30 October 2007

CAMEROON : Basketball Cup - An All- Yaounde Affair

Fred Vubem

The Centre province won all the three cups in competition at the Concorde Sports Complex last Saturday.

After dominating the national championship in basketball in the youth, women and men categories, teams from the Centre province again dominated the finals of the Cup of Cameroon which took place at the Concorde Sports complex of the University of Yaounde I, last Saturday. Five of the six teams involved in the competition, came from the Centre province and after the elimination of Ecole de Basket of Douala in the youth category, the competition became an all-Yaounde affair.

In the youth category, the basketball school from Douala's second attempt at the Cup of Cameroon finals was thwarted by Onyx of Yaounde. The Yaounde-based club defeated Ecole de Basket of Douala 57-43. In the women category, INJS of Yaounde came from behind to defeat Phislama Jama of Yaounde 52-46. Phislama Jama led until three minutes to the end of the last quarter of the match, when the INJS girls turned the tables to carry the day. The youth and women categories were full of narrow misses and lack of an exciting play style. It took the men's finals for one to see more speed and technical skill, coupled with smashes and dunking as well as more precision in the execution of penalties. Consequently the total number of baskets scored more than those of the youth and women finals combined. In the end, BEAC Yaounde for the fourth consecutive time, emerge victorious in the Cup of Cameroon, defeating two-year-old Condor of Yaounde 88-82.

To the centre provincial league president of Basketball, Jean Blaise Nkonga, the domination of teams from the Centre province demonstrates the vitality of the sports in the province and that is usually one of the objectives set by the league at the beginning of every basketball season. However to the president of the Cameroon Basketball Federation, Noah Chrysogone Simon Jean, the domination of the Centre and Littoral provinces is a question of infrastructure which is not available in other parts of the country. As to the question of having the same teams all the time in the final, the President of the basketball federation said this did not mean there was no change within the clubs. "They maybe the same clubs coming up all the time but the players are not the same. It is that these clubs have the means to train and bring up new talents and it is not easy to create and run a basketball club", he said.

The Cup of Cameroon finals marks the end of the basketball season in Cameroon, a season which this year has been punctuated by the impressive performance of the men national basketball team who were runners-up at the 2007 Afro basket tournament in Angola. The women national basketball team, a few weeks later, was also eliminated at the quarter finals in the cup of African Nations.

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