17/11/2012 00:50:46
Diego Maradona, fans and rivals respected Dokta Abega
Diego Maradona - a football god in his own right - was asked to comment the draw. He showed disdain for Cameroon. He could not remember who played for the then truly Indomitable Lions. Not so for Dokta Theophile Abega.
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The draws of the FIFA World Cup Italia 1990 had just been completed and Cameroon - undefeated at the 1982 tournament in Spain but still considered a football light weight had been picked to play the opening game against Argentina.

Diego Maradona - a football god in his own right - was asked to comment the draw. He showed disdain for Cameroon. He could not remember who played for the then truly Indomitable Lions. Not so for Dokta Theophile Abega.

Théophile AbegaCameroon has a really talented midfielder in the person of Theophile Abega, Maradona said, agreeing that "Dokta Abega" could play in the "league of football gods".

To Maradona's discharge, he did not know that a certain no less football god, Roger Milla, would come out of retirement to reclaim the Number 9 jersey and go on to become the 1990 World Cup post-goal, corner spot dancing sensation of all time.

Along with Eto'o Fils, Roger Milla and "Dokta Abega" would have been the first choice for their wings no matter in which country of the world they were born.

On "Dokta Abega" precisely, it does not matter wherever it pleases you to search, it will be hard - excuse me - impossible to unearth a midfielder - long retired or currently in service - who matches the talent of the late Theophile Abega.

Rivals and fans, especially those who reigned on Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium out of the "Shaba" end of the stadium, did not wait to ask the academia and politicians who mismanage football in Cameroon before granting him the title of "Dokta of Football".

That doctorate was earned long before the former Indomitable Lions captain led his team to victory at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d'Ivoire. The same year, he won the top continental recognition as African Footballer of the Year.

Professional football post Abidjan 1984 was less successful and a return to the Caneroonian First Division was marred by a few very "un-Abega" moments, notably once when he tried to blame his team's defeat on the referee.

I know this may sound crazy, but the passing of "Dokta Abega" offers one more opportunity for a Cameroonian Nation - that does not know how to say "thank you" to its heroes - to, perhaps, set out a special cemetery for its football heroes of the like of Abega, Milla, Eto'o. It would likely become a spot of pilgrimage for football lovers from all over the world and show that it is not only by serving in government or in the military that Cameroonians can earn the thanks and respect of a grateful Nation.

Blessed to watch "Dokta Abega" do his magic on the pitch and relay same to fans as a sports commentator, his departure is a big loss for football and for the thousands of young Cameroonians who could use his coaching to grow in his image.

"Dokta" Rest in Peace!

Boh Herbert

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