disaster from start to finish as the players refused to board their plane for the finals until a problem was resolved over their bonuses. Their one world class player Samuel Eto's barely played while aside from the Croatia thrashing, the team went down 1-0 to Mexico and 4-1 to hosts Brazil.