By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
He is one of the greatest strikers in Cameroon’s top flight history without an aota of doubt. Robert Jama Mba was so good he was nicknamed ‘Honourable’ by former Crtv journalist Abenego Messang.
Born in Foumbot to retired Gendarmerie Officer Mba Thomas and Yiagnigno Kaitouma on March 23, 1980, the iconic striker of Canon Sportive of Yaoundé made his first bold strides in football in the City of Limbe in the SouthWest Region of Cameroon.
The then student of the Government Bilingual High School in Limbe was spotted by coach Ojong, popularly known as ‘Dagager’ and taken to the ranks of Elecsport of Limbe in 1994.
Coach Ojong was a great defender who played as a sweeper notably for CAMMARK FC of Bamenda for so many years and was hugely respected by all. His decision to bring the 14-year-old Robert Jama Mba to Elecsport was accepted by the club’s management and they did not regret it.
After three impressive years with Elecsport, where they finished twice as regional champions with Mba topping the goal scoring charts twice, he moved to the then very popular Victoria United [Opopo] with a certain Henry Njalla Quan as President.
Jama Mba and the enigmatic President had a wonderful bond which brought out the best from big striker.
Victoria United emerged as overwhelming Champions of the SouthWest Regional Championship thanks to the 19 goals from their main frontman.
At the National round-robing tournament in Ebolowa, Jama Mba had it, but Opopo lacked it. Free Boys of Bamenda, Prevoyance of Yaoundé and Aigle of Nkongsamba were the three promoted teams, but Robert had caught the eye of a Cameroon heavyweight.
Canon of Yaoundé came calling and Jama Mba joint the prestigious club with top players like Georges Nomo Ambassa, Placide Zoalang, Gaston Bindzi, Mbida Messi and many others.
He wrote the best lines of his career with Canon of Yaoundé. He finished as the league’s top scorer in his first season with Canon with 16 goals and helped them to Cup of Cameroon glory and was voted as the Guinness Man of the Match in the final.
He was the league’s top scorer again the following season with 18 goals and helped Canon to the finals of the now defunct African Cup Winners’ Cup with six goals though Canon lost the finals 3-4 on aggregate to Zamalek of Egypt.
In 2001 he topped the goal scorers chart again with 21 goals before helping Canon to the last of their 10 Cameroon league titles in 2002.
His performances with Canon did not go unnoticed, he was invited into Cameroon’s U-23 national team 7times, scoring four goals and played for the senior national team on six occasions with three goals to his name with his best display coming in an African Cup of Nations qualification game against Eritrea.
In 2004, he moved to Buea to join Mount Cameroon FC of Buea which was fast becoming an exotic destination for Cameroon top flight players at the time.
“Mount was a club from the region where my football journey started,” Jama Mba told kick442.com.
“Playing for such a club was like building your own house or keeping your compound clean. I did it with plenty of love , passion and devotion and in return you I always get back the love and support from their passionate fans.”
After his spell with Mount Cameroon FC he moved to Gabon where he had remarkable stints with US Oyem and AS Bitam and like Drogba and Thiery Henry for Chelsea for Arsenal he could not resist the charm of a second spell with his darling club, Canon of Yaoundé. He returned for the 2008-2009 season.
He went abroad again but still in Africa when he signed for Tanzanian outfit Young Africans Sports Club.
After a brief and unpleasant stay in Tanzania he returned to Cameroon and joint Tiko United first as a player and later in a player-coach capacity before finally hanging up his boots in 2012.
Today, the iconic striker is passing the knowledge and experience on as coach of Future Dreams Football Academy of Kumba where he is currently based.
“I am trying to transfer the knowhow that I acquired during my playing years to the next generation, it’s the little contribution I can make. As former footballers it’s our duty to give back and there is no better way I can do it than to pass on my experiences to these aspiring footballers.”
‘Honourable’ Robert Jama Mba is truly a Cameroon top flight cult hero, for representing three Cameroon top flight clubs with distinction.
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