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Last Updated: Monday, 6 September, 2004, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Cameroon players back president
Cameroon legend Roger Milla
Roger Milla is one of Cameroon's biggest stars
There has been a mixed reaction to a call by more than 100 ex-Cameroon footballers, including Roger Milla, for the president to stand for re-election.

A BBC correspondent says that some are surprised that footballers are getting involved in politics but many different groups are backing President Paul Biya.

Roger Milla, a roving ambassador, is one of Cameroon's biggest stars after his exploits in the 1990 World Cup.

Mr Biya, in power for 22 years, has not said if he will run in October's polls.

Official obstacles

Observers say that the elections are unlikely to be free and fair, with Mr Biya virtually assured of victory.

The government keeps a tight grip on the media and the opposition say they face many official obstacles.

A group of university lecturers recently made a similar call for Mr Biya to contest the election but the BBC's Randy Azeng in Cameroon says that more people are likely to take notice of what the footballers say.

Among the other stars to back Mr Biya are the goalkeeper from the 1990 team which became the first African team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals, Joseph Antoine-Bell.

He has previously been outspoken about sports administration but has not been involved in politics, our correspondent says.


SEE ALSO:
Milla slams Cameroon club bosses
08 Aug 04  |  African
Timeline: Cameroon
27 Apr 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Cameroon
14 Jul 04  |  Country profiles


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