Exactly four months ago, New Stars of Douala faced Gor Mahia of Kenya needing just a goal in Limbe to qualify for the group stage of the ongoing 2018/2019 CAF confederation cup and get over 100 Million FCFA from CAF, as qualification bonus. But like its said in the game of Football; “minor errors produce major consequences”
The last minute goals leaked in by the club on the 13th of January 2019 against Gor Mahia in Nairobi plus wasteful finishing cost New Stars a place in the Group stage of the competition.
The ghost of the club’s elimination from the competition seems to be very much present in the everyday activities of the club till date, thus raising questions on the kind of football project African and Cameroonian clubs in particular have.
Think about Canon Yaounde(1971,1978,1980 African Champions Cup winners) ,Olympique De Mvolye(1992 & 1994 Cameroon Cup winners) ,Mount Cameroon FC of Buea that once beat Ajax Cape Town by 5 goals to nil in a CAF club game in Yaounde in 2008, Tiko United that led Heartland of Oweri in the a Champions League game in Nigeria in 2009,PWD of Bamenda that defeated TP Mazembe in a CAF game in 2003 in Douala and many more.They all made Cameroonians proud in continental assignments only to leave the big time a few years after.
2009 Cameroon Champion Tiko United now struggling in the 3rd tier(Southwest Regional League) of Cameroon Football just like 2002 Cup of Cameroon winner Mount Cameroon of Buea and multiple of Cameroon cup winners Olympique de Mvolye. PWD got to the above mentioned level before reintegrating into top flight football this season.
The great Canon Yaounde that beat Gor Mahia by 6 goals in the return leg of the final of the 1979 African Champions Cup thanks to an Emana hat trick plus a Manga Onguene brace and a goal Mbida to complete an 8-1 win and receive the trophy from CAF boss Tessema Ydnekatchew as an invincible team is a second tier club in Cameroon today.
The few examples above in generate a few questions needing answers at a time New Stars is seemingly looking like they lost the Stars they had in them some months back.
-What is wrong with football in Cameroon?
Who are those Involved in the Game and why are they involved?
Why is sustained success not a thing of Cameroon Clubs?
Is participation in CAF competitions a blessing or a curse to Cameroon Clubs?
These are a few questions needing answers.
New Stars of Douala’s case today can be used as a Study aid;The club that kept 3 clean sheets in 6 CAF confederations cup games conceding just 3 away goals in 6 games and ended up not conceding a goal at home in the CAF confederation Cup now have the Worst defense in the Cameroon League 1 Championship with 34 goals conceded in 18 league games this season.
The same team with the absence of just their Captain and Top scorer in the 2019 CAF Confederation Cup Ngongang Figo looks as normal as never before and now steer relegation in the face after 2 defeats in 2 of 5 relegation playoffs games.
Some could argue that it is too early to think New Stars is favourites to go down but should a club that have eliminated Al Hilal Tripoli,humiliated Vitalo Club in Bujumbura by 4 goals 1 in away from home and kept a clean sheet against 17 times Kenyan Champions Gor Mahia be in this position in the same season?
New Stars of Douala needs to address their problems with immediate effects to avoid following the footsteps of other great Cameroonian clubs that exists like without life few years after they gave Cameroonians a new life with their wonderful displays on the pitch.
Whoever wants to change football in this triangle and take it back to the good old days of Canon,Oryx,Union Sportive of Douala,TKC of Yaounde must try to answer the above questions amongst others.
This writer urges football actors in Cameroon especially the overall body to adopt the Inter Quarters Approach where in the prize money for the Champion is improved using the subventions given to clubs at the beginning of the season so that clubs go without subventions and only those that afford it participate in the local championship and at the end of the process the winners and those that participate get a good prize money per their ranking in the log.
Pre-financing clubs have failed Cameroon football at least in Continental events,so why not sum up the subventions at the beginning and say for example the league winner gets 300 Millions FCFA and runners up 100 million and it goes down in that manner per position so that teams get a reward per their efforts.
No Cameroonian club have won a CAF continental title since Cameroon won it’s first AFCON title in 1982,this is not a coincidence,there is a 37 year old fundamental problem with club football in Cameroon.
Should New Stars go down at the end of the season it will be a Deja Vu scenario which buttresses the fact that there is a problem with club football in Cameroon.
@AnguLesley on Twitter