Since the beginning of a top flight league in Cameroon, sixteen clubs have won the league, that is, Cotonsport of Garoua, Canon Sportif of Yaoundé, Tonnerre Kamara Club of Yaoundé, Oryx of Douala, Union Sportive of Douala, Racing of Baffoussam, Caiman of Douala, Aigle Royal of Nkongsamba, Leopards of Douala, Diamant of Yaoundé, Unisport of Bafang, Sable of Batié, Fovu of Baham, Tiko United, UMS of Loum and Erding Sports of Lekié.
From the list of former champions it is obvious that some have completely disappeared or are struggling in Cameroon’s lower leagues with no clear agenda or plan on how to return to Elite football in the country.
Oryx of Douala are five times Cameroon champions and have won the African champions league on two occasions but they are no where close to their illustrious past.
Caiman, Aigle of Nkongsamba, Diamant of Yaoundé, Tiko United and to a lesser extent Racing of Baffoussam and Leopards of Douala are also out of the picture and are threatened by extinction.
Fortunately, Canon, and other traditional and popular clubs have understood that a relegation is not synonymous to a sentence to the guillotine.
It is simply a setback which the club has to draw lessons from and bounce back even stronger.
This season’s relegation battle went down to the wire with some big names failing to beat the drop for different reasons.
1996 Champions Unisport of Bafang benefited from Bamboutos of Mbouda’s problems last season to stay in the top flight for another season. But since the real problem was still there, that is the detention of all spending President Emmanuel Lobou, they could hardly survive this season too, even that last minute attempts that saw seasoned coach Jules Frederic Nyongha and Abgor Hans on their technical bench were late calls to safe an already drowned ship.
PWD of Bamenda came through the playoffs with no defeat, a win and four draws, but that was not still enough. For ones the relegation battle specialist Augustine Choupo failed to work his magic. The team had a solid back three with Boung Joel, Derrick Berinyuy and Louis Enoh Enoh, great midfielders like Chi Ade, Malachi Nfor, Mbah Louis, Mundi Kagawa, Auriol Fokou and others but upfront they were desperately lacking and goalkeeper Julius Atengong was not the safest pair of hands. Jean Baptiste Toguem did not leave them in a good place.
New Stars of Douala brought in all the demons from their hiding place because they were ousted from the CAF Confederations Cup by Gor Mahia of Kenya. From that day President Domkeu who could easily be considered a model a few years back became a man of controversy and wrong decisions. Mbimi left and the team was left without a soul nor identity.
These are some of the reasons why they failed, but it’s now time for proper planning and follow the footsteps of Bamboutos, Panthere and Canon who made sure that their stay in the inferior leagues was as short-lived as possible. The Oryx, Diamant and Aigle Nkongsamba disease should be avoided by all cost.
After all we know the pedigree of these teams that unfortunately dropped from Cameroon’s Elite One this season, so there is no doubt that with the right decisions they’ll be back sooner than we realize they even left. What has to be done is to take a breather, draw the lessons and plot a fast return to the big boys club.
It is important to note that the board meeting which held to design the conditions of the League had as one the resolutions that that only the last team at the end of of the Relegation Playoffs will be Relegated.
Therefore PWD and New Stars of Douala of Douala will be anxiously waiting for the final Homologation table.