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DATELINE WORLD CUP 2002 / JAPAN

Indomitable Lions Roar About Lack of Respect

June 09, 2002|Dan Loumena

The new kids on the block, Cameroon's Indomitable Lions, believe they have identified the bullies and they're not going to keep quiet about it.

"If you are an African team, you don't get the same treatment as the bigger, better-known teams," said Cameroon Coach Winfried Schaefer, a native of Germany.

Schaefer said Saturday that FIFA and Japan's organizing committee had shown favoritism toward Germany, which Cameroon plays Tuesday in Shizuoka. As the home team, Cameroon would normally choose its final training time at the stadium the night before the match. However, when Schaefer said he requested a 7 p.m. practice, the soccer governing body told him that Cameroon would have to train 30 minutes later to suit Germany.

"Against Saudi Arabia we were the home team, so we got to choose first," defender Raymond Kallas said. "So why shouldn't it be the same with Germany? It just doesn't correspond to the rules and it's unjust."

There have been incidents during the games, too.

In a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, Cameroon had a goal nullified for offside, but television replays showed the play was legal. Schaefer also felt Daniel Ngom Kome was fouled in the penalty area 30 seconds into the match. But the referee didn't give one.

"This is a global problem," Schaefer said. "Just look at yellow cards. It's so much easier for referees to give African players yellow cards. Do you ever see African players moan to the referee like the European or South American players do just because they don't accept his call?"

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