CAF CL: Can Fovu Club Survive the Stings of Familiar Foes?
Cameroon’s flagbearers Fovu Club of Baham – a much forgotten team – returned to the CAF Champions League last weekend when they faced Angolan counterparts at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium of Yaounde.
During their maiden appearance in 2001, they were robbed of success by Petro Atletico of Luanda, the same team threatening to inflict tragedy after over two decades.
After a 21-year absence, Fovu didn’t get the much-desired dream start as they were held to a 2-2 draw on home soil.
The results of the first leg encounter was painful, triggering a plethora of spiteful comments from a cross section of fans. Their display did not carry traits of resilience, collectivity, creativity and potency upfront.
Do or Die Return Leg
Fovu face Petro Athletico of Luanda in the return leg of the CAF Champions League this Saturday September 18 in Angola.
The Cameroonian side requested the game to be moved to 22 September but CAF have yet to respond. Otherwise they will be obliged to travel and play as initially set.
It will be their fourth CAF inter club game since creation in 1978. They have never won a game in the CAF Champions League. On their part, their current opponents have played twice as many games and won more matches.
Like in 2001, Fovu Club head into the encounter with a 2-2 draw. They thus need to fight hard and overturn the 3-2 return leg loss of yesteryears preliminary round.
After seeing off Fovu, Petro de Luanda had gone ahead to reach the semi-finals. Two of their players, Kapela Mbiyavanga and and Flavio finished top scorers of that campaign with 9 and 7 goals respectively.
Stemming the tide
Fovu’s history with Petro Atletico is not the only fear. The disappointing ventures by Cameroonian clubs in the CAF Champions League over the years hovers over Fovu.
Since 2017, only Coton Sport of Garoua have reached the group stage. That year, Cameroon featured two clubs UMS of Loum and Coton Sport.
UMS of Loum lost to AC Leopard on the away-goal rule basis following a 2-2 draw. Coton Sport on their part thrashed Atlabara 7-2 on aggregate in the preliminaries. They qualified for the first round and overpowered CNaPS Sport 2-1. Their impressive run could not take them beyond the group stage as they failed to grab a single point in pool D.
They lost all their games to eventual winners Wydad Casablanca, Al Ahly and Zanaco of Zambia.
The tragedy continued in 2018. After an interesting season, Eding Sport failed to extend their domestic success to the CAF Champions League. The 2016/2017 Cameroon champions crashed out in the preliminaries after losing heavily to Plateau United of Nigeria 4-0.
During the 2018/2019 season, the situation didn’t change. None of Cameroon’s two clubs made it through to the group stages. UMS of Loum bowed out after defeat to Lobi Stars 1-2. After eliminating ASF Bobo Dioulasso to reach the first round, Coton Sport’s ambitions were punctured by Ismaily of Egypt.
The situation wasn’t different in the 2019/2020 season. UMS of Loum suffered an early exit upon losing to AS Vita 0-1. In 2019/2020, PWD of Bamenda suffered from the same fate. They lost to last year’s finalist Kaizer Chiefs 0-1.
Defeating Petro Atletic of Luanda will be a huge success for Fovu Club. But breaking the jinx and reaching the group stage of the CAF Champions League will boost their country’s prowess.
Fovu Club is among the teams that scored the most number of goals after Coton Sport of Garoua in the championship and also had a stable defense throughout the regular season. The club has won its first championship title since 2000 and hold their heads up.
By Beng Emmanuel