Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12, 2016 – Cameroon have gone through four matches so far in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s volleyball, but in that short span of time, the African team have shown their brand of volleyball to the rest of the world.
Their performance have been quite impressive as they have challenged very tough teams in Pool B, but the impression they have given have exceeded everyone’s expectations.
The African side have captured everyone’s attention with their great fighting spirit and their on-court flair that seems so refreshing. Their entertaining court rituals certainly blend in well with the great atmosphere at the Maracanazinho.
As an Olympic newcomer, Cameroon have not only put on a lively mood whenever they were on court, they have also made a great feat in the history of the sport in the Olympic Games.
Last Wednesday, Stephanie Fotso tied the record for most blocks in a match, which was set by Olympic gold medallist Feng Kun of China and two-time silver medallist Ekaterina Gamova of Russia. Fotso remain modest as she achieved this feat.
“I just applied what I did in our training,” Fotso said. “I didn’t know that I tied the record for most blocks in a match until I saw it in the website that I really tied the Olympic record. I want to thank my team-mates and my coaches because this will not be possible without them.”
Fotso’s achievement in that match introduced the Cameroonian brand of play to the world.
“It’s not only me, the whole team worked hard in that match,” Fotso said. “We’ve been trying our best and when we play like this, many other nations see how we play volleyball in our country.”
“Maybe they would be surprised that we have volleyball in Cameroon,” Fotso added. “But this is why we want our game to be known, it is for people in my country and the world to see us that we can play the game. I am so happy now because we’ve introduced ourselves to them.”
Cameroon are hoping that their Olympic performance will be the start of something bigger.
“Cameroonian volleyball is going up,” Fotso said. “In 2014, we competed at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship. We didn’t win any set there but we were able to win two sets in this tournament. It may not be enough for some people but for us it’s a big motivation.”
Cameroon are now known for their energy on the court, as their pre-game rituals put a glittery mood to the spectators.
“We have this ritual that when we score on a block, we do this Usain Bolt pose, which makes us more determined on the court,” Fotso said.
“We have to be lively and we need to have fun on the court,” captain Nana Tchoudjang said. “This makes our game better and makes the atmosphere in the game great.”
Dancing is also very much part of their celebration, which is similar to how Brazilian crowd celebrate when their team scores.
“The players dance a lot on the court,” coach Jean Rene Akono said. “It’s part of our culture, just like the Brazilian culture.”
The Cameroonians are having a wonderful time in Brazil and they are overwhelmed by the support of the Brazilian crowd is giving them.
“We are happy because every time we play, the Brazilian crowd supports us,” Fotso said. “I am grateful for this even though we have not won yet.”