OPOPO and RACING have clashed on a number of occasions – at the First Division level and in the Cup of Cameroon competition.
However, the most memorable and controversial match ever to oppose OPOPO to Racing was their Sixteen finals clash in the 1996 Cup of Cameroon race. The second of two matches was played in the R. Stadium in Douala.
Coached by one time national trainer, Sadi Jean Pierre and fielding a squad of ball jogglers, Opopo on that occasion made Racing look like a squad of Sunday morning park players.
The match that ended 2-0 in favour of OPOPO was a replay of an earlier meeting in Yaounde that had ended inconclusively.
In the course of that first meeting, OPOPO’s playmaker, Jean Black was “redcarded”.
After homologating the inconclusive match, a replay was ordered. This time in Douala.
In that second meeting, the OPOPO Dream Team (as they were affectionately called) were at their best. Mukete, Nchu, Anek, Isingila, Ebot, Hosea Abongwa(goalie), Perry, Tataw, Bebey, Ntui Njasso, Echike, Kalle Sone and Jean Black were all there.
In arguably the best all time performance by a Southwest Division Two side OPOPO dismembered their more experienced adversaries with a fluid passing game that was a joy to watch.
Unfortunately what was a sweet victory was to turn sour after OPOPO were booted out of the Cup race in a FECAFOOT boardroom decision.
And what was OPOPO’s offence? Fielding JEAN BLACK in the replayed match after he had received a red card in the nullified first match in Yaounde.
Yes, Racing had not only filed a protest after the OPOPO victory but had equally solicited the intervention of FIFA.
Both FECAFOOT and FIFA held that in the case where a match is replayed sanctions issued in the course of the initial match stand.
Thus, having been expelled during the first match, Jean Black was not supposed to feature in the replay.
For that reason OPOPO lost the match by penalty and Racing marched on to the Eigth finals.
It should be pointed out that Racing was seriously reprimanded by FECAFOOT for writing to FIFA when the matter was being handled by FECAFOOT.
On a happier note OPOPO qualified for Division One at that year’s Interpools hosted in Ngoundere.
By Barrister Ashutantang