By Angu Lesley
2008 CAF champions League finalist and multiple semi finalist Cotonsport of Garoua made a strong statement in their return to the competition on Saturday, September 10 – defeating Matlama FC of Lesotho by 3-0 thanks to a huge imput from ever reliable captain Marou Souaibou.
The lanky forward scored and provided an assist to complement goals from midfielder Eno Brandon and Kokolo Reich which earned a comfortable victory for the visiting Cameroon champions.
Coach Gabriel Haman handed debut to new signings Emmanuel Chamdjou to complete the forward trio while defenders Ibrahim Abba and Baho Henock also lined up for the first time among the back four.
With seven of the players from the title winning 2021/22 season in the squad Coton in their first CAF CL preliminary fixture in three years dominated the opening exchanges but failed to find the back of the network despite coming close through Wassou Goue and Kaiba Djawal.
The host had a number of half chances themselves but didn’t create many problems for CAF Champions debutant Che Malone in defense or Gabin Allambatnan in the goal.
The breakthrough moment occured four minutes into added time before the interval when box-to-box midfielder Eno Brandon found the back of the Matlama net sending their tenths of fans at the Free Stadium into total celebration.
The Coton soccer machinery operated even better upon the break and in the 63rd minute Wassou squared Souaibou who assisted the first goal and he also registered his name on the scoresheet.
With a two-nil advantage in away territory Jean Eric Moursou and co didn’t take their feets off the pedal – Coton scored the third in the 70th minute through debutant Koloko Reich who had only come on in the second segment.
The Cotonites cruise through till the end the end, killing Matlama’s hopes in their own backyard.
The likes of Daman Abdourahman and Macgregor Veraloh came also came on in the second segment to help the side retain the comfortable.
The game ended on a 3-0 score ahead of the second-leg fixture next weekend in Garoua which may turnout to be a formality.
Cotonsport has never sacrificed a three goal away lead in the preliminary round of the competition – thus reducing the reversed game at the Roumde Adjia to a near formality.
The aggregate winner of the Coton versus Matlama tie will face the better side from the fixture between Royal Leopard of ESwantini CFTA of Madagascar in October. The winner of the two-legged tie in the second preliminary will advance to the group stages of the competition while the loser will enter the third round qualifiers of the secondary competition – the CAF Confederation cup.
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