BAMENDA – We travelled to the far west of Cameroon, the English-speaking region which borders Nigeria, for the first time. After two stop-offs at night and a 10-hour drive, we reached Bamenda, located at 1,600 metres above sea level and accessed by a very rocky road.
It was amazing to see pine and fir trees in the heart of Africa, which provided the backdrop to Inter Campus’ local facilities in the area. Thirty coaches, men and women, followed the course run by Alberto Giacomini and Roberto Picardi, having fun as they played the part of children in preparing exercises.
The town is a constant dust cloud because it’s the dry season in these parts, and it almost seemed like our coaches had covered themselves in red clay. Every night they had to wash the red clay out of their clothes.
At the end of the course the coaches will go back to their hometowns of Kumbo, Mamfe, Fonjumetaw and Bamenda to pass on what they’ve learned to the children: i.e. football is above all a game and all children have a right to play. “We have a right to play” is what they shouted into our cameras. The next stop is at Mbalmayo in the south, where it all began 14 years ago.