Mkabia Domestic Sports

A battle ground for the sportsmen and women of nations worldwide. [In character]
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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Mkabia Domestic Sports

Postby Mkabia » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:40 am

After a series of violent civil wars, which wrecked the ties of civilisation and the foundations of the already fragile economy, Mkabia slowly tries to return to normality. One of the key elements in doing so, according to the - according to their own promises, temporary - military government is the establishment of sporting competitions. Not only should they provide a means of diversion but also a chance to reunite the country and its 2.3 million inhabitants. At one hand, they want to do so to showcase themselves to the world and the paperwork to partake in various international competitions has been whipped up hastily. On the other hand, there is the urge to establish national tournaments. Some would call the firm governmental hand behind them a form of panem et circenses but the population craves for mental excitement as well after nearly two decades of hunger and plundering.

Throughout the whole nightmare which were The Mkabian Civil Wars, as historians will moniker them anytime soon, competitive sports never completely died down. Being it in soldier training or refugee camps, one always could find children and adults chasing a ball or measuring themselves against one another in speed and strength. In times of relative quiet, some cities and even larger regions managed to pit the best amongst them against one another, ensuring quite a name for some in the process. But never in the last twenty years, opponents could cross the small save pocket of their homes to compete across the nation in peace and confidence. It is aspired that now, in the early spring of 2020, this at last comes to an end.

As it is often observed throughout the multiverse, the most infamous of sports is football and Mkabia is no stranger to that. Across the land, one can find makeshift goalposts and youngsters showcasing their technical skills. Throughout the dry season, which runs practically from October till May, it is the key practised sport. In their shadow, two others have an established following, being rugby in the south and west - the coastal regions, in short - at the one hand and baseball in the north and the landlocked parts of the east. When the torrential rains come, and refuse to stop for four months, their popularity gets replaced by basketball, which gets practised indoors. Its following suffered the most from the war, but seems to return in full force. Apart from these team sports, there is a nationwide interest in boxing, cycling and athletics, whilst some regions and/or social strata seem keen for rowing, tennis and lutte, a local form of wrestling.


Mkabia Basketball League (MBL) - summer league
2020 Season -    Djalenga Titans
2021 Season - Kada Rebels


Coupe du President (La Coupe) - spring competition
2020 Season -    Dragons de Massagui
2021 Season - Royal Garo
2022 Season - Preview to come

Mkabia Premier Division (MPD) - autumn to spring
2020-21 Season - Stade Djalenga
2021-22 Season - Preview to come

Coupe de la Confederation - autumn to spring
2021-22 Season - Results to come


Kaorak 7 - autumn competition
2020 Season -    Young Boys Kada
2021 Season - Results to come


National Baseball Cup (NBC) - winter competition
2020-21 Season - Garo Gladiators


Tour de Mkabia - spring race
2021 Season -    Demba Kaba

In case of interest to join hands through transfers, participating in competitions, international games, club takeovers, ... Please shoot a TG
Last edited by Mkabia on Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:15 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:42 am

Coupe du President 2020

As there was no time left for a full regular season and the financial state of most of the sides does not allow them to partake in a long and tiring competition, the representatives of the FA decided to limit their activity to a Cup tournament, which would serve to search the national champion amongst the participants. From across the different regions, twenty teams assembled to compete and win the highest honour.

These teams get split amongst four groups of five sides who will contest a single round-robin group phase. The top two will qualify for the quarterfinals, which will be contested in a home-and-away format - as do the semis. For the final, a single game will decide on the victor.

The pressure is on from the group stage onwards, nonetheless, as the top three manages to grab a ticket for the inaugural Mbakia Premier League, which will take shape from next season onwards.

La Coupe - Group Stage
Group West

AS Songto 2–2 Falako Sports
Stade Djalenga 4–0 Djalenga Foot

As if the calendar makers intended it as such, the competition opens with a duel between two fierce city rivals. It seems as if every inhabitant of Djalenga made their way to the River Stadium and those who couldn’t get hold of a ticket are gathered on the squares to tune in together. The rivalry between Stade, the club with standing and tradition that has its roots in the upper class of university students, and Foot, which has its both feet firmly in the working class, is older than the nation and divides the capital across all its borders.

Whilst the followings of the two make a balanced case, the game itself does not deliver upon that promise. The front duo of Fodé Siry and Mamadouba Diawara wreck havoc from the first minute onwards and when the dust has settled, there is a glaring three-goal gap between the two rivals. The easy tap-in for four-nil by Diawara past a fumbling goalie Yattara is not the only deception of the day for the ambitious Foot as they see two motivated opponents for a spot in the quarterfinals grab a point. Songto and Falako ensured ninety minutes with changing odds, but a monumental screamer from Gerard Bagayoko eventually balances the scales.

Falako Sports 0–2 Stade Djalenga
Jeunesse Djalenga 2–2 AS Songto

No rest for the wicked as Stade Djalenga continue their trail with a professional and dominant victory at the field of Falako. Mamadouba Diawara underlined his stature as the key goalgetter with a brilliant dribble and shot in the furthest corner, out of reach for the Sports goalie. Twenty-four years of age, Diawara admitted that his dream is to make it abroad someday, openly applying for a spot in the national team for the World Cup. This might seem a bit cocky at first and Diawara is no stranger to that, but those who saw him wrestle past the Falako defensive line must admit that he’s got all right to claim such a position.

The debuting Jeunesse showed the very best and worst which they have in store over the course of two halves. AS Songto, a seemingly solid formation, got destroyed before the break, not in the least by the diminutive but intelligent Kalifa Kargbo who directed the play with spot on passing and technical mastership. That AS made the break only two goals down was a miracle, but after tea, it all crumbled for Jeunesse and the physical power from the visitors took over for a fair draw.

