Foe memorial in the final – Press photo via FIFA.com
CAIRO – 18 June 2017: The participation of African champions Cameroon in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup in France was surrounded by dramatic moments both on and off the pitch.
Cameroon qualified for the tournament after winning the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations in Mali. Expectations were high because Cameroon had great players in its squad like Samuel Eto’o, Rigobert Song and Mark Vivian Foe. Cameroon played in group B alongside Brazil, Turkey, and the U.S.
Cameroon started the tournament playing Brazil, the 2002 FIFA World Cup winners. Cameroon defeated Brazil thanks to Samuel Eto’o goal in the last 10 minutes of the match.
The second match was against Turkey. Neither side managed to score a goal throughout the match until Cameroon’s Geremi Njitab scored a late penalty goal and securing the win.
Cameroon qualified for semifinals at the top of the group after drawing 0-0 with the U.S.
Cameroon played against Colombia in the semifinals and they opened the score in the ninth minute with a goal scored by Puis Ndiefe.
In the 73rd minute of the match, Mark Vivan Foe collapsed at the center of the pitch, the place where his talents were best displayed. Everyone knew he is dead , the look in his eyes still lingers in every football fan’s memory.
The second semifinal match between France and Turkey played after news of Foe’s death spread all over the world. Silence and tears filled the stadium, despite France’s 3-2 victory over Turkey.
Cameroon players decided to play the final in memory of their friend , Thierry Henry scored the only goal of the match, securing France the title in a match that was ultimately played for empathy and humanity.
Last minute goals , great matches, reaching the final and Foe’s death made Cameroon’s participation memorable.