By Ignatius Nji
The North West Regional Mini Inter pools which traditionally sanction the football season in the region will end next week specifically on 11 September, 2016. The regional football jamboree that started 25 August 2016 featured Kumbo Strikers, Bang Bullet, Hill Top Strikers of Bamendankwe, Santos FC, Tatecam FC, Foncha Street, Kom Mountain Rangers and Grassland FC of Nkwen.
At the close of the quarter finals the Nkambe-based Bang Bullet eliminated Foncha Street FC 6-5 after post match penalties. Hilltop Strikers of Bamendakwe featuring the famous John Mendakwe, on their part, beat old hands Kumbo Strikers 1-0 to clinch a semi final ticket. While Bamenda based Tatecam FC ousted Santos FC with a 1-0 win, Kom Mountain Rangers from Boyo beat favorite Grassland FC of Nkwen 2-1 to complete the list of semi finalists.
The Thursday 1 September 2016 semi finals at the Yong Sports Academy playground in Njenefor Nkwen turned out to be a crowd-puller with many traveling from Nkambe and Boyo to support their respective sides. At the close of the first game, it is Bang Bullet that will defend a goal from a penalty they got early into the game to carry the day 1-0 against Kom Mountain Rangers.
The second game which technically looked more competitive, Tatecam FC failed to transform into a goal a penalty they got just a few minutes into the game. They will then play for 120mins with no goal giving room for penalties. The Bamendakwe team will then beat Tatecam FC 3-1 to setup a final against Bang Bullet.
Bang Bullet with players based in Nkambe Divisional Headquarters of Dunga Mantung is featuring for a second consecutive final with same coach Konyi Emmanuel who came in as substitute player against PWD Bamenda last year. Though PWD Bamenda beat Bang Bullet 2-0, the President of the club who prefers to be called Bang Bullet told this reporter that “I am coming back with this club not because I am very rich but because I love promoting football. I created Bang Bullet in 1999 in Nkambe during the George Weah Football competition during which I had the worst team. I was beaten severally 5-0, 6-0 and even 10-0 but I continued to promote the team. By then I was a truck pusher but could even give match bonuses corresponding to the number of goals scored against me to my players. I remember a day I promised FCFA 10,000 for any player who will score a goal for my team yet no one could. What I can tell you is that all those teams I started with have all disappeared and I am at this level. It will be a great honour for me to represent the region. I will make sure I support my players, motivate them to win the finals; not for my sake anyway but for the interest and growth of football in the North West and particularly in Nkambe.”
With the famous “John Mendakwe” as captain, Hilltop Strikers’ appearance at the finals of the North West mini-inter pools is not strange but all the same no one spotted them as a team that could be at this level. With the likes of Grassland FC of Nkwen and Kumbo Strikers no one saw Hilltop coming anywhere close. Today they are at the finals and surprisingly the favourites.
Resurrected from slumber just three years back by one first Division player with PWD Bamenda, John Mendakwe, and few friends, the Bamendakwe or Bamenda I team has become the revelation of the region.
There is no doubt the finals of this year’s North West mini inter pool will be a veritable show of experience from longevity.