By Ekema Njoku .M.
Coach Edwin Teteh and his foot soldiers braved the odds in the Dixiade competition, but could only end at the fourth position after losing to the host region in the third place playoffs.
The competition began on a bad footing for the Southwest selection as they were humbled by the host west region in the first encounter. The second game of the SW region was a litmus test for coach Teteh and his boys, a derby against their Anglophone brothers of the Northwest region. The encounter was a five-goal thriller as Teteh and his boys in best of form got their first win in the competition 3-2.
This left Captain Malone and his teammates with three points after two games. In the next game of the SW, they faced a formidable Far North side and were thrashed by 3-1 complicating issues for tactician Teteh and his boys. And in the final game, a must-win match for Team SW. They got the expected results beating the representatives of the South region 2-1, catapulting them into the semis behind the west region on 10 points, ahead of the Northwest with 6 points, Far North 4 points and South 3. The Southwest football boys qualified as an outcome of the Head-to-head results with the Northwest.
The Semi-final was another game for the boys of the Southwest as they were paired with Centre region top of the other group. A mountain to climb as the boys from the national capital had a clean record against all opponents in the competition. Coach Edwin Teteh remained optimistic as he urged his boys to make a name and gain respect in the competition. This match saw the Southwest for the first time not conceding in the competition. Unfortunately, the Buea boys lost on post-match penalties by 3-1.
The boys from Buea had a chance to make amends for a third-place playoff against the host region. A repeat of the first group stage matches which ended in favour of the West region. Team SW were laminated 4-1 by the west region.
Talking to Atlantic Chronicles after the game, unsatisfied Edwin Teteh complained bitterly about the absence of two key players of his team not allowed to play because their badges were not available. He apportioned the blame on the organising committee. “The programme was very tight, playing every day and on rough dusty pitches is not really easy, bruises, injuries respiratory problems, fatigue and just 14 players to manage and no time for recuperation” made life difficult for the football tactician and his squad. “However, we thank God for bringing us up to the fourth position and keeping us till now with no major casualties as we return home tomorrow,” Coach Edwin Teteh added.
Captain Che Malone also thanked God for bringing them to that level, though the team came empty handed “with no trophy or medal”, but remains positive on the lesson learnt from the competition, “ what actually brought us to this level was the solidarity, camaraderie and unity among us the players” Pride Lyonga another player added.