Cameroon's international rugby league debut proves an incredible journey

Cameroon players (in blue) in action against Ghana
Cameroon players (in blue) in action against Ghana

Cameroon's rugby league players made their debut in international competition this month - but, despite two defeats, the matches were very much the easy part.

Without the funds for flights to the Middle East and Africa Rugby League Championship in neighbouring Nigeria, they went by bus instead.

Their first game was against Morocco on Wednesday, 2 October and they set off fully five days beforehand, on Friday, 27 September, sleeping and eating on the bus.

However, after they were stopped at 15 checkpoints en route, they arrived only two hours before kick-off with barely time to get changed and warm up before they were beaten 8-4.

Another defeat, by Ghana, followed three days later but the fun and games were far from over.

The return journey was again delayed by checkpoints.

And, according to the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF), they had no money left to pay unexpected fees incurred on their travels, while the journey also included having to fend off potential muggers who tried to board their bus as they slept.

However, the team eventually made it home safe and sound.

"We received support from our friends across the world - however, not enough to secure flights so we took a bus," said Cameroon general manager Carol Manga, who travelled with his team.

"Travelling this way is a struggle but also has so many positive aspects as we forged a great bond.

"The players pushed themselves to see their dream come true and play international rugby league. I'm so proud of all the team."

Cameroon rugby league players next to their bus
Cameroon rugby league players next to their bus

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