One wonders if Issa Hayatou, the CAF president would have acted in the same arbitrary and high handed manner as he did with Togo if god forbid, the same horrific attack took place against the Cameroonian team during the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations.
There is enough circumstantial evidence that he would not have sanctioned the Cameroonian team. They would have been allowed to withdraw without penalty because of political considerations.
Issa Hayatou comes from a politically well connected Fulani family from the northern region of Cameroon. His brother Seydou Hayatou was a former prime minister of Cameroon under the present president Paul Biya, a Beti.
The Betis from the south have long been mired in a struggle for control of Cameroon with the Fulanis since the 1960s. Both tribes co-existed in an uneasy alliance till 1984 when Biya became the target of a coup attempt attempted by the Northerners backed by the predominantly northern Republican guards in charge of Biya’s security. The coup was widely seen as a result of a fallout between Biya and his predecessor, Cameroon’s first president Ahmadou Ahidjo, a Fulani. Ahidjo was forced to go into exile The failed coup saw a ethnic cleansing of the north in a gruesome backlash as the Betis consolidated power till the end of the decade.
Only recently since the turn of the millenium, have the Betis reached out to the Fulanis with Biya appointing several ministers from the Fulanis into lower level cabinet positions. Seydou Hayatou is still a powerful politician, most recently stepping down as Director of the Bank of Central African States. He reportedly harbours presidential aspirations.
Given that country’s sensitive geo-political situation, an attack on the Cameroonian team would have destabilized the fragile nature of the Beti- Fulani axis with serious repercussions to the Hayatous political ambitions with futher marginalization of the Fulanis. It is a safe bet that Issa Hayatou would have had no words to say to the Biya government if they had decided to withdraw the team.