2017  U- Games Kicks Off Under Shadow of The Anglophone Crisis

The Opening ceremony

The 20th edition of the University Games of Cameroon and the first ever to be hosted in the Northwest Region officially kicked off this afternoon at the campus of the University of Bamenda, with some 3000 athletes from eight state universities, three public higher institutes of learning and seven private universities and higher institute of learning participating.

The prevailing socio-political crisis in the Northwest and South West regions had a significant impact on the games, with the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) pulling out before the start of the games, forcing the organizers to switch the opening football match that was supposed to pit the University of Bamenda (UBa) against the CUIB to a rather uninteresting feminine football match between the host and the Ngaoundere University.

The games also noted the absence of regular participants like the National Polytechnic Bamenda, the St Monica University of Buea, The Catholic University of Cameroon-Bamenda and The Christian University of Cameroon (CUC), taking away some of the effervescence that always goes along with the games. The locals also largely failed to embrace the games depriving it of the huge turnout that has been a constant feature in all the previous 19 editions.

This however did not dampen the enthusiasm and determination of the participating delegations and the host university to engrave the game into the annals of history. In her welcome speech, the Vice Chancellor of UBa, Prof. Theresa Nkuo said it was not by chance that UBa was chosen to host the games and it wasn’t by mistake that they decided to host it. She heaped on the infrastructural benefits UBa has reaped from taking up the challenge to stage the event.

VC-UBa delivering her welcome speech

Higher Education Minister Jacques Fame Ndongo described the university games not only as a sporting event to exhibit talent but also as a forum to display and forge national unity and integration, peace, love and unity and the cultural diversity of Cameroon above all else. He called for the Olympic spirit of fair play to triumph above all difference and aspirations.

The Mayor of Tubah, Tajong Martin used his welcome speech to praise the efforts of government and the University of Bamenda for the enormous changes brought to his municipality by the game. He however did not minced word when he urged government to seek a solution to the ongoing crisis in this part of the country and for the engineers involve in the ongoing construction works in the games village to respect the municipal town plan.

The opening ceremony of the games was also attended by the Minister of Sports and Physical Education Ishmael Bidoung Mkpatt , Mbah Acham of Supreme State Audit, Atanga Nji Paul Minister Delegate at the Presidency in-Charge of Special Duties, the Governor of the Northwest Region and various administrative and tradition authorities.

L-R NW Governor, Higher Education Minister and Minister of Sports and Physical Education

Fan Club marching pass

In the opening match, the ladies of UBa beat their mates of Ngaundere by 2-0. Earlier in the day, a cross country marathon and a unity walk took place in Bamenda, kicking off from the Commercial Avenue to start the game. The Universities of Douala, Buea, Bamenda, Dschang, Ngaoundere, Maroua, Yaoundé I and II, the National Institute of Youth and Sports, The Public Works School, National Institute for Post and Telecommunication, Institut Universitaire Catholique Sainte Jerome Douala, Institut Siantou Superieur, Universtaire Du Montagne, Institut Universitaire de la Cote, Institut Universtaire du Golfe de Guinee.

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