Nelson Lukong of AS Vita

 

Seven Cameroonians are in the books of the teams taking part in this season’s group stage of CAF Champions League. Only three of them featured for their teams.

Group A

1998 African champions and 24 times Ivorian league winners ASEC Mimosas beat 2017 CAF Champions League winners Wydad of Casablanca 2-0 thanks to a brace from Ahmed Touré. He found the back of the net at the 68th and 89th minute to take their points tally to 7, the same with Wydad in second place. So far, only Nigerian side Lobi Stars are out of contention for a place in the next round with just 4points. The Nigerians were put the the sword in Pretoria by Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns who won the competition in 2016. The South Africans got an early lead when Thaphelo Morena put them ahead at the 2nd minute, before Themba Zwane gave them a two goal cushion at the 38th minute. Lebohang Maboe put the game out of the reach of the Nigerians at the 39th minute to make it 3-0 for the Dube Birds. Sundowns currently top the group on 10 points with just one game to go.

Group B

Defending champions Esperance of Tunis have opened a 4points lead in Group B after beating Guinean side Horoya 2-0 on Friday. The task was made easier for Moïne Chaâbani’s men when 28 years old Malian defender Marius Ahmed Assoko got an own goal at the 23rd minute. Experienced Cameroon midfielder Franck Kom made sure of the points with his 83rd minute strike. Horoya‘s coach Patrice Neveu did not need the services of Cameroon’s 30 years old forward Jean Francis Dipita Ebele.
After going for five games without scoring, Platinum FC rediscovered their scoring touch against 1995 Champions Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg. Norman Mapeza’s men took a two goals lead after Never Tigere made amends for his early penalty miss by opening the scoring at the 27th minute and Rainsome Pavari made it two ten minutes later. Pirates’ Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic’s half time team talk must have been one of his best as his team rallied to earn a deserved 2-2 draw. Thembinkosi Lorch got their first at the 81st before Augustine Mulenga completed their fight back at the 87th minutes. FC Platinum even had to do without Kelvin Moyo after he was giving his matching orders at the 92nd minute. Platinum threw away this two goal lead without their 20 years old Cameroon forward Albert Diedoné Eonde. Shockingly the Cameroonian could not travel for Visas reasons. Horoya are second in the group on 7 points, just one more than third placed Orlando Pirates. FC Platinum are bottom of the group with just 2 points.

Group C

Former Indomitable Lions of Cameroon and Cotonsport of Garoua coach Denis Lavagne is doing magic with Algerian minors CS Constantine. The French coach who led Cotonsport to the finals in 2008 against Al Ahly is helping Constantine to punch against their weight. CS Constantine suffered a surprise 0-1 defeat at home to Club Africain of Tunis, their first in this season’s competition. A draw would have been enough to see the Algerians through to the next round, but Bassirou Compaore’s 45th minute goal was all Victor Zvunka’s team needed to keep their hopes to stay in the competition alive. Dylan Bahamboula missed a penalty at the 58th minute which might have helped to see the Algerians through. Denis Lavagne’s introduction of Cameroon forward Arouna Dang Bissene was not enough to get the much needed point, meanwhile Victor Zvunka did not need Cameroon’s 19 years old Yaoundé born defensive midfielder Ibrahim Mouchili. Club Africain are currently third with 7points in the group, just 1point behind TP Mazembe and 3 behind group leaders CS Constantine who travel to Lubumbashi for the sixth and last day of play to face TP Mazembe.
In the other game of the group, five times African champions TP Mazembe secured a hard earned 1-1 away draw to already eliminated Ismaily. Mechak Elia gave Mazembe a 40th minutes lead but Rahman Magdi leveled the scores at the 55th for the home side. Mazembe’s coach Pamphile Mihayo Kazembe did not need the services of former Bamboutous of Mbouda 22 years old Cameroon winger Moussa Abagana.

Group D

Cameroon’s 38 years old goalkeeper Lukong Nelson Bongaman was one of AS Vita Club’s heroes in that vital 1-0 win against eight times African Champions League winners Al Ahly of Cairo. Lukong produced three consecutive saves two minutes into the second half to deny Nasser Maher, Junior Ajayi and Karim Nedved. Al Ahly were unfortunate to have lost their goalkeeper El-Shennawy as early as 22nd minute through injury. His replacement Ali Lofti could do little to stop Tuisila Kisinda’s deflected shot at the 87th minute. The win gives Florent Ibenge’s team a chance to progress to the knockout stages of the competition. Al Ahly still have a chance to go through, a win in their last game against Algerian side JS Saoura who currently top the group will see them through. JS Saoura claimed the top spot in the group on eight point after a comfortable 2-0 win against Tanzanian side Simba SC.

The sixth and last day of play of the group stage will be played on Saturday March 16, 2019. www.kick442.com will be there to give you all the updates.

Muambo Edward.