Women's Sport: UEFA to help women's football in Cameroon

Women’s football in Cameroon is big and former Netherlands international Hesterine De Reus wants more money to be put into the sport in Africa.

De Reus thinks essential changes need to be made and this can only be achieved by everyone working together. The former Australia coach went to Cameroon as part of Uefa-Assist a program set up by European football’s governing body. 

“We’ve (Uefa) analyzed the situation and spoken with Fecafoot about the next steps,” she told BBC Sport. We’re going to help with coaching education, the youth league and talent development plan by providing technical support in all these areas.” 

The 58-year-old believes with the right funding and attention, women’s football in the African country can thrive.

“The passion for women’s football in Cameroon is surreal, Football is in the genes of Cameroonians and they play everywhere but I feel at youth level it has to be better organized,” she said. 

“There are a lot of young talented players here but there is a need for more investment. If it is well organized, we can easily identify the young talented players and create more opportunities for them to further develop.

“Women’s football is developing very fast on an international level and if Cameroon has the ambition to continuously qualify for the world cup, we need to start building the structures.”

The Cameroon women’s national team made it to the last 16 of both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, despite their success at the top of this – women’s football at the grassroots level is suffering still. A professional women’s football league was set-up in 2019, however, matches were postponed for weeks as a result of inadequate pitches and financial difficulties.

“I think Cameroon has been excellent on the international stage, qualifying twice for the World Cup and going past the group stages (especially) given that the infrastructure is not so developed yet,” she said.

“They have to start organizing competitions for the youth.

“Fecafoot (the Cameroon Football Federation) officials told me they’re starting an under 15 league for the boys so we need to find ways for the girls to play football as well.

“There should be cooperation between schools so that girls can have more playing time.

“There’s a need to organize regular training sessions and regular matches to find talented players. But once this is done, you must have structures to develop your best players to become stars.”

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