Stade Djalenga 3–3 Jeunesse Djalenga
Djalenga Foot 1–0 Falako Sports

You will need to search far and wide (or maybe just in the boroughs where the Foot fans live) to find someone who doesn’t believe that Stade Djalenga will walk this group and qualify with the best berth, but Jeunesse nonetheless managed to throw a spanner in the previously unstoppable machine. Especially Bamogo and Dossama, the central defensive duo, left a meagre impression and couldn’t keep Rafiou Kouanda from scoring a marvellous brace of headers. That Jeunesse only stole one point rather than three was due to Fodé Siry getting on par with his attacking comrade and rival Diawara, but it’s still a loot to be proud of.

Less pride left about ten minutes from the last whistle for Djalenga Foot who already stood in a precarious position before the group phase had reached its halfway point. Left back Kpatoumbi had brought down Nii Dembélé just inside the box and the experienced Falako striker walked up to convert his penalty, condemning Foot to win its last two games for a last chance of qualifying. However, Dembélé hit the outside of the woodwork and ten Foot players found a hole in the Falako defense, with Daouda Sissoko crowning himself as the hero of the day.

Jeunesse Djalenga 3–3 Djalenga Foot
AS Songto 2–2 Stade Djalenga

A second bump in the road for Stade Djalenga and this time, they had no one to blame but themselves. AS Songto allowed Stade to open the score after only two minutes and many were expecting to see the red-and-blue to steamroll to a third victory. However, they left Songto and their not to shabby midfield trio Koné, Kouassi and Tamboura to reorganise and even turn a potential defeat into a lead. Fodé Siry once again slotted a crucial one with an unconventional chest goal, but that a team of their calibre hinges so much on the prolificity of their two strikers is a worrying knowledge for manager Sissako. Especially as the two seem to antagonize one another more and more with every fleeting day.

In the meanwhile, the Jeunesse and Foot contested a small city derby for the advantage to head into the last matchday and presented an admirable spectacle which had everything the spectators could hope for: a backheel assist pass from Kargbo which sliced the Foot defence, a successful bicycle kick by opposing forward Bundu, a small brawl which saw one player each being sent off and eventually a late equaliser by home favourite Moise Sankoh who barely realised he scored when he blindly charged into a loose crosspass. Spectacle!

Djalenga Foot 2–1 AS Songto
Falako Sports 2–0 Jeunesse Djalenga

Before kick-off, three of the four teams playing were still in the running for that coveted second spot to the quarterfinals but remarkably, it was the fourth one, Falako Sports, who looked the most ready for it. Starting without any pressure but to entertain their home audience, Ilias Saré scored from a scruffy throughpass and pushed Jeunesse in the corner. The side, living up to its name with seven players on the pitch aged twenty-two or less, panicked and tried a storming attack forwards. With little success as Falako doubled up and then shut it down professionally. They will need this sort of maturity next season as they surprisingly qualify themselves for the first edition of the Premier League with this result.

Not without a little help from Djalenga Foot, we must add, that overcame its difficult start to the group phase with a solid performance at home. Although the result would lean into a closer encounter, it all went the way of the Zebras (considering their black-and-white striped first kit) who dictated the pace and scored a duo of quality goals through Ousseni Dagano and Moise Bundu. “This was just the warm-up, it’s time for the big work,” the latter spoke confidently and if they keep up the current pace, Foot is not to be ruled out for the final.

West                  Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Stade Djalenga 4 2 2 0 11 5 +6 8
2 Djalenga Foot 4 2 1 1 6 8 −2 7
3 Falako Sports 4 1 1 2 4 5 −1 4
4 AS Songto 4 0 3 1 7 8 −1 3
5 Jeunesse Djalenga 4 0 3 1 8 10 −2 3

La Coupe - Group Stage
Group South

Union Kada 0–1 Dragons de Massagui
Yourougou FC 3–1 Massagui Centre

The gods of the fixtures, also known as the calendar makers, determined to pit the two favourites for the top position against one another from the first whistle onwards to raise the excitement, but Union Kada nor Dragons de Massagui showed up straight away. Dragons, part of a massive multisports club which forms a household name in the nations’ third city, nonetheless excelled in terms of organisation but matched it with uninspiring patterns. For Kada, managed by the notorous Seydouba Diané, things were worse as their good intentions were smothered in technical limitations.

Eventually, the Dragons walked away with the three points when a corner kick landed in front of Daré Gakpé and the industrious midfielder decided to slam his laces through it. Union walks off disillusioned but the other three sides in the group can draw confidence that there might be opportunities for them. Yourougou FC could be the one who reaps the results of that, playing solidly at home based around an experienced axis, a slow but clever playmaker Seydou Zongo and a wing attacker Wassiou Dumbuya who managed to net a brace before the competition was forty minutes old. Centre wasn’t up for the task of stopping their fluid combinations and might be the ugly duckling of the league.

Dragons de Massagui 2–0 Yourougou FC
Stade Sarou 2–3 Union Kada

However, if Yourougou could overturn the expected hierarchy, it will not be by picking up the spot from Dragons. The green-and-yellow left empty handed after their visit to the regional metropole as the home side showed once more that you don’t need spectacle but results at the tip of the footballing spear. The initial rush came from Yourougou but silent assassin Idrissa Akakpo pushed a wayward cross against the net, turning the tables in a split second. From that point onwards, Massagui strolled on with little resistance, making the ball unreachable for a courageous FC that chased until they got tired. And caught a second goal, auwtch.

Nonetheless, they might still endanger Union Kada who had a great deal of trouble during their visit to Sarou. For your average Mkabian, a trip to the historical and marvelous coastal town that got through the war relatively unscathed, and even seems to have found a bit of its lavish glory again in just a few months, gives one a sense of peace and a holiday feeling but not so for the Lumberjacks who got behind twice against the home team that plays against the image of its city, a bit lacklustre and a bit frivolous at the same time. In the end, the midfield pairing from Kada, Mamadou Atte-Oudeyi and Abdul Gouo, dragged their side across the line kicking and screaming but Diané still has a lot of work to do to bring Union on the rails.

