By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
From his humble beginnings with the club of his boyhood, Prisons of Buea to a legend at Kumbo Strikers, Sampson Dangha Che is a cult hero in Cameroon’s domestic top flight.
It takes a special player to be remembered and revered years after they dust their playing boots. Footballers easily gain heroic and iconic status by playing for one club, but some still achieve it by being normadic. Che Samson is a typical example.
He only took his magical left foot to Rwanda at the twilight of his career, making him one of the few who thrilled the football loving Cameroon spectators for decades and whose name rings a high sounding bell with the fans of all the clubs he played for.
The dynamic midfielder, renowned for his inch perfect precision with his long and short range passing abilities was a stand out player for PWD of Bamenda, Victoria United, Kumbo Strikers, Fovu of Baham, Union of Douala and Mount Cameroon FC of Buea in the Cameroon top flight for several years building a strong bond with the fans of all these different clubs before eventually joining APR FC of Rwanda in 2006.
Born in Buea in 1971, the capital of the Southwest region, and home to some other iconic players like Joseph Ewungkem, Stephen Wose and many others, Sampson Che began his career with the darling club of the town, Prisons of Buea in 1993.
“I proudly collected 2000 FRS from Mr Joe Tender in 1993 to start my career with Prisons of Buea,” he told kick442.com.
“By watching Stephen Wose play for prisons Buea, seeing Tamah Lysinge on the pitch on a small play ground at the Wrestling field in Mokunda [a neighborhood in Buea], I was convinced Prisons was the team for me to take a personal challenge that I have to play like all those players I idolized while growing up, someday.
“My first coach who entrusted his confidence in me was Ngange my sports teacher in GHS Tiko. He fielded me in his starting line up at just the age of 14.”
His first full season attracted attention from suitors from all parts of the country, but he preferred to make the short trip to Kumba to sign for the then exotic Golden Soap of Kumba.
After one year, he returned to Prisons of Buea though he had been promoted as club captain for Golden Soap.
He moved to Bamenda to sign for popular PWD of Bamenda on the recommendations of the late coach Tabi George.
“When Dr Ekwe and coach Njoko travelled all the way from Bamenda to Buea on a mission to convince me join PWD as replacement for Simo Augustine in 1996 following the recommendation of coach Tabi George of blessed memory, I realized I was doing something special.”
After one year in Bamenda with teammates like ex intermediate Lions coach Agbor Ernest Ako, he moved to Limbe to join the Victoria United revolution masterminded by then club President Barrister Bonu Innocent.
The highly normadic midfielder spent two years in Limbe before joining Kumbo Strikers in 1999. He captained a star studded Kumbo Strikers team to Cameroon Cup glory in 2000, to become the first captain of a team west of the Mungo to lift the trophy after beating Unisport of Bafang thanks to a goal from Tarkang Frankline.
The performance in the previous season put his name on the wishlists of multiple top clubs in the country. He finally opted to join Fovu of Baham linking up with players like Mokake Marcus, Zenaih Felix and Ernest Bakenga. In what he describes today as a personal best season. He bagged five goals from a defensive midfielder role and provided over a dozen assists that season.
His next destination was the economic capital of Cameroon where he signed for one of Cameroon’s traditional clubs, Union Sportive of Diedo. He left Union after one season and returned to Buea to join Mount Cameroon FC of Buea where his magic left foot entertained the thousands who will not miss a game for anything in the world.
His last club in Cameroon was Yong Sport Academy of Bamenda before making what he describes as a lucrative but brief expedition to Rwanda.
Sampson Che was invited to the Cameroon national team by Pierre LeChantre and won one cap for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon against Mozambique in Maputo in an AFCON Qualifiers game for the 2000 AFCON Cameroon went on to win without him.
‘Kadengue’ or ‘Gauché’ as he is affectionately called, has played for so many Veteran clubs after his retirement and was until recently an active member of the Buea Veterans Club with their base at Clerks’ Quarters, Buea.
He equally works as resource person for local radio and television stations in Buea, given his eloquence and wealth of experience in the beautiful game.
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