By Afeseh Apong
The first phase of the 2022 Elite one championship in Pool B, has come to an end following some delayed matches that were played over the weekend. With all Pool B teams haven played 11 games each, Eding Sport of the Lekie, Avion Academy of Nkam and Cotonsport of Garoua, finished the first phased as the three top ranked Pool B teams. The same can not be said of Renaissance of Ngoumou, YAFOOT FC and New Stars of Douala, who have all struggled for consistency.
Eding Sport’s near perfect run
Eding sport of the Lekie has performed above expectations since the start of the championship. Their opening day three nil win over Renaissance of Ngoumou on March 20, didn’t really sound convincing enough to many football analysts given that Renaissance was never truly an Elite one team and how they find themselves in the top tier can only best be explained by those running football affairs in the country.
Eding Sport’s veritable signal of something in the making, came on March 24, when they defeated defending champions cotonsport 2#0 at the Limbe Omnisports stadium. Since then, Bonaventure Djonkep has succeeded in building a team that can challenge for the title. A run of five consecutive wins in their opening five games of the season, was only interrupted by a vexing one all tie against Bamboutos FC of Mbouda on game week six.
A resounding 3#0 spanking of Cameroon cup Winners PWD Social Football Club of Bamenda, brought back fresh energy into the Eding sport side, but another speed break came their way on match Day 8, when they were held to a zero all draw by “draw specialist”, OFTA of Kribi.
A trip to Bafoussam in the West region, began on a good footing, with a narrow one nil win over CAF Champions League preliminary round participants, FOVU club of Baham. It needed lots work and determination from Avion Academy of Nkam to hand Eding their first defeat of the season on April 27, there by ending their nine games unbeaten run. A win (0-1) against New Stars on May 1st at the Bamendzi stadium in Bafoussam capped what was a near perfect run for Eding in the first half of the championship.
Eding sport ended the first round top of Pool B with 26 points. The team also boast a great defensive record, with only three goals conceded. Their goalkeeping compartment headed by goalkeeper Souleyman Souleyman, kept a whopping eight cleans. A blend of youthfulness and experience, has given Bonaventure Djonkep’s side the balance he needed. The Likes of Herve Guillaume Boumsong, Louis Enjoanei Mbah, Ramses Cabrel Donfack, Jean Emmanuel Chamdjou, Figo Fernandez Edjimbi, have been instrumental for the team, but more will be expected from them in the second round, if Eding sport is really out to challenge for the title.
Avion Flying high in silence
Avion Academy of Nkam has been the surprise package of the first round of the championship. However, it is not strange that president Pierre Batamak’s team has always picked up good results in the first segment of the championship, in their over four years stay in the top flight.
Currently second in pool B, Avion happens to be the only team that has beaten both Cotonsport and Eding Sport this season. In their 11 outings this far, David Nganbe’s side has picked up five wins, four draws and just two defeats. Their only two defeats have come against FOVU of Baham and struggling YAFOOT FC.
The team has scored 10 goals, and have conceded five. Goalkeeper Arnold Penka Chiweng has been phenomenal between the sticks, with his side not conceding in seven games. The likes of Jean Pierre Kotna Onla, Philippe Arthur Banen, and Ali Lamin Betoro A Dang, have formed the core of the Avion squad.
Cotonsport’s resurgence under Gabriel Haman
Cotonsport struggled for form at the start of the season, as they went five league games without a win. Defeats to Eding sport, Avion, New Stars and draws against Renaissance and UMS, marked probably the worst start of the season cotonsport has ever had.
Coach Aboubakar Souleymanou was relieved of his duties after their 2#1 defeat to Avion on April 10, in Bafoussam. Gabriel Haman who was deputy under Aboubakar Souleymanou, was handed full command of the team on interim basis and since then, the cotonites have witnessed a total resurgence.
In six games under Gabriel Haman, cotonsport has won Five and drawn one. The only draw post_Aboubakar Souleymanou, was a zero all tie against PWD of Bamenda at the Molyko Stadium on April 23. The 16 time champions have also kept five consecutive clean sheets, and have conceded just one goal since April 13.
Gabriel Haman’s new found confidence in Che Malone and Anye Derrick who were all fringe players under Aboubakar Souleymanou, has paid off as they have been the backbone of cotonsport’s resurgence. Currently ranked third, though eight points adrift of first place Eding sport, the coton weavers will be looking to carrying their present form into the second round of the championship.