Yourougou FC 1–0 Stade Sarou
Massagui Centre 0–2 Dragons de Massagui

However, Stade Sarou confirmed that they are not that easy to brush aside. Whilst they seemed like a happy-go-lucky eleven during their debut, which eventually cost them the three points, then they appeared far more composed during their inland visit to Yourougou. The home side even had to thank their 19-year old goalkeeper, the elastic Cyrille Fofana, that he got a glove behind dangerous attempts from Kanté and Mouassi. In the end, all's well that ends well, at least for the twelve thousand rowdy home fans. Djibrill Diarso dribbles three opponents, loses the ball and somehow recovers it to push it in with the outside of his right foot to win them the three points.

In the meanwhile, Dragons de Massagui pushes their ticket for the next round in a duel that never really was one. In theory, a city of nearly 160.000 residents such as Massagui, with its reputation to be arty, a little different and creative deserves a genuine city derby but on this occasion, Centre was no match for the Dragons. The troops from Jonathan Diallo are no lust for the eye but their solid 4-5-1 with a hard as nails square in the defensive compartment seems invincible and Akakpo physically is nothing like your archetypal targetman but brings home the bacon and the two shots on goal were held by Salim Sankaré with style.

Stade Sarou 4–1 Massagui Centre
Union Kada 5–1 Yourougou FC

Is it Sarou which shows its class or Centre which fails to show up? Let’s keep it on a bit of both as Massagui’s second team looked like the fifth string. Outclassed in each segment of the game, they were lucky that the damage was down to only four goals after sixty minutes, with a specific role for Yao Koroma who got a hattrick of assisting passes on his name. After that, Stade stepped off the gas and the fans could celebrate, disregarding any Centre goal - they knew there was no way Massagui would come back from this blow today.

“I have always said that this team is the best in the league. And maybe, maybe we’re even the best in the nation. If our machine gets running, no one can stop the Mighty Lumberjacks. Today we showed so and we’ll show it once more.” Big words from Union gaffer Seydouba Diané who did saw his boys move across their home pitch convincingly. In only twenty minutes, Gouo and Mamadou Tchalla had scored and when the Yourougou goalie torpedoed Djené Thiam outside the box, blocking his road to number three, the deal was done. Kada did not hesitate to drive up the score, punching their ticket for the semifinals as they won the duel for the direct opponent.

Massagui Centre 1–1 Union Kada
Dragons de Massagui 4–0 Stade Sarou

With the top three set in stone, there was little left to play for so there is little use going into detail for this one. Dragons annihilated Stade in their typical fashion, cushioning the good intentions from the opposition in the opening twenty minutes, scoring when Sarou can’t get a free kick out of the box and subsequently smothering them with clever counterattacks. Some commiserations to Stade that looked less poor than the result would suggest and much respect to Salim Sankaré. Once more, the Dragons goalie saved what he had to save and as such ends the opening round with four consecutive clean sheets.

Massagui Centre got a solitary point out of their final duel, a plaster on a wooden leg as they still limp away as the weakest side of the group - and possibly even the competition. Against a Kada where a few key players got some rest, they got a lucky early goal, hang on to it with their lives and were eventually happy to see that the visitors only managed to convert one of their twenty-two chances.

South                    Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Dragons de Massagui 4 4 0 0 9 0 +9 12
2 Union Kada 4 2 1 1 9 5 +4 7
3 Yourougou FC 4 2 0 2 5 8 −3 6
4 Stade Sarou 4 1 0 3 6 9 −3 3
5 Massagui Centre 4 0 1 3 3 10 −7 1

La Coupe - Group Stage
Group Centre

Olympique Garo 0–0 Red Star Kalagouba
Royal Garo 1–0 Garo Club

So… Well, we nearly dozed off during those opening ninety minutes in Group Centre. In theory, a confrontation between two clubs from the industrial capital of the nation should have provided for a thrilling spectacle but nothing alike appeared in Garo. Royal, as always clad in purple, representing their roots in the well-to-do aristocratic circles, got an early header in when Lonsana Rouamba got his head against a cross from Paul Condé and subsequently froze out the game. Efficient, but not exactly charming for the fans. It remains painful for Garo Club, with its origin in the ore mines in the northern part of town and a following of tens of thousands, that they failed to form some sort of danger towards the Royal goalie.

Then again, it was still better than the snoozefest presented across town where Olympique received Red Star Kalagouba. In theory, the home side should have had the advantage and their front three of Daouda Asanté, Salomon Cissé and Romeo Nibombe already gathered quite a name for themselves even without playing a single minute together. But it seems as if the stars of the Meteors had sent their understudies to the Stade Municipal as the best chance was for the visitors. Kuami Mawuena just came a too short to slide a wayward cross in, Olympique escaped with a point.

Red Star Kalagouba 3–1 Royal Garo
Les Onze N'Goba 1–1 Olympique Garo

The many who had hoped that the opening confrontation was just a rare offday for Olympique got an awkward reminder that in this league, money doesn't buy you good results. Les Onze, the sole team hailing from the northern provinces that managed to scrape together sufficient funds to partake, looked fresh and enthusiast. Maybe even a little naive at times as their 3-4-3 system reminds one of times when the footballing game was less result-driven or cynical. It got them in trouble every once and a while but any neutral fan applauded N’Goba earning a point - for Olympique, the quarterfinals seem to be slipping away.

