April 24, 2013
Jean-Paul Akono took over as Cameroon's interim coach in September.
AFP/Getty Images

Cameroon coach Jean-Paul Akono said he was shocked and confused by an announcement from the country's sports ministry that it is seeking a new man to take the helm with the national team.

"I was completely shocked and embarrassed when I heard over state radio yesterday that Cameroon is looking for a new coach," Akono told Reuters in interview on Wednesday.

"I'm confused because negotiations were already ongoing for me to sign a contract with the government. In fact, I was called up the ministry on Friday for discussions with the minister."

Akono has been coach since last September when he replaced Frenchman Denis Lavagne but worked without a contract and now looks on his way out after his job was advertised.

Cameroon's sports ministry and football federation said prospective candidates have until Thursday to apply.

"During my discussion with sports minister Adoum Garoua, I proposed that I should be awarded a contract up to July next year, with a monthly salary of 15 million CFA francs ($29,800), which is far below what the country pays to foreigners, mostly Europeans. My assistant said his own monthly wage should be 7 million CFA francs.

"The minister asked us to reconsider our demanded monthly wages and get back to him within a short time, although no date was fixed. While we were still thinking about it, we were shocked to hear state radio announcing yesterday that he has instead requested the football federation to launch an urgent international appeal in the search for a new coach."

Cameroon is one of many African countries where the government pays the salary of the national team coach, rendering the cash-strapped football federation virtually powerless in the decision-making process.

The proposed change comes four weeks after Cameroon beat Togo 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier with Akono in charge and two months before their next two group games.

Cameroon have won the African Nations Cup four times and became the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals in Italy in 1990 but they have struggled in recent years.

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