Home » Strides to Glory: Chronicles of Elite one playoff-up participants

Strides to Glory: Chronicles of Elite one playoff-up participants

by Lesley Ngwa
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The MTN Elite One playoff-up is set to kick off on March 17 at the Reunification Stadium, showcasing a thrilling knockout tournament with eight teams vying for glory: Dynamo, Canon, Colombe, Gazelle, Stade Renard, Coton Sport, Yong Sport, and Victoria United. Spanning seven match days and 28 games across three different stadiums, the stakes are high with a single team destined to claim the 50 million CFA francs cash prize.

Coton Sport, with a legacy of 18 championships, is poised to make its third appearance in the playoffs since it’s reintroduction. Echoing their performance from 2023, they secured the runner-up position in Pool B with 29 points from 16 matches, achieving eight wins, five draws, and three losses, scoring 23 goals and conceding nine. Despite the absence of prodigy Eric Moursou and last season’s top scorer Emmanuel Mahopp, Coton Sport’s formidable squad is determined to defend their title.

Canon, a 10-time champion, is back in the fray after securing third place last season. The Kpakum boys clinched second in Pool A with 30 points from 18 games, impressively scoring 24 goals while conceding 14. Led by Coach Joseph Atangana, Canon is on the hunt for their 11th title since 2002. While they may not boast the best striker this season, their playmaker Paul Henri Tchikeu has been pivotal with five assists.

Dynamo and Victoria United have both marked significant milestones with their playoff qualifications. Dynamo, returning to Elite One football, led their group with 30 points, showcasing strong away performances with seven wins from 18 games. Coach Yves Clement Arroga, despite losing top striker Leonel Ateba, is confident in Dynamo’s potential to carve out a remarkable chapter this season.

Victoria United, meanwhile, clinched seven vital points from appeals on the final day, keeping their CAF Champions League hopes alive. With the tournament’s second-highest scorer, Richmond Nji, and newly appointed coach Merlin Njikeu Nkwonyin, the team is well-equipped for a strong playoff run.

Colombe and Yong Sport are making their playoff debuts, thanks to stellar performances in the second half of the season. Yong Sport, in particular, secured five of their seven victories in the return leg, finishing third with 23 points under the leadership of first-year head coach Ndikum Blaise.

Colombe, led by Coach Richard Towa, qualified for the playoffs with a balanced record of eight draws, four defeats, and six wins. Key players like Florent Batoum and Randy Ntuwe have significantly boosted the team’s performance, with Colombe remaining undefeated in their last five matches.

Gazelle of Garoua is gearing up for the playoffs for the second year running, having clinched the final berth in Group A with two pivotal draws against Dynamo and PWD in the closing matches. Accumulating 26 points from six wins, eight draws, and four losses, coach Alioum Kada is poised to surpass their fourth-place finish from the previous season.

Stade Renard has emerged as the standout team after the regular season, being the only team to secure nine victories. They topped Pool B with 31 points, losing only three out of 16 matches. With David Pagou at the helm, Stade Renard boasts the league’s second-stingiest defense, trailing only Coton Sport. As one of the seven teams consistently fulfilling its financial obligations, the club’s management and players are eager to etch their names into the annals of history.

The league champions will take home a hefty prize of 50 million CFA francs, while the runners-up and third-place finishers will receive 25 million and 15 million CFA francs, respectively. The fourth-place team will be awarded 10 million CFA francs. All eight teams have secured their spot in the Elite One for the next season, ensuring another year of top-tier football.

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