By Afeseh Apong
Either PWD Social football club of Bamenda or Les Astres football club of Douala, will become the 25th team to win the Cameroon cup, when both sides go head to head on Sunday at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium for the 2021 final, though played in 2022.
It’s been more than eight months of waiting and suspense for PWD and Astres, since they played the semi final games on July 31, 2021. Back then, the Cameroon football Federation was under the leadership of Seidou Mbombo Njoya, but much water has since gone under the bridge and legendary nine shirt, Samuel Eto’o Fils, is now the FA boss. The communique of Monday March 07, 2022 from the secretary General at the presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, programming the final for this weekend, came as relief for many fans who have been anxiously waiting for the finale.
Their Journey to the final
PWD of Bamenda, nicknamed the Abakwa Boys, started their 2021 Cameroon cup journey against center regional side Triomphe FC. Goals from Nchindo John Bosco, John Paul Nzo Ngong and Balla Atangana, sailed a 3#1 win for the Abakwa Boys.
Next up was the round of 32 fixture against Canon sportif of Yaoundé, at the Bamendzi stadium in Bafoussam. 11 time Cameroon cup winners, Canon was probably the most difficult game for PWD, but a late penalty from Nchindo John Bosco was enough for the Abakwa Boys to secure a place in eighth final against Renaissance of Ngoumou. The game against Renaissance was played on June 17, 2021, still at the Bamendzi stadium. François Enyegue’s brace made the difference, as PWD won two goals to one, to set up a quarter final bet against Avion Academy of Nkam.
The game against Avion turned out to be easier for David Pagou and his boys than it was expected. A double from Mael Dindjeke was enough for the Abakwa Boys to secure a two nil win. And next on the line was six times winners Union Sportive of Douala, in the semi final played on July 31, 2021. Billy Samin opened scores from a Boung Joel’s delivery, before Enyegue François and Tchaoua Léger, completed an emphatic 3#0 win for PWD, to secure them a place in the final.
For les Astres Football club of Douala alias the Brazilians of Bepanda, their Cameroon cup journey started against Center regional outfit Academy one to one, a game which Astres won 3#0.
Aigle of the mongo was the next huddle for the Brazilians of Bepanda. Though the game ended zero all after regulation time, Astres won on penalties.
Anicet Mbarga Foe and his boys had a mountain to climb against Union de Mouvement sportif of Loum in the eighth final, but they narrowly escaped in a 2#1 win.
South West regional league side Options Sports of Limbe, had high ambitions, but met their doom against Astres in the quarter final, with the latter winning one nil.
The game against cotonsport at the Bertoua Municipal Stadium on July 31, 2021, was perhaps the toughest for the Brazilians of Bepanda, but they went against all odds, to win by three goals to two.
Head to head Records
PWD and Astres have played each just thrice in the 21st century, with the Brazilians of Bepanda having an edge over the Abakwa Boys. Sunday’s game will be the fourth meeting this century between both clubs. In their last three meetings, Astres has won two and drawn one.
Astres defeated PWD three nil on 29 May 2005 in Bamenda, and recorded a two one win over the Abakwa Boys in Douala on 18 September that same year. The Abakwa Boys were later relegated from the top flight, and only made a comeback in the the 2018_2019 season, though this time around the league was played in two pools and both teams were classified in separate pools.
However, PWD and Astres met in a relegation playoff game that same year, precisely on June 02, 2019, in Limbe. The game ended zero all.
Their Cameroon cup story
PWD and Astres shares a similar fortune when it comes to the Cameroon cup. Both sides have been at the final on different occasions, but have failed to clinch the trophy.
For the fans of the Abakwa Boys, memories of the 1967 and 1979 finals, are still very fresh in their minds. PWD bowed zero goal to one to Canon of Yaoundé in the final of 1967, and again failed in 1979, 3#1 to Dynamo of Douala. It is in this light, that the Abakwa Boys heve adopted a slogan “Wiping the tears of 1967 and 1979,” as the gear up to their third Cameroon cup final.
For the Brazilians of Bepanda, they have fallen short of glory on three different occasions. Astres was beaten in the final of 2007 by cotonsport of Garoua zero goal to one, suffered a 2#3 defeat in the final of 2009 to Panthère of Nde, and beaten again in the 2010 final 2#1 by Fovu of Baham.
PWD will be betting on third time luck to clinch the trophy, but Astres must have learned from their past three experiences, and are bent on writing the wrongs.
Players to watch out
It is rather unfortunate that some players who qualified both teams to final, will not play a part in Sunday’s game, as they have left the teams for one reason or the other. For PWD, Haschou Kerrido, Mael Dindjeke, Nchindo John Bosco, Neloh Kevin, and Mfegue Omgba, were part of the journey, but have now left the team.
However, the Abakwa Boys can still rely on the likes of Boung Joel, Ngwang Brian, Burinyuy Derrick and Former Astres man Mohamed Aboubakar.
Astres must have also seen some players leave their team at the end of last season, but they reinforced the squad with the likes of experienced defender Axel Ndzana. The likes of Leon Boyomo, Romeo Tchamda and Eric Api, have huge experience in big games. Api was part of the New Stars team that won the Cameroon cup in 2017.
For the coaches, it will be a tactical battle between David Pagou and Anicet Mbarga Foe. Both men are amongst the best in the country, and have coached the different categories of the national team ( Intermediate lions for David Pagou and the U17 lions for Mbarga Foe).
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