PWD’s consistent inconsistency
The Abakwa Boys have performed below expectations in the first phase of the championship, as they have recorded just four wins in 11 games, five draws and two defeats.
PWD’s opening day defeat to Bamboutos FC at the MTN Arena in Mbouda on March 16, was attributed to fatigue from the Cameroon cup final they won three days prior to the league’s opener. Wins against FOVU and New Stars, plus draws against OFTA and Avion, meant the Abakwa Boys had gathered just eight points out of a possible 15 during their stay in Bafoussam.
Their 3#1 win over YAFOOT in their first game in Limbe, was quickly wiped away by a disappointing three_nil defeat to Eding sport. David Pagou’s side went four games winless, surrendering a two goals lead in a two all draw against UMS, a lacklustre display against Renaissance of Ngoumou and a tiring zero draw against cotonsport.
Though they finished their stay in Limbe in style with a two nil win over Dragon, the Abakwa Boys have however thrown away precious points which were gettable.
UMS & FOVU keeping tabs
Union de Mouvement sportive of Loum and FOVU club of Baham, have constituted the chasing bloc in Pool B.
Both sides have similarities in terms of statistics recorded this far. They both have 16 points each, have won four games each, four draws and have both suffered three defeats. With just two points separating them from the top three, Coach Agbor Ernest and Olivier Nankam still have the opportunity to push their teams up the ladder.
Bamboutos’ Backward movement
It is typical of Bamboutos FC of Mbouda to always start the season powerfully and faulter along the way.
The Mangwa boys won their opening two games of the campaign against PWD and new Stars, but then embraced a run of seven games without a win.
A two zero win over Dragon on match day 10, was Bamboutos’ only win in six games played in Limbe, as Ndoumbe Bosso and his boys needed 10 minutes of Extra time, to salvage a point against bottom placed Renaissance on match day 11.
OFTA: The Draw Specialist
In their maiden campaign in the top flight, OFTA Of Kribi has earned a special recognition for themselves. Many have described the Ocean Boys as draw specialist, due to the fact that they have recorded the highest number of draw games this season. Sebastian Bata Ntjam and his boys have drawn a whopping eight games, won just one and have suffered just two defeats.
With their 11 points recorded in the first round, the team averages a point per game and a three points above the drop zone. The Ocean Boys will need to convert some of these draws to victories, in other to keep their Elite one status.
Dragon not Convincing Enough
The ChaChaCha Boys have won just three of their 11 games, two draws and six defeats. Stéphane Ejangue’s side has notched in just nine goals as compared to 16 conceded.
New Stars, YAFOOT & Renaissance in a different league
Under normal circumstances, New Stars of Douala, YAFOOT FC and Renaissance of Ngoumou, should have being playing in the Elite two championship. New Stars and YAFOOT were relegated from the top flight last year and were only brought back by an office decision from the new FECAFOOT. It is the same situation with Renaissance of Ngoumou, who was not amongst the teams that gained promotion from the Elite two championship last term, but were miraculously declared as a top flight team.
Seemingly, these three teams can’t cheat nature, as they have proven beyond reasonable doubts that the Elite one championship is not their level. Perhaps they were not really prepared for life amongst the Elites, but their results on the field of play has left much to be desired.
New Stars assembled a squad of ageing players, and have succeeded in picking up just two wins, three draws and have suffered seven defeats. In house fighting between the club’s hierarchy and players, have further dampened the teams quest for survival, as they continue to linger around the drop zone.
For YAFOOT FC, their two wins, two draws and seven defeats, only means they are above bottom placed Renaissance on goal difference.
Renaissance has managed one win, five draws and have suffered five defeats. They have scored six goals on the way, and have shipped home 15. Should things stay this way, then Renaissance and YAFOOT will be bound for straight relegation. We are not yet there, as they still have 11 more games to make it or mar it.
Facts to Retain after Round one in pool B
▪️Eding Sport are champions of the first round with 26 points
▪️Eding and Cotonsport have the best attack with 17 goals scored
▪️Eding Sport has conceded the fewest goals (3)
▪️ OFTA has recorded the highest number of draws (8)
▪️OFTA and YAFOOT has the fewest win (01)
▪️ Dragon has the worst defense (16 goals conceded)
▪️ YAFOOT has the worst attack (06 goals scored)
▪️Eding has kept the highest number of clean sheets (08)
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