Cameroonian football legend, Roger Milla, fields questions from Sports Planet's TUNDE KOIKI on a wide range of football matters: African football, Cameroonian football and his personal high and low moments as a footballer.
Sports Planet: Thank you so much for your time, it’s nice talking to you, talking about one of Africa’s finest footballers, Roger Milla.
Roger Milla: Thank you very much.
You’ve had a low profile recently, nothing much has been happening. What has been happening to you lately?
Nothing has been happening to me lately, I am very fine, I have no problem at all.
How would you describe African football today?
African football today is not really developing because of bad organisation and indiscipline of Africans. If those two things can be looked into, then, African football will develop rapidly.
What are you and other retired African footballers doing to help African football develop?
We don’t have any problem, we meet, enjoy and discuss together on how to move African football forward.
Are you doing anything with your friends from other countries to see that football develops in Africa?
We are doing everything possible to make sure that an African country wins the FIFA World Cup sooner than later.
Cameroon lately have been appointing foreign coaches, do you have a problem with that?
No, I don’t have a problem with that, but the only thing is that any foreign coach that we appoint must perform well and give Cameroon victory. I mean if the foreign coach can’t give us victory, why not appoint a Cameroonian as coach then?
So, why not give it to a local coach?
That is my plan in agreement with football administrators and the football federation in Cameroon. This will even make our local coaches to have a name in Africa.
Are there still plans for Roger Milla to go into full-time coaching? Do you have such plans?
No, I don’t have any of such plans.
In a quick look at CAF (Confederation of African football), a lot of people say maybe they are not going with the modern trend of football, probably, they are old people, do you agree with that?
It’s difficult for me to answer this question because I do not really know much about CAF as I don’t have many friends there.
Have you ever thought of being the CAF president?
No, I have never had such plans before. As you rightly know, the current CAF president, Alhaji Issa Hayatou is a Cameroonian and I wouldn’t want to fight with him for the post because he is my brother as well as friend.
Let’s leave CAF and go to FIFA (Federation of international Football Associations) now. What do you think of FIFA scandal now?
FIFA, football and all footballers are facing a big problem with the scandal. For me, FIFA needs a serious overhauling as they need to change all the people working there. If they don’t, even ten years later, the problem facing FIFA will still be there.
The candidates for FIFA presidency: the election is scheduled for later this month. Who do you think will win?
We are waiting and we all want to see who will win.
Do you have a favorite candidate?
For me, Jerome Champagne is my favorite candidate because he has worked for long as FIFA secretary and he knows all the operations of FIFA. He knows much about the job already. I wish he could be given the job straightaway because he also likes Africa and Africa will develop greatly under Champagne’s reign as FIFA president.
Can you tell us your greatest moment as a footballer?
All the FIFA World Cup tournaments I attended are my greatest moments as a footballer.
Can you tell us your worst moment as a footballer?
For me, the worst moment as a footballer was when Cameroon lost to England in the quarter-finals of the 1990 Italia 90 FIFA World Cup.
On a lighter note, do you think magic, juju or voodoo works in football? Is there anything like that in football?
No, no, no! Magic, juju or voodoo does not work in football. In fact, there’s nothing like that in football. If you don’t work hard and train well before football matches, you will never win, it’s as simple as that.
How soon do you think an African side can win the Men and Women’s World Cups?
I must be very sincere with you here, I don’t know because that will be very difficult in the nearest future. I just told you that bad organisation and indiscipline are two major problems facing African football. We must try to have a much better organisation and also cater well for our players so that their condition can always improve. If we do all of these things, then, we can boldly say that an African side can win the Men and Women’s World Cups soon.
Finally, from me, what do you think about African Nations Championship (CHAN), moreso that the last edition of the tournament ended recently?
Seriously speaking, this is one of the best projects CAF ever came up with. It would give our locally based players the chance and opportunity to expose themselves to the world, thereby, getting lucrative football contracts from top clubs.
Thank you very much for your time.
You are very much welcome.
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