Especially as Kalagouba made an interesting claim on such a spot. As Royal travelled to the suburb, Red Star looked confident and organised. Their 4-3-3 system is based on a hardworking and hard-as-nails pairing in the middle of the pitch which allows Koffi Baio to roam the field and deliver passes to guys with a better stamina. And, that worked out well as they got a victory that could have run much higher if Henri Coulibaly, the bulky targetman up front from Kalagouba managed to miss a cartload of opportunities.

Royal Garo 4–3 Les Onze N'Goba
Garo Club 2–2 Red Star Kalagouba

The purple train recovered well from the smack on the head delivered by Red Star and delivered a spectacular game on their home ground. We must add that it takes two to tango and Les Onze were very enthusiastic to join the dance. Striker Moumouni Fall (short, stocky, the jury is still not out on whether he is a lost fan or the star player) scored twice for N’Goba and send them to the dressing room in the lead. But Royal came out strongest and played the kind of game we would love to see them deliver in the Premier League next year. Paul Condé rewarded himself for a strong ninety minutes by scoring the winner with a nice flick - Royal wins, but so do the fans.

Already in the lead, one man more on the pitch and with only twenty minutes left to play for, you manage to score a second one through your first decent combination of the night. Most teams would have kept home the three points but Garo Club somehow managed to shoot themselves in the foot. It started when defender Diallo spoiled the leather, leading to Red Star breaking down the deficit and a few minutes later, Bambara ran into a second yellow. The last laugh was for Toussaint Gakpé, the promising Kalagouba youngster who equalised in money time and brought his side one step closer to the quarters.

Les Onze N'Goba 5–2 Garo Club
Olympique Garo 3–0 Royal Garo

All still to play for in this group and usually, this would lead to closed up games but nothing of this kind when N’Goba is involved. It is true, they are not much to look at defensively - although 21-year old centre back Sotigui Bissouma definitely has the potential to become more - and goalie Conombo is prone to the occasional error. But pushed on by their home audience and the energetically coaching Moise Diallo, they play contagiously and never miss a chance to push forward. Moumouni Fall added another two lines to his tally but the star of the evening was Cyrille Balima, a terror who ran up and down that left wing until he had worn out two direct opponents in a row.

Less spice on the pitch, but a lot of electricity in the stands, during the city derby between Olympique and Royal. Both sides would consider anything less than the quarterfinals as a disappointment and although the result might tell you otherwise, it was a close game which could have tilted both ways. However, major chances were scarcer than nasty tackles and annoying obstructions of the flow of play so when Romeo Nibombe trembled the nets for the Meteors, Royal knew they had to take risks. The side in purple tried to move forth in numbers but overplayed their hand and saw Salomon Cissé and once more Nibombe punish them for such hubris.

Garo Club 2–7 Olympique Garo
Red Star Kalagouba 5–3 Les Onze N'Goba

Despite their loss at a crucial moment, Royal was not yet out of the equation for the next round, but they needed Garo Club to overcome their poor form and perform at home against Olympique for that. After about half an hour, that didn’t even seem that far-fetched as they surprisingly lead the debate, with a little thanks to a questionable penalty. But then Daouda Asanté broke loose and left nothing alive in the Club defense. So far, it had been a disappointing run of affairs for the 28-year old left winger but when the dust had settled he had scored four goals and found the time to assist another one. Olympique leaves a humiliated opponent with the golden ticket.

Red Star Kalagouba only needed a draw to drag theirs over the line but apparently, N’Goba was not informed of that plan and tried their luck without bothering about the ramifications - the optimistic approach which had been so successful against Garo Club. However, the Bees form a far more capable opposition than Club so the spectators saw the game swing back and forth a few sides. In the end, Kalagouba showed that crucial bit more game intelligence, personified by the way Koffi Baio caught everyone off guard when quickly lifting a free kick to Coulibaly for the 4-3. N’Goba tried one last desperate attempt and got punished harshly - it will be a shame we won’t be able to admire them in the Premier League next year.

Centre                    Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Olympique Garo 4 2 2 0 11 3 +8 8
2 Red Star Kalagouba 4 2 2 0 10 6 +4 8
3 Royal Garo 4 2 0 2 6 9 −3 6
4 Les Onze N'Goba 4 1 1 2 12 12 0 4
5 Garo Club 4 0 1 3 6 15 −9 1

La Coupe - Group Stage
Group East

Kouarou Golden Boys 4–3 Etoile Bokandé
Dembana Star 3–1 Racing Lanyare

According to all observers, the east should be able to provide us the least predictable group of them all and from the first minute onwards, these four clubs delivered. Dembana saw their small, rickety Stade de la Revolution filled to the brim for a duel against the neighbours of Lanyare. The result was ninety minutes of rough football, a red carton on both sides and eventually, the class of the two pivotal Star players surfacing. Ibrahima Séré, the powerful forward of the home team forced his way through a forest of opponents for the important 2-1 and at the opposite side of the pitch, goalie Bobo Yarou kept a cool head on two one-on-one situations to keep that lead on the scoreboard.

Less sophisticated goalie performances but a lot of entertainment in Kouarou where the Golden Boys welcome Bokandé. It became a wild cat-and-mouse chase, with the underdogs surprisingly taking the lead three times and the home crew managing to get back in it time and time again after pressing Etoile against their own goal. The stellar performances of Compaoré and the Zongo brothers aside, this game will unfortunately be remembered over the fan violence - when the X-Side broke through into the visitor block, nine spectators needed to be carried off to the hospital.

Etoile Bokandé 3–2 Dembana Star
Bogourma Lions 0–0 Kouarou Golden Boys

The back already against the wall after the opening loss, Etoile convinced in their home game against Dembana. For the fans of tactical ploys, this game had it all. One goal down at half-time, Star manager Koroma surprised by taking off his striker Kouassi and adding lightweight midfielder Yahia Conteh. The youngster threw a spanner in the midfield play of Bokandé and led his team past the opposition. But Bourama Dianda responded for Boka, sacrificing even more of the midfield for Cedric Feindouno. The 2m03 attacker might be the worst pair of feet in his selection but did nod in the cross for the equaliser and kept enough defenders occupied for Aduama to score the winning goal.

