Four rounds have been played in the Cameroonian MTN Elite One 2012. As always, information is hard to find but here are some observations from this exciting league.
Fans of this newly promoted side, based in Dschang in Western Cameroon, must be disappointed as the club lost two of their most important players before the new season, namely striker Dieudonné Evina Manga and defender Abed Nego Tembeng, who both joined ambitious club Astres Douala.
Apparently, the club has brought in a dozen new players and only retained nine players from the team that won protomotion. Personally, I think the squad looks very inexperienced. Players with top level experience include defender Yannick Gaël Ntonme, formerly of Tiko United FC, David Mpouma, formerly of Union Douala, striker Nana Arnaud Njeukou, formerly of Union Douala and veteran striker Lenekourman Baidam (born 02.04.1984), formerly of Cotonsport FC and Roumde Adjia FC. Njeukou has scored the only league goal of the club so far this season.
From my point of view, one of the most interesting players in the squad is full-back Joël Sandriel Boheu, who was part of the Cameroon U-20 national football team in 2010, playing for third level side FC Yaoundé II Formation. The following video shows a few glimpses of his quality:
As always, Astres Douala has signed a lot of new players. It remains to be seen whether the new players will blend in well with the retained players. Veteran goalkeeper Lawrence Ngome (born 23.02.1979) has been first choice so far this season. Abed Nego Tembeng, the new defender from Aigle Royal, looks promising and is already an established member of the team. Tembeng was part of the Cameroon U-23 national football team last year. Right-back Jean Patrick Abouna Ndzana (born 27.09.1990), arguably the best player in the MTN Elite One, struggles to find a club in Europe and is still part of the squad. Abouna Ndzana is truly a wonderful player and personally, I cannot understand why he has not been signed by a mid-level European club. Here is a video of the player:
Astres has signed three attacking midfielders who were all star players at smaller clubs last season, namely Alain Assana (born 17.01.1986) from Ngaoundéré University FC, Mbeleg Inouni (born 08.06.1988) from Caiman Club and Augustin Dourwe Taoga from Scorpion FC. Dourwe Taoga scored on his debut for Astres. Playmaker Christian Heumi Kabon (born 01.01.1989) and left-winger Joseph Julien Momasso (born 09.12.1985) are also key midfielders with mostly attacking qualities. Perhaps Astres is missing a couple of holding midfielders to balance the team?
Up-front, Astres will rely on Ernest Nsombo (born 06.03.1991), one of the revelations from last season, and new signing Kelvin Agbor (born 11.07.1987) from Tiko United FC. Dieudonné Evina Manga (born 22.12.1991), the striker signed from Aigle Royal, also looks interesting.
Canon Yaoundé, once upon a time the powerhouse of Cameroonian football, has made a terrible start to the new season, collecting only one point in four matches. Yazid Atouba Emane (born 02.01.1993) is one of the few bright spots and the petit attacking midfielder or left-winger is truly one of the finest talents in the league. Here is a video clip of Atouba Emane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlM6N9-QDTI
Veteran Philippe Ngom Balonga (born 01.04.1987) is back at Canon Yaoundé and has been made captain of the team. On paper, the attacking pair of Frédéric Nguidjol and Alain Roger Ndjan should be able to score goals.
It’s interesting to see the number of players at Canon Yaoundé who have previously been at Renaissance FC de Ngoumou. From the top of my head, I can name the following players: Yazid Atouba Emane, Marcellin Bisso, Victor Kalla Kalla, Frédéric Nguidjol, Alain Roger Ndjan, David Paul Assonganyi and Christian Tsala Amougou.
Cotonsport FC has become league champions nine of the eleven last seasons and is naturally favourites this year too. However, based on the current squad of the team, I think other teams may have a chance this year. I think the team looks somewhat inexperienced this year and as star striker Hilaire Momi left for Le Mans UC in France, it is difficult to see that the squad contains a player who can score 15-20 league goals. However, experience tells me that Cotonsport FC has the financial muscles to beef up their squad should they begin to struggle.
Despite my insecurity, I must say that the squad contains some extremely interesting players this year. At the time of writing, goalkeeper Loic Maxime Feudjou (born 14.04.1992) is one of the major talking points of Cameroonian football. A few days ago, Feudjou was included in the squad of the Indomitable Lions, the Cameroon national football team. The youngster was signed from amateur club Botafogo FC before the new season. The following clip shows glimpses of his qualities: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xfAiw1OaFU
Interestingly, the wonderful form of Feudjou has reduced big name signing Jean Efala Komguep (born 11.08.1992) to the bench. Efala Komguep was widely regarded as the most promising goalkeeper in Cameroon when he joined the champions from Fovu Club before the new season. The 19-year old has plenty of experience from the Cameroon U-20 national football team and has also been training with the Indomitable Lions.
Needless to say, Cotonsport FC has the most interesting goalkeeping pair in the league and hopefully, they are able to push eachother towards stardom.
Fousseni Traoré (born 15.07.1984) is a new central defender from Burkina Faso. The experienced player, a full international player for Les Etalons, played professionally in Algeria for MC Saïda in 2008-2009 and has also played for AS FAN(Niger) and Darnes(Libya).
In December 2011, I wrote about two of the new players at Cotonsport FC, Djene Dakonam (born 31.12.1991) from Togo and Jusly Gitel Boukama Kaya (born 05.02.1993) from the Republic of Congo:
Both players have already established themselves in the team, Dakonam as a defender or defensive midfielder and Boukama Kaya as a left-winger or striker. Boukama Kaya has already scored his first goal for his new club.
Defensive midfielder Jean Jules Bapidi Fils (born 08.03.1989) won a dream contract with Tunisian top club Espérance Sportive de Tunis in the season 2009-2010 but has now returned to Cameroon and Cotonsport FC. Bapidi Fils is a very strong and physical player but is also comfortable with the ball in his feet. Chardin Madila Mfoutou (born 15.04.1990), a full international player for the Republic of Congo, and Baba Ousmaila (born 26.09.1986) are also wonderful players in the middle of the park.
Up-front, Cotonsport FC has two of the most interesting strikers in the country, namely Emmanuel Mbongo Ewangue (born 13.03.1993) and Jacques Haman (born 30.08.1994). Both players made their debut at top level last season and although they are immensely talented, I doubt that they can score double figures in the league. Perhaps A Bidias Franck Namatchoua (born 09.03.1989) can become one of the revelations of the new season? The big striker was signed from CNIC-UIC de Douala before the new season. Apparently, Namatchoua was top scorer at second level of Cameroonian football in 2010-2011.
The picture is taken from Lechabba and shows striker A Bidias Franck Namatchoua (left) and goalkeeper Loic Maxime Feudjou (right).