Almanack: Lions share the glory

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ALMANACK'S man in Africa reports a novel fund-raising technique for Cameroon's World Cup campaign: a three-hour Telethon-style TV show. The country's Prime Minister, Simon Achidi Achu, chaired the appeal, attended by all his ministers, top businessmen and celebrities.

Hoping to allay widespread suspicion that any money raised would immediately be embezzled, Achu was flanked by Cameroon's most eminent accountants and bailiffs, who will safeguard the 'National Collection'. The Premier wrote a personal cheque for dollars 1,750. Assorted tycoons climbed the platform with what all called a 'modest contribution' but which in some cases ran to dollars 35,000. The national sugar company donated a tonne of sugar. At the end of the day dollars 182,815 had been collected, most in cheques and promises.

Jean-Jacques Waffo, a student, came to the meeting to donate dollars 3.50 in cash. 'The Indomitable Lions are the only thing left which unites Cameroonians . . . I am feeling very emotional,' said Waffo, adding that since he was now broke he hoped someone would offer him a lift back into town.