So you see, tactics can be fun. Huh, Kouarou. Tactics can be fun if your tactic does not consist of camping out in front of your own goal to salvage that one important away point - or at least, that’s what they say. The Golden Boys looked more than satisfied to set a siege and the Lions lacked the class to properly respond. Ninety minutes with a raw total of two shots on goal, it says enough.

Dembana Star 2–2 Bogourma Lions
Racing Lanyare 4–3 Etoile Bokandé

Especially as others demonstrated that it is possible to provide for intriguing and entertaining confrontations. Racing Lanyare got the always offensively-minded Bokandé over and Dianda had another trick up his sleeve, playing with inverted winger which managed to raid the Lanyare back four into oblivion and their own side to a 1-3 lead. But in this group, no one seems capable of hanging on to a lead and Racing regained possession and the psychological upper ground. Some kudos towards their midfielder Aliou Chikoto who headed the winner in a mediocre cross.

Yes, it was a draw. Yeah, it was a game with a series of intricate attacks and as both teams deserved to walk home with something, 2-2 was a fair result. The Lions looked a bit more organised but didn’t appear as often in the final third, Dembana gathered more attacks but seemed slightly lost at some point. But this will forever be the game of the ‘bicicleta’ as Ibrahima Séré scored from the edge of the box with a powerful overhead kick and celebrated with the frantic home crowd by riding in front of the grandstand on the bicycle of one of the pitch responsibles. Unseen, unbelievable, very much Séré.

Bogourma Lions 3–1 Racing Lanyare
Kouarou Golden Boys 3–3 Dembana Star

Dembana Star might have been one of the most entertaining sides but Koroma knew that his team needed a victory to stay in the race and chose to play not one, not two, but all his three straight-up strikers from the first whistle onwards. A bold choice and when that caught Kouarou a bit off guard, as can be judged from the 1-2 score at tea time. The Golden Boys were left with a dilemma to either stockpile guys in defense to keep the mean machine in check or make the most of the obvious glaring holes in the defensive structure of their opponent. Eventually, they managed to balance these obligations, ensuring an extremely tight table with one game to go…

Especially as Bogourma managed to keep the three points at home against Racing. Lanyare might have shown some good things along the road, but today they missed that little bit extra which the Lions could bring on the pitch. Key figure for the Lions, who would have been out of the equation in case of a loss, was Lassina Ayité. He might not be old enough to drive yet but he managed to dictate the pace in the middle of the pitch and his long-distance zinger made everyone leave with a smile.

Racing Lanyare 0–3 Kouarou Golden Boys
Etoile Bokandé 4–3 Bogourma Lions

The tension was high for this one because unfavourable results could see everyone still miss out on the Premier League next year, whilst a victory would not only punch their ticket and see them through to the quarterfinals. The Golden Boys were obliged to live up to their unbeaten status and took it on with a lot of vigour. Leading the way were Mustapha and Mamadou Zongo, the brothers who direct the spiel in midfield with skillsets that make a good match. The taller Mustapha adds dangerous infiltrations, whilst Shifty Zongo can control any ball and possesses a marvelous free kick. In the end, it was his goal who set the hard but fair 0-3 on the board.

Far closer was the confrontation between Etoile Bokandé and Bogourma Lions. As a Kouarou victory became clear early on, Etoile knew that they needed a victory for spot number two - otherwise their story was over. For the Lions that exactly was the result which denied them the quarterfinals and even sends them out of the first tier. The result was a… masculin confrontation with a referee who only whistled for tackles above the knee. When Ayité got an uncharacteristically ugly equaliser with only extra time left on the clock, the Lions were on route for a Cinderella story. In an all-or-nothing attempt, goalie Moussa Paye darted forward on a corner for Etoile and was dragged down by a panicky defender. Up steps Issa Aduama who scored his second late winner in the group phase and send Etoile Bokandé into oblivion.

East                     Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Kouarou Golden Boys 4 2 2 0 10 6 +4 8
2 Etoile Bokandé 4 2 0 2 13 13 0 6
3 Dembana Star 4 1 2 1 10 9 +1 5
4 Bogourma Lions 4 1 2 1 8 7 +1 5
5 Racing Lanyare 4 1 0 3 6 12 −6 3
Last edited by Mkabia on Thu Nov 28, 2019 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:40 am

La Coupe - Quarterfinals
First Leg

Quarterfinals - First Leg
Djalenga Foot 1–0 Kouarou Golden Boys
Union Kada 0–3 Stade Djalenga
Etoile Bokandé 3–2 Olympique Garo
Dragons de Massagui 0–0 Red Star Kalagouba

The wheat has been separated from the chaff and when one squeezes their eyes, he can already see the glimmering of the trophy waiting in the distance. But first, one must surpass the always tricky hurdle of the quarterfinals - the perfect stage to progress towards before becoming eternally forgotten. Only those who make it past this stage ensure their place in longevity and as such, the tension is on.

This was quite visible in the confrontation between Djalenga Foot and Kouarou Golden Boys where neither side looked composed enough to break the deadlock. The home side had chosen for a more cynical approach than usual, pushing back Saré to make a double marking on Mamadou Zongo, the Golden Boys playmaker. As a result, the fans had little to warm themselves on except for a scorching 38 degrees which ensured lacklustre football. With everyone in the stadium counting down the minutes, Foot slowly realised that a goalless draw played more into the hands of the visitors than theirs. And that got avoided by Daouda Sissako, the tall right winger who darted past his direct opponent in a moment of unexpected virtuosity before whipping it to the second post where Moise Bundu headed it past a hesitant Balima. Only the seventh goal in five games by Foot so far, but it could be a crucial one in the long run.

