By Basil K Mbuye
The new Southwest Regional Football League format has come under serious criticisms ahead of the new football season that is to commence on Sunday, January 11 in Limbe.
Going by the new league format from the Executive Bureau of the Southwest Regional League of FECAFOOT that sat on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, in Buea, the championship this year will be played in seven pools and will be hosted by four towns (Buea, Limbe, Tiko, and Kumba).
This also means that clubs will play in their towns as they won’t have to travel to other towns as it has been in the past. This has seen some bookmakers criticizing the fact that the format will limit the experience of players as some will not be able to grow as far as away pressure is concern.
This is because some players will finish the league without knowing what it feels like playing away from home. Others hold that it will belittle the league to a mere Interquater competition as clubs will play just at home. Meanwhile, the aspect of tourism which players enjoy when they travel to other towns will be killed.
Another resolution arrived at showed that clubs in Pool C and F will play just four games in the whole season. This is because only three teams are in Pool C just like in Pool F. A situation like this will mean that if a club has a squad size of 30-35 players, how these players are going to have enough game time. As per the laws of game time, the least games a player that is competitive needs to have in a single year are at least 15.
Also, what becomes of the fate of a club president who had spent millions securing the liberation of players and ends up playing just four games in a season. The development of players is also killed as they have just fewer games to take part in. Some clubs have rented houses for their players for a year just to have the players playing just two games in the first phase and two in the second.
Meanwhile, in other pools, the maximum a club will play will be eight games in the whole of the season and that is in Pool A alone. Other Pools will see clubs playing a maximum of six games the whole season.
Pundits have questioned if the change of format is what will see the region get an elite team or is it the lack of collaboration in the football Meilleur in the region. The region in the past has used the old format that has seen clubs like Mount Cameroon, Kumba Lakers, Olympic Muyuka, Njalla Quan Sports Academy, Tiko United Fc amongst others promoted.
Three teams will be relegated at the end of the championship while the first in each pool will take part in the Mini Interpools playoffs.
However, the Executive Bureau of the Southwest Regional League of FECAFOOT holds that the format will see clubs spend less and also make the game difficult as all games will be local derbies.
The General Assembly will take place on Saturday, January 11 while the league will be launched on January 11 in Limbe with three games scheduled to take place.