The sea is not far away, the sun is already shining and the thermometer shows almost 20 degrees at the end of the morning of the last Sunday in April, but Marc Brys will not take advantage of this beautiful Cretan day. For the new Belgian coach of Cameroon, who settled near Heraklion with his wife, originally from the Greek island, and their 6-year-old son, after leaving the Louvain club in October 2023, the time has come. is not relaxing as a match looms against Cape Verde (June 3), then another against Angola (June 10), both qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

Since his appointment on April 2, the successor to Rigobert Song, at the heart of a controversy between the political authorities and the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot), has not been idle. After signing his two and a half year contract at the Ministry of Sports and visiting several stadiums in Cameroon, Marc Brys undertook a European tour where he held numerous interviews with internationals and binational players eligible to wear the jersey of the Indomitable lions.

The Antwerp resident has notably been seen in England, Germany and France. “I spoke with André Onana, who told me a lot about the team, and his attachment to his country. » He also spoke with Carlos Baleba, the young Brighton midfielder, whom he hopes to have convinced to play for Cameroon. On the other hand, Hugo Ekitike, the Eintracht Frankfurt striker, rather imagines his future in the French team. “We must respect his choice,” explains the new coach, who took office at the beginning of April despite opposition from Fecafoot.

” Strong character “

Almost a month after being appointed by Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, the Minister of Sports, on the instructions of Head of State Paul Biya, Marc Brys has still not been recognized by Samuel Eto’o. The former Indomitable Lions scorer who became manager, believing that Fecafoot was kept out of the coach’s recruitment process which falls within its prerogatives, refused to sign the latter’s contract. On April 7, the Cameroonian football boss even considered appointing another coach within seventy-two hours.

For his part, Marc Brys declared during his first stay in Yaoundé from April 7 to 13, to be “ready to work with the federation and its president, in the interest of the selection and the country. I hope to see it, as I said before. But I’m not the type to chase people, because I have to concentrate on the team and the players for the next matches.”

In Belgium, where he coached numerous clubs for more than eighteen years, the Fleming has carved out a solid reputation as an uncompromising coach when it comes to his sporting prerogatives. “I am open to discussion, attentive, positive, but the locker room is the place of the coach, his technical staff and the players, and into which neither the sports ministry nor Fecafoot enter “, he said. A firmness which does not surprise the former Belgian international Nordin Jbari, now a consultant for several media and who knows Marc Brys. “He does not tolerate the slightest intrusion in his choices, whether from the players or the game system. Brys is very friendly, calm, but he has a strong character and does not allow himself to be influenced. »

Discovery of the continent

The coach of the Indomitable Lions does not seem to be unduly affected by the rumors about his contractual situation. “I read and heard that I didn’t sign a contract. But I do have one! », assures Mr. Brys, whose monthly salary of 40,000 euros per month – part of which is used to pay two of his deputies – is covered by the State. The Fleming also claims that his relations with the sports ministry are “excellent. Everything is done so that we can work in professional conditions, I always have someone to answer my questions and requests.”

Essential support for the former coach of Saint-Trond and Louvain, who is discovering both the African continent and the job of coach. “I no longer wanted to coach in Belgium, I wanted to experience something else,” he said. I will spend time in Cameroon to talk with local coaches, follow championship matches and observe the youth selections, because the future is being prepared now. »

The diary of Marc Brys, who will get to know his group around May 25, during the preparatory camp for the two matches in June, promises to be busy until the end of the year. Cameroon will indeed play six matches in September, October and November counting towards qualifications for the 2025 African Cup of Nations (CAN), facing still unknown opponents.