Whilst Foot came across as a table filler, city rivals Stade Djalenga underlined their role as title favorite with a solid ninety minutes. Union Kada’s manager Diané tried to keep the feared Diawara at bay by sticking Yaya Ayité on the goalgetter but the sole effect was that there became a huge goal in his back four. And that is exactly the kind of room one should not leave for a Fodé Siry, the human tower who ravaged the box. Before twenty minutes had passed, Siry headed the leather against the net twice, wrongfooting an inept Baldé on crosses from Bambara and Fall. It says a lot about the way Stade Djalenga pinned their opposition against their goal - in an away game, nonetheless - that the two wing backs got on the sheet with an assist. With a painful result looking on the horizon, Kada turned it into a back five but it didn’t halt Mlapa from running up the score. “Mistakes were made,” Diané spoke, but he should have added that he made them himself as well.

Etoile Bokandé turned into one of the surprise packages of the group phase with thirteen goals on the counter and decided to steam forth in their cosy Stade du Ville. Twelve thousand supporters saw how Issa Aduama confirmed why most observers reserve a spot for him in the national team when the left-footed forward managed to craft a way past young talented whippersnapper Toussaint Womé not once, not twice but thrice before curling it in the top corner, out of reach for a flabbergasted Doumbouya. We could talk about that goal till tomorrow but Garo knocked Etoile of their cloud with two goals in quick succession - Asanté and Nibombé make a dangerous duo of wing attackers. That Olympique Garo, who looked like a side ready to become a title contender - a bit cynical, hard as nails, quick in the box, always on the lookout for mistakes of the opposition - did not turn this into a very lucrative position for a two-legged game was solely due to Harouna Agboh who made an inexplicable handsball in the box. A red card and a scored penalty later, Bokandé smelled blood. When Feindouno netted with twenty minutes left, they could turn this into a major score but a few good saves from the often disliked Doumbouya kept it on 3-2 for Etoile.

The last one saw the Dragons de Massagui act at home against Red Star Kalagouba. In theory, this was a lopsided fixture with the home eleven looking far superior than their visitors. But Red Star had chosen for realism with Kéré and Yattara, two loyal members of the troops for the Bees, cushioning the waves of attacks in front of a four-man defence. One could say that Dragons looked a bit scared to take risks, Diallo holding on to a sole Akakpo spearheading up front till the clock ran out. There were chances, at least four that could have become a goal on a different day, but young Akakpo looked a little less sharp than usual and the woodwork did its bit to save goalie Adanhouma. Diallo reacted coldly when the reporters wondered why his side had not turned this into a victory. “Look, we can play Kalagouba like that for days on end and I will tell you one thing - they will never score. They cannot say the same. It might be my knowledge of football, but as far as I can tell, you need to make the nets tremble to advance at this stage and not just hide on your own half.” Fair enough.

La Coupe - Quarterfinals
Second Leg

Quarterfinals - Second Leg
Kouarou Golden Boys 2–2 Djalenga Foot
Stade Djalenga 2–0 Union Kada
Olympique Garo 2–1 Etoile Bokandé
Red Star Kalagouba 0–2 Dragons de Massagui

Djalenga Foot started their away leg with a minor advantage but only two minutes in, they converted it into a major one. The home side, looking a bit shaky in what seemed to be a zonal marking experiment allowed that 19-year old Kpatoumbi sliced them open with a single pass. With time to spare, Ousseni Dagano did not fail in the one-on-one and the finish of the 20-year old was only matched by the rather explicit dance with which he celebrated the success. The Golden Boys with their backs against the wall and the obligation to score three times to avoid the elimination but one wouldn’t tell before the break that this side needed to get on the board sooner rather than later. It wasn’t but after tea time that Mamadou Zongo got the engine running and subsequently, the strengths of this Kouarou came out - lots of movement in the opposing half, overlapping wing backs who can cross the pitch and a, for Mkabian norms, reliable defensive duo. Tapsoba and Doudou rattled the net and Djalenga Foot looked at tipping point but, to their credit, did not crack under the pressure. Zanzan Yattara, the 20-year old goalie, did his bit with a spectacular save on a Zongo free kick and in the extra time, Moise Bundu underlined his team performance. End of the road for Kouarou, which marks the competition losing an interesting side.

In the meanwhile, the River Stadium saw its tens of thousands of seats filled for a quarterfinal where everything seemed to be decided already. Union Kada had to hope for a wonder but thrashed their own, nimble chances when Aboubakar Koffi forgot his teammates employed an offside trap, allowing Diawara and Siry to wander into the box on their own. The two are known to have a rocky relationship but the double pass which saw poor Yaya Baldé see all corners of his own goal seems to show that they’ve overcome that. Exactly that might become the key to unlock to road to the title and gives Stade Djalenga some confidence. Their midfield unit is, bar Zakaria Mlapa and his infiltrations, mediocre at best but they form a tight group. With the two stars of the side, the tall powering Siry and the quick and prolific Diawara, now back on speaking terms, they should go deep. The Mighty Lumberjacks, in the meanwhile, walk out with the knowledge that they were weighted and consider insufficient. All in all, Tchalla and Bancé are not what it takes to have an attack that endangers every defensive line.

