By Basil K. Mbuye

wpid-footballjpgpagespeedceVId9czVxgI.jpgWith just a few days to the kick-off of the 2014 football season, Professional league stakeholders are ?gearing up to make this year?s championship a memorable one.

Business24

After the withdrawal of MTN, FECAFOOT is busy lobbying for new sponsors. According to our sources, marketers have begun talks with three companies: CAMTEL, Tradex and AES-Sonel.

CAMTEL CEO, David Nkotto, once announced their intention to sponsor the league this season. However, this saw criticisms, including that from former Lions striker, Roger Milla, who has already predicted CAMTEL?s failure in sponsoring the league. FECAFOOT is believed to pump in the sum of FCFA 400 million, unlike the FCFA 250 million they dished out last season.

Also, the State will dish out the sum of FCFA 560 million. This same grant, allocated to 28 clubs last season, will be shared between 37 teams in Ligue I and Ligue II this season. Of the FCFA 560 million State subsidies, initially for the salaries of players, each Elite One club had received FCFA 30 million and those of Elite II, FCFA 10 million. For the subsidy granted by MTN, the clubs divided FCFA 532 million; FCFA 24 million for each Elite One club and FCFA 14 million for each Elite Two team.

With the new deal, clubs revenue from this grant will experience a decline, because it will make a split between 37 teams, instead of 24 last season. According to sources close to the LFPC, the State will make available an advance of FCFA 300 million. Ligue 1 clubs will receive FCFA 4.5 million and 1.5 million for those in Ligue 2 this week.

As clubs gear up for a promising season, Union des Mouvements Sportifs of Loum, UMS, have signed last year?s Professional League Best Player, Pierre Wome Nlend, from Canon of Yaounde. The Kpa-Kum captain is believed to have been at loggerheads with some of the administrative staff of the club. The one time World Olympic champion and two times winner of the African Nations Cup might make his first appearance in the UMS colours when the club takes on Union of Douala in a friendly on January 21.

Coaches are, however, not left out of the movement as is the case with Unisport of Haut-Nkam that also acquired the services of Ivanovich, a Serb, to help guide the club to victory this year. The Serb takes over from Ndjilli Ndengue.

Also, since their miraculous promotion into Ligue 1, seven years after winning the case that saw them demoted as a result of accusation of match fixing, the Mbouda club, Bamboutos, is believed to have secured the services of Gerard Mbimi.

Meanwhile, the 2013 Cameroon Cup champs, Yong Sports Academy of Bamenda, YOSA ,also parted ways with the trophy-winning coach, Emmanuel Mdoumbe Bosso, as they acquired the services of coach,? Enow Ngachu, the Lionesses head coach.

Furthermore, turbulent waves in Canon Yaounde did not shake the serenity of C?line Eko, Chair of the Board of Directors, who has recruited Bertin Ebwell? who also doubles as the assistant coach of the junior national team.

The championship this year has witnessed a number of changes. The championship that was reformed and named MTN Elite I and II in 2007, since MTN took over has now been changed to Ligue 1 and 2. Also, the number of clubs has increased from to 14 to 19 in Ligue 1 and 18 in Ligue 2. There is also the change of sponsorship after 12 years championship sponsors, MTN, pulled out.

The championship will kick-off on February 1 at the Douala Reunification Stadium pitting Union of Douala and Unisport of Haut-Nkam.

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