CAF Cup: Why The Malaise

The two Cameroonian representatives failed to qualify for the group stage of the competition during the last round play-offs on Sunday January 20, 2019.

Coton Sport of Garoua and New Stars of Douala have been knocked out of the race. The champions of Cameroon, Coton Sport of Garoua, were beaten 2-1 by Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the second leg game of the last round play offs at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on January 20, 2019. Coton Sport needed to beat Asante Kotoko 2-0 to qualify for the group stage of the CAF Confederations Cup but failed.

Asante Kotoko beat Coton Sports 5-3 on aggregate to secure their place in the next stage of the competition. New Stars of Douala, on their part, were held to a goalless draw by Gor Mahia of Kenya at the Limbe Omnisports Stadium. New Stars needed just a one goal margin to grab the ticket to the group stage of the CAF Confederations Cup but lacked efficient attack machinery.

Gor Mahia qualified on a 2-1 aggregate to secure a ticket for the group stage. The early exit of Coton Sport of Garoua and New Stars of Douala from the CAF Confederations Cup means that Cameroon is no longer represented in the competition. Cameroonian clubs made a name in the past in continental football. Canon of Yaounde won the African Champions League three times; 1971, 1978 and 1980 and was runner up at the Confederations Cup in 2003.

Oryx won the maiden edition of the Champions’ League in 1965, reached the semi-finals the next year in 1966 and was quarter finalist in 1968. Union, won the competition in 1979, known as the Africa Cup of Champions.

Coton Sport of Garoua finished as runners up in the African Champions League in 2008. They lost to Al Ahly of Egypt in the final through penalty kicks. In recent years no Cameroonian club has been able to put up a brilliant performance in continental competitions. Coton Sport however reached the group stage of the African Champions League. They were eliminated at the group stage of the competition. The performance of Coton Sport and New Stars this year leaves much to be desired.

The absence of competitions and the delay in the kick-off of the national championship has always remained a handicap to the performance of Cameroonian clubs in continental competitions. Other national championships are ongoing whereas Cameroonian clubs are still on holidays and they participate in international competitions without adequate preparations. Cameroonian clubs will only need to go back to the national championship and work harder while waiting for next year.

But the major worry is that the players are uncertain whether the championship will effectively take off or not. It is however expected with the matching of national championships to FIFA and CAF norms could make Cameroonian clubs participate in continental competitions on the same level with other African clubs.

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