Speaking of endangering defensive lines, Olympique Garo and their fabled star trio upfront rose up to the occasion when presented on their own pitch. Captain Denké Sesay even called it “our best game so far” and we’re not going to argue that one. Although one must add that Etoile is a grateful opponent, a side that puts playing its own football ahead of trying to stop the opposition, we saw ninety minutes of quality attacks and sharp defending from Olympique. Whilst each of the Meteors pushed their own boundaries, the star role was left for Salomon Cissé. Contrary to his brethren in the attack, Cissé is not in the mix for the national team due to the wealth at his position (or the lack of depth on the wings, pending on your point of view) which saw him disappear from the limelight. But he took it back by tying the two central defenders of Bokandé to their spot and distributing the ball time and time again. It resulted in a powerful score from Nibombé and a nifty chip from Cissé himself who was quickest when Payé dropped a Dianda rocket. In the extra time, Doumbia surprised with a goal and suddenly, Olympique had to watch out but the last whistle released them. Etoile can walk off with their heads held high, they went out against a strong opposition on away goals.

Red Star chose to leave their defensive positions at home and well, maybe they just shouldn’t have had to. Because from the very first attack Dragons could string together, the visitors scored. Idrissa Akakpo, the talented forward, got a toe on a clever Nii Ghanou through pass, just enough to catch out the opposing goalie on the wrong foot. Suddenly, Red Star got trapped between the rock and the hard place they had been trying to avoid in the first leg. Afraid to run into the knife of Dragons, they crawled backwards - afraid and a tad disoriented. It got them to the halftime point but, well, still in need for a goal to score. And the harsh reality remained that Salim Sankaré, the Dragons goalie, has not been beaten in the first 495 minutes of the competition. Patiently, Red Star did come out of their shell only to be greeted by a confident Massagui. Koffi Baio struggled to find any teammate due to excellent manmarking from Oumar Bamogo and young attackers Gakpé and Coulibaly were nicely tucked away in some back pocket. In the end, defensive midfielder Wassiou Kéré came closest when his lucky shot splintered the cross bar but the little confidence this gave Red Star got squashed out quickly - Akakpo with his second goal and Dragons to the next round.

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:00 am

La Coupe - Semifinals
First Leg

Semifinals - First Leg
Dragons de Massagui 2–0 Stade Djalenga
Olympique Garo 1–1 Djalenga Foot

Sometimes, the draw of a cup round is a dreary event, sometimes it’s nearly as exciting as the actual games. In this rare case, both actually applied. The still unbeaten formation of Dragons de Massagui came into the semifinals as a clear favorite and came out of the urn as the first pick. Yes, we say urn, if only to mimic the lack of atmosphere surrounding the live broadcast of three suited men in a backroom of the FA headquarters, executing the draw with the eloquence of mimes and the gallantry of a cardboard plate. However, the Dragons were pitted against Stade Djalenga, the runner-up of the bookmakers whose disposal of Union Kada left quite a mark. Ironically, this left an easier trail for their city rival Djalenga Foot, the underdog who found a last hurdle in Olympique Garo, a dangerous title outsider.

Nonetheless, it seemed as if Dragons de Massagui was left unphased and Diallo chose to continue on their chosen trail: move fast and hit ’m where it hurts. And although Stade forms a more than decent side, they have their flaws, especially in midfield. Tonight, this got emphasized by veteran defensive midfielder Idrissa Lingani, a 37-year old who compensates his speed with a perfect reading of the play - but even though he saw the danger of the Dragons wingers cutting inside, it didn’t mean he could stop it. The orange-and-black Gakpé and Bandé raided the core of Stade, leading into a quick goal for Nii Ghanou. Djalenga tried to draw the score level, but rather had to focus on avoiding the second leg to become a dud when Akakpo doubled up - number seven for him in the competition already.

It spelled the way forth for Dragons who managed to keep Stade Djalenga from getting back into it. Central defender Adekampi Dossam said it eloquently when he posed that it felt like “stopping a doubledecker bus with your both hands - there are ways to stop it but when you’re squeezed against the wall, you’re just not given the time to think of a proper idea”. That we haven’t written the Dragons down for the first national title is solely due to the way they knocked in their own windows with twenty minutes to spare. Right-back Aristide Koita pushed Bambara to the ground with both hands and suddenly the suffocating claws became hesitant paws. Stade Djalenga was too relieved to make profit and they might regret that.

Eleven nervous Zebras lined up in Garo, well aware that a decent ninety minutes brought them close to a final. Luck was on their side that Olympique failed to make use of their miscommunications in the back, Assanté skied his opportunity and José Diallo found the goalie on his road. The biggest opportunity of them all was for Salomon Cissé, who inexplicably failed to push a wayward cross in an empty goal - the ups and downs in his form are starting to lay the base of a toxic relationship with the fans. At times, he’s a powerful attack leader but tonight, he failed to control the easiest balls and that seemed to cost Garo: with half-time just around the corner, Djalenga Foot capitalized on their sole attack of the first half with Daouda Sissako finding Ousseni Dagano unmarked.

The second half, surprisingly, was not much for the neutral fan to look at. The away goal seemed to be all Foot had been looking for, as evidenced by the replacement of goalscorer Dagano by an additional central defender. The rowdy home crowd seemed to paralyze, rather than inspire, Garo and the few times they reached the goal of Zanzan Yattara, the delivery was too weak to surprise the young goalkeeper. “We have not played like a team that was convinced of what it can do,” captain Sesay concluded and he was spot on. Nonetheless, a difficult second leg got avoided and that over a touch of genius from promising right-back Toussaint Womé. For inexplicable reasons, he rabona’ed the leather to the second post where Daouda Assanté just had to tap it in.

La Coupe - Semifinals
Second Leg

Semifinals - Second Leg
Stade Djalenga 1–0 Dragons de Massagui
Djalenga Foot 3–3 Olympique Garo

River Stadium was boiling tonight and we doubt whether we have ever seen ninety minutes of football of such a high quality in the history of Mkabia. Stade Djalenga balanced between two thoughts, one that urged them to finally get the leather past Salim Sankaré and one that warned them that a single goal from Dragons would require four goals to progress - a mission impossible if there ever was one. In general, this leads to cramped football but Stade managed to put the right focus points. A large rest defence that kept track of Akakpo and the wingers and an industrious midfielder allowed them to put some pressure on the opposition, with Zakaria Mlapa’s movement as the focal point. Massagui replied with a calmth worthy of a title favourite, letting the waves of Djalenga come to them but absorbing the pressure without drowning.

