Home » Who is Leonel Ateba? Yanga SC’s January target

Who is Leonel Ateba? Yanga SC’s January target

by Lesley Ngwa
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  • Ateba made his debut in Elite football at the age of 16 as a winger for YAFOOT FC
  • The 24-year-old joined Dynamo of Douala less than three months ago on a two-year contract from PWD as their record acquisition
  • Ateba has scored five goals and won the (National footballers Syndicate) SYNAFOC October 2023 player of the month award 
  • Yanga SC are scouting to sign him to improve their attacking options months after losing Fiston Kalala Mayele to Pyramids SC 

24-year-old Leonel Ateba Christian Mbida is arguably the most-talked-about striker at the moment in the Cameroon domestic championship.

The Dynamo of Douala forward has scored five goals and provided two assists in his opening seven matches for the newly-promoted side, barely months after joining them from PWD of Bamenda on a record two-millions FCFA deal.

The former AS Etoa Meki and Fortuna forward is a subject of transfer inquiry from reigning Tanzanian champions, Young Africans SC as they look to improve on their attacking options in the mid season.

The Dar Es Salaam outfit in their latest attempt to fill the void created by the departure of Congolese poacher, Fiston Kalala Mayele have sent scouts to gather more data about Ateba, days after he made his debut for Cameroon’s senior national team away to Libya in a 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

Leonel Ateba Christian Mbida training with the Cameroon national team this month

According to kick442.com sources, there has been an initial contact between the player and Yanga SC representatives as part of efforts to hijack the former YAFOOT FC and PWD of Bamenda man from his current employer, Dynamo of Douala.

But how good is Ateba? 

This is a question many Cameroon football fans can answer with relative ease. The speedy forward with exceptional hold-up play capacity amongst others has made a name for himself across the country in the past five years.

Ateba’s exploits during the 2020/21 season saw Cotonsport of Garoua cough out a whopping two millions FCFA to sign him from AS Fortuna – the same season Coton picked up Simba SC’s Che Malone Fondoh Junior. Before departing Fortuna that season, Ateba scored 13 goals and made seven assists in 28 games. His outstanding return that campaign made him a subject of interest for many clubs, but he picked the defending champions then, due to his ambitions to play in the CAF Champions League.

Ateba’s time at Cotonsport turned out to be a difficult one. He wasn’t given enough game time, largely because of the form of the then skipper Marou Souaibou.

However, he made his debut in the CAF Champions League and had the experience of the competition before switching to PWD in the subsequent season. At PWD, everything worked for him.

Ateba, a focal striker who can also play as a left or right winger scored nine goals and made six assists in his only season with the Abakwa Boys. He finished that season as the club’s lead scorer, helping them to reach a second cup of Cameroon final in three years. Unfortunately, Ateba moved into the Dynamo challenge after waiting to no avail for over three months for the final to be scheduled.

Even before moving to Dynamo, the exploits of the goal poacher earned him a call up to the Intermediate Lions team managed by former internationals Alioum Saidou and Pius Ndierfi.

While in the intermediate team, Song noticed his know-how of the game. He confirmed the need to get him into the senior team via his early days at Dynamo.

Leonel Ateba Christian Mbida celebrates goal for Dynamo of Douala

A wonder goal to win the top match against Canon Yaoundé plus a cheeky lob goal against Colombe of Dja sealed his first call up. When Vincent Aboubakar limped off in the warm up of his club’s commitment in the UEFA Conference League group stage game, Song immediately turned to Leonel Ateba as his replacement.

The invitation of the former MTN Elite Two top scorer in his Etoa Meki days to the national team was one of the rare cases that earned more approval from local football followers.

Ateba, made his debut for Cameroon as a late substitute in the goalless draw against Libya.

The forward with exceptional dribbling skills and capacity to lead the line and play as a second striker is a major component of Dynamo’s charge to the top of their Pool in this season’s MTN Elite One championship.

Leonel Ateba Christian Mbida picks up SYNAFOC October player of the month award

It remains to be seen if Yanga SC will push all the way to secure the services of the SYNAFOC top-flight player of the month for the month of October.

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