By Basil K Mbuye
PWD of Bamenda will have to choose to go the Tiko United way, or the Canon of Yaounde way, when the Confederation of African Football, CAF, Champions League will kick-start in the months ahead.
The Abakwa Boys, as they are fondly called, will be making their debut in the competition after winning the title for the first time, just like Canon of Yaounde did in 1970, and Tiko United FC in 2009.
However, the story of these two sides that won the Cameroon championship for the first time and took part in the CAF Champions League is not the same. The story of Canon of Yaounde is a heroic one, while that of Tiko United FC took the Samba Boys from hero to zero.
Just like Canon and Tiko United, PWD of Bamenda supporters will be wishing the club emulate the marvellous performances of Canon of Yaounde in their maiden CAF Champions League and not Tiko United FC.
Created on November 11, 1930, Canon of Yaounde alias Kpa-Kum shocked many when, in 1970, they won their maiden Cameroon top-flight championship. As champions of Cameroon, they represented Cameroon in the then African Cup of Champions Clubs in 1971. It was the 7th edition of the competition and a maiden one for the Kpa-Kum boys. Although it was their first, Canon of Yaounde beat the likes of AS Solidarité, AS Vita Club, Dynamic Togolais, ASEC Mimosas to book a ticket for the final against Asante Kotoko of Ghana.
The first leg of the final saw Asante Kotoko humiliating visiting Canon of Yaounde 3-0 at the Kumasi Stadium. In the second leg, Canon won 2-0 at the Yaounde Military Stadium. With the absence of the away goal rule in the final, the game was replayed two days after, on December 21, 1971, at the Military Stadium. Canon’s Eteme got the curtain-raiser at the 72nd minute to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
However, the match was abandoned at the 82nd minute with Canon Yaounde leading 1-0 after Asante Kotoko fans invaded the pitch. Canon Yaounde was declared champions. Canon later went ahead to win the competition in 1978, 1980 and are the 7th most successful club in the competition with three titles.
On their part, the experience of Tiko United FC on their maiden CAF Champions League wasn’t the best. The Samba Boys failed to win a single game after regular playing time, although they sailed through on penalties. Drawn against Vital’O of Burundi, the first leg game away ended 2-2, thanks to goals from Edingue Tombe and Njounkou Job.
For the return leg in Cameroon, down by 2-1 at home, a 75th-minute goal from Francis Evambe helped secure a 2-2 draw, after Njounkou Job had opened the scoring for Tiko United. With the game ending on a 4-4 aggregate, Tiko United won the penalty shootouts 5-3.
In the First Round, playing at the Douala Reunification Stadium against Heartland of Nigeria, the Samba Boys failed to beat the visiting side. Tiko United’s goals from Ackey Ambino and Tamen Nghanthy were all cancelled by Heartland’s Signs Chibambo in the 76th and 90th minutes.
On April 4, 2010, at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, the Samba Boys will again get the curtain-raiser at the 30th minute through Njondong Joel. However, they failed to close their back door as Emmanuel Omodiagbe got the equaliser at the 85th minute. The game ended on a tie. Heartland advanced on the away goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate.
PWD of Bamenda will have to choose from the legacy of these two clubs that made their debut in the competition just like they will be doing. However, they will need to see that they don’t replicate their poor performances in 2004 when they were ousted in the CAF Confederations Cup. In this competition, the recorded a 2-2 aggregate against TP Mazembe (1-0, 1-2) that saw them sailing through due to the away goal rules. they will however, in the Second round suffered a 2-5 aggregate against AS Douanes (2-2, 0-3) to crash out of the competition.
Sixteen years after, the Abakwa Boys will need to create an impact.