By Angu Lesley
Football Writer, kick442.com-Cameroon
Advocates for patience with coaches have once again been vindicated by the performance of one of the unsung heros of the 2019-2020 Cameroon Elite One championship.
A quick retrospect of how the 2019-2020 Cameroon Elite One championship started for Yong Sports Academy and coach Martin Nkabyo quickly brings memories of how early results can mislead fanatics.
The early performance of YOSA in the just-ended championship had divided opinions of fans about the future of their club with some easily proposing the popular option of a change on the technical bench.
An opening 2-1 win fixture against Stade Renard on the 20th of October was followed by a series of inconsistent results with the club obviously doing better in the offensive phase of the game but having problems at the back.
A devastating 6-1 defeat against Cotonsport away in Garoua on the 24th of October highlighted the club’s problems at the back but ‘King’ Martin kept his philosophy and trusted his boys. It was only a matter of time.
The turbulent times especially during a run of two wins in 11 games, between October 24 and December 8 saw the club’s fans amplify calls for management to make changes on the technical bench. Fortunately for the club, president Yong Jacques and his entourage stood their grounds and rightly so. “In Martin Nkabyo we trust” was management’s position.
The team was struggling to get the results the fans wanted in every game, but there was a philosophy in place, and a relatively younger YOSA team will respond with time.
For some firm believers in the coach’s doctrines, the team was already responding. Rightly so; the team was better in front of goal.
In an attempt to seek lasting solutions to his team’s defensive frailties,coach Martin ‘the King’ used his three goalkeepers Fuh Blaise, Sizono and Chia Gareth interchangeably.
In a December to remember,the gaffer found a solution to the problems when he tried and decided to trust Gareth between the sticks.
When YOSA welcomed Union Sportive of Douala on December 15, the players were cautious of the fact that they had to compensate their fans for events of the last time at home. It was the first home game after the sacrifice of two points against Panthère Nde in a game which they led by two goals within 20 minutes of kick off but missed a penalty and ended-up with just a point as Panthère pegged back their host and it ended 2-2.
Union Sportive of Douala led in that famous December 15 clash but YOSA came back stronger in the second segment to claim a 2-1 win.
This victory marked the beginning of a consistent YOSA built on the image of their astute gaffer.
Ngong Neville, Tongua Armel Emmanuel and the rest of the players came out of their shells, punched above their weights, bullying some of the biggest names in the division.
The boys of coach Martin Nkabyo reached their crescendo; victories by 3 goals to 1 against Bamboutos FC, 4-1 away to Eding Sport with an unstoppable Moundi Kagawa and a 5-1 humiliation of Dragon Yaounde displayed the output of the efforts from the ex-Tiko United gaffer.
YOSA prevented defeat in eight of their next 12 league games including a three nil win over eventual champions PWD of Bamenda and drews against the league runners-up and third-placed Cotonsport of Garoua and Colombe respectively.
This brilliant run for Bahaza Go-ah and his mates converted doubters to believers in ‘the King Martin Nkabyo-philosophy’.
The fans came on board, enjoying captain Manjo Louis Dada as his colleagues cruise pass opponents with swagger.
Coach Martin Nkabyo couldn’t have asked for more from one of the youngest and least experienced collection of players in the Championship.
The effects were visible, those who wrote 99 points against the ‘King’ Martin Nkabyo’s football doctrines at the club became faithful followers.
At an average age of 21years and 9 months the boys of ‘King’ Martin Nkabyo ended the season on the 6th spot, they pinched points off all of the club’s above them and ended the season as the joint most offensive side with 39 goals scored. A great final score for Thierry Ngalle and co.
11 wins, seven draws and 10 defeats earned 40 points to a YOSA side with 15 players in their debut campaign in Elite One. Without many taking notice, YOSA ended the season as the only side that didn’t suffer a home defeat.
In all, the fans of the club can qualify the season as a very good one for a club with a bulk of players who only got their first chance in Elite One under a certain coach Nkabyo with a rich history in development of young players.
The 2013 Cameroon cup winners will certainly be one of the teams to beat next season.
The onus are on the club’s management to build on this success and come back with Martin Nkabyo and his boys more prepared to fight for trophies next term.
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