The 43rd edition of the national Challenge Cup finals set a record of its own. In symbols and innovations, the event of yesterday left unique scars in the collective psyche. At the level of the pre-match displays, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Bidoung Mkpatt engineered an attractive recipe that raised the quality of applause.
Specific innovations were inoculated into the diverse movements. The image of peace, unity and stability echoed throughout the variants, reminding the audience of the achievements of the New Deal and its apostle. Before the main actors of the day emerged from their dressing room, the stage was set for the triumph of fair-play and the cult of effort. In the field of play, the twenty two players strove to attain the vital goal of the day. The one all tie at the end of ninety minutes solicited additional prolongation pegged on the golden goal. Mokake tilted the balance with the spot kick that ensured the victory of Mount Cameroon. As a symbol of national harmony, football in particular and sports in general remains on the pedestal. The two teams that fought every inch of the way for the 43rd Challenge title are a microcosm of the nation. Within its ranks are Cameroonians of diverse ethnic, cultural and political colourings with the sole objective of attaining collective goals. The theme of unity and harmony, eloquently stressed by the pre-match displays stretched to the end of the event. The victory of Mount Cameroon also carried with it strong symbols. It was the first time in the history of the Challenge Cup Competition that a team from the South West Province is lifting the trophy. Coming from the « Chariot of the gods », the Buea team reawakened patriotic memories of a people united by one destiny. The Challenge trophy has been making its rounds throughout the triangle, an indication that the Commonwealth has a national spread. By his regular presence in the football temple in all Challenge Cup finals, the Head of State asserts his total support for the sports movement. The trophies and the august guest give added spice to the rich menu that has become a vital date in the sports calendar. The award ceremony is a sterling reminder to the teeming sportsmen and women that the nation will always stand by its flag bearers within and without its borders. This time around, the trophy award spread to both collective and individual sports disciplines, in keeping with the oft-quoted « no major, no minor sports » maxim. At the end of the day, it was a veritable communion between the Chief Executive and the sporting movement. Victory went to the team that kept it nerves in harmony with its objectives,. Sable Batie drew immensely from its repertoire of experience to nail the curtain raiser. Mount Cameroon did not falter, rather, the Buea team kept faith with the assurances of the mountain gods as stressed by Chief SML Endeley on their departure from Buea. When the team drew level, odd makers were already tipping in their favour. The spot kick at the edge of the penalty box was a golden opportunity to take the trophy for once to Buea. Sports, it has been said, remains a barometer reading of the Cameroonian personality. The spirit of fairplay was evident throughout the event, a sterling product of the rich repertoire of the nation’s values.