Clarisse Sih, AIPS Young Reporter, Cameroon
YAOUNDE, January 29, 2019 – It is a sunny Monday afternoon in Yaounde and Alain Djemfa Defrasne is on the pitch. Although temperatures are as high as 33 degrees, he can be heard giving orders to the team training. Contrary to expectations, it is not his new team he is working with today. It is a team he has been with since 2017. As head coach of the combined police and armed forces football crew, he takes his job very seriously. “I am a man of the field. I love my job. I think I must do all I can to help my team succeed.”
This determination and eagerness to work is probably what motivated the Cameroon Football Federation boss Seidou Mbombo Njoya to appoint the 46-year-old head coach of the senior women’s national team. “I was busy training this team when a friend called to inform me I had been appointed head coach. I think it is the reward that comes after a long career and hard work.”
When asked if he thinks he will perform better than his predecessor Joseph Brian Ndoko, he smiles, wipes the sweat off his brow and blinks several times as though to find the right words “I think my predecessors all did a great job. I will simply copy the good things they did in order to make sure Cameroon gets as many trophies as possible.”
Today, a few members of his new squad are present at his training session, all eager to discover his style of work. Although Alain Djeumfa has been their fitness trainer for almost a decade, they are yet to discover him as head coach. Annette Ngo Ndom, goalkeeper of the women’s national team is optimistic: “I know he will do a great job. He is a hardworking person and pays close attention to details. With him as our coach, I think we will perform better than we did last time at the FIFA Women’s World Cup.”
The Indomitable Lionesses are expected to begin training next week ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup scheduled for June 2019 in France. Already, their new leader is confident they will perform beyond expectations in this year’s edition: “Our aim is to get to the quarter-final stage at least. I believe we can do it.”
Alain Djeumfa Defrasne has trained many local clubs since 2003. Some of them include PWD of Bamenda, Aigle Royal of Menoua and New Stars of Douala among others. In 2010, he was appointed deputy fitness trainer of the women’s national team – a post he occupied until this January 25. The married father of four takes over from Joseph Brian Ndoko, who had been with the team for just one year.