By Basil K Mbuye
Gone are those years that Public Works Department, PWD, of Bamenda and Prisons Social Club of Buea, used to be the pride of Anglophones in football.
The two clubs flew high the Anglophone flag in competitions in the 60s, 70s and 80s, but, today, they are a shadow of themselves.
The tales of these two clubs are full of high hostilities, joy, pride and nostalgia. Wherever these two teams from the Grassland or North Pool (Northwest Region) and Coastal or South Pool (Southwest Region) played, fans jammed the stadium to see the cult heroes do what they do best. It was always an exciting encounter when these two teams clashed to get who is to be crowned West Cameroon League Champions or Cameroon Cup Lords.
One of the memorable clashes between the two was the 1968 West Cameroon Cup between Prisons and PWD Bamenda. The first leg, played on June 23, 1968, ended on a 1-1 parity score. However, the return leg proved different, as the Home Boys walloped the Abakwa Boys 4-0 to face Oryx Bellois of Douala at the National Cup finals.
Prisons Buea Prominence
Prisons Social Club of Buea was created in 1967 following the dissolution of CAMBANK and P&T Club of Buea. Their dissolution left just Police United FC as the lone team in the West Cameroon capital. This was thanks to the efforts of its first President and then First Director of West Cameroon Prisons, Richard Titang.
The expectations and support received by the club saw them qualifying for the First Division in their first year of existence. They played the 1966/67 Federal Championship and in 1968 they represented West Cameroon by playing the finals of the Cup of Cameroon against Oryx Douala from East Cameroon. The historic encounter saw the likes of Mbappe Leppe and Tsebo Jean Marie of Oryx silenced by players like Ewunkem of Prisons Buea. In this encounter, an offside goal scored by Oryx and validated by the referee marred the encounter.
Not satisfied with the decision, Team captain Ewunkem Joseph stopped the match and threatened to move towards late president Ahidjo. The encounter that took place at the Military stadium in Yaounde, saw the Prisons Buea aka Home Boys playing as if they are playing at home away from home.
The game ended with Prisons losing to Oryx 1-2 but the referee earned a life ban. The people’s darling club swept many local trophies like the Radio Buea Cup, the Beaufort Cup, Lottery Cup, among others.
The club’s success hit marginal utility in 1977 when they were relegated to Division Two, after spending 15 years in the Federal Championship. This was due to a drop in financial support from the Prisons Department.
After this period, the club’s attempts to gain promotion into the Federal Championship failed, despite playing the Interpools tournament in 1978, 1981 and 1982.
Things will get worst for the team in 1990 when they were relegated to the Third Division League in 1990 leaving their fans disappointed.
The legendary Prisons Social Club of Buea is one of the surviving teams created just after independence. Joseph Ewunkem, Jacques Songo, Humphrey Mosenge, Nangho, among others, are some of the club’s cult heroes.
PWD of Bamenda Eminence
In the Northwest Region, it was PWD of Bamenda aka Abakwa Boys that vibrated and pulled thousands of people to the stadium. It was created some 67 years ago and managed by the Public Works Department.
PWD Bamenda has played many seasons in the First Division League and the last time they did so was in 2005. The club is one of the oldest in the country. Since its creation, PWD has had remarkable performances at the Cup of Cameroon where they have lost two finals; 1967 against Canon of Yaounde and 1979 against Dynamo of Douala. However, in the championship, they have failed to shine.
The club has never achieved any significant performance except in the 2003 season when they ended the Elite One League at the 3rd position. PWD was relegated from MTN Elite 2 championship in May 2008, alongside Kumba Lakers, Victoria United, to the then Provincial Division 2 League.
Meanwhile, at the continental level, the club has made only one campaign which was during the 2004 CAF Confederation Cup, following its third place in the league at the end of the 2003 season. They eliminated TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the first round, but were booted out in the round of 16 by AS Douanes of Senegal (2-2, 0-3).
PWD Bamenda was a breeding ground for players like Dr. Ekwe, Peter Essoka, Frankline Ngoh, Zachary Nkwo, Sunday Nji, Augustine Simo, Ben Bola Forcha, Matthew Andongcho Mbuta, among others.
First published on The Post Newspaper edition number 02038