The opening half remained goalless yet intriguing for anyone who admires the great game, a tactical masterclass, two giants who collided over the city. But it only got better when Fodé Siry showed his athleticism on a corner kick. The Djalenga striker towered over his direct opposition before powerfully heading it in the bottom corner, out of reach for Sankaré who took in only his first goal in the whole campaign. Now, the knife was on the throat of Dragons but the increasingly offensive intentions from Djalenga tore holes in their back line. Idrissa Akakpo got two opportunities to profit but his first whobbled to the wrong side of the post while a clever chip with his name on it was diverted at the last minute by Serge Bamogo. With four minutes left on the clock, a strange collision between Diawara and Kamilou Saré saw the ref put the ball on the penalty spot but Mamadouba Diawara, the prolific Stade striker darted it on the outside of the post, ending the road over here. While he was unconsolable, compliments from Massagui midfielder Ghanou were heartfelt, “If we can survive this one, we can survive it all.”

It’s not fair to expect Foot and Garo to present an even better run for our money but they did a darn good job to assure ninety entertaining minutes. Djalenga Foot started as the theoretical underdog but saw the opening phase of their dreams when Moise Bundu somehow slipped through the Olympique back four and punted it between the outstretched arms of Doumbouya. Two minutes later, Alain Boni pulled down Foot’s Saré, and protested enough to see his yellow card turn red. Outrage amongst the small away following and a ten-minute pause as some had thrown flares on the pitch. With half-time approaching Ousseni Dagano seemed to pull the trigger when he scored on a spectacular volley - was the small brother of the two Djalenga sides progressing beyond their city rival?

“When you are one man down but you still believe it is possible, you start to play like eleven guys. But when you’re in the lead and get complacent, you run only for ten,” Fallai Souna, the Olympique gaffer explained after the last whistle. Whilst spirit definitely played its part, we must underline the way his star players managed to show up, at last. All three come of a patchy run of games, Salomon Cissé being the key example. But it was the tall striker who suddenly kicked life and believe back in it with a steal and a shot. A hundred seconds later, the nets rattled again and Foot got into a panic, seeing the ticket slip through their hands. Putting a third striker between the lines immediately backfired as José Dianda used that space in midfield to present Nibombé a goal in wrapping paper - from 2-0 to 2-3 in thirteen minutes for the Meteors! It was not the end of the drama but a spectacular Anthony Sesay goal didn’t suffice: heartbreak for the home fans, triumph for Olympique!

La Coupe - Final

Dragons de Massagui 0–0 Olympique Garo (2–0 AET)

Dragons de Massagui XI: Sankaré - Saré, Moutari, Kambou, Koita - Bamogo, D. Boni - Bandé, Ghanou, Gakpé - Akakpo (Manager: Jonathan Diallo)
Olympique Garo XI: Doumbouya - Sesay, Diamouténé, Agboh, Womé - Kadengé, Diop, Dianda - Assanté, Cissé, Nibombe (Manager: Fallai Souna)

The River Stadium served as neutral ground and unfortunately, this seemed to be the wrong choice by the FA. With both Djalenga teams eliminated in the semi-finals, the local fans passed on this occasion and only a few thousand fans of each of the participating sides had found the wealth in their pockets to make the long transfer and pay the hefty ticket price. It seemed as if the lacklustre atmosphere set to the field as well where we saw two visibly nervous teams, maybe Massagui even more than the Meteors. Months of considering them the main favourite had set in, but now the cup was for the taking, the mental burden of that role started to play. With the knowledge that only a victory would be sufficient, Massagui looked less solid than usual and both Romeo Nibombe and Salomon Cissé got a decent chance to snipe Olympique in front - luckily for Dragons, Salim Sankaré remained unaffected by his team.

Dragons de Massagui recovered slowly but surely and shook the steel out of their legs. We saw some amazing duels between Idrissa Akakpo, fast, lanky and deadly, and the only 18-year old Paul Diamouténé who showcased why he has the potential to break into the national team in one or two years time. However, the youngster also confirmed why he isn’t yet, as Akakpo broke away twice from his guard, with the best opportunity ending up against the inside of the left post. With seventy minutes done and dusted, the clock started to play its part in the game. Either side was aware that a goal from the opposition would see them falter and fear overtook courage, leading us into extra-time.

In theory, we could have seen ninety minutes of the same, two sides strong enough to hold off one another and too afraid to dominate the opposition. That was, until Daré Gakpé found the smallest of loopholes. Reaching the backline for the umpteenth time in the final, everyone was expecting another cross when the right-footed midfielder found half an inch of space between Salif Doumbouya and the nearest post: an amazing goal with the most brilliant of timings. The second half of the extra-time spelled itself out, Olympique took increasing risks to bridge across, a good effort from Assanté was stopped by Sankaré and with time running out, Idrissa Akakpo twisted the knife in the wound.

Dragons de Massagui is crowned as the first national champion and form a deserving representative on the international scene. They’re a side that combines fire power with an iron organisation, discipline, a lack of prima donna’s and, by far, the nation's strongest goalkeeper. Taking in a single goal in 840 minutes of football whilst scoring fifteen themselves, they truly are the best of them all. Olympique Garo can look back at an honourable campaign and leave as a worthy opponent, but it’s Dragons captain Oumar Bamogo who lifts the Cup!

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:00 am

Mkabia Basketball League 2020

For the inaugural edition, a series of ground rules, logics and definitions needed to be established. To require the casual reader to study the whole rulebook as delivered by commissioner Hassane Nakoulma would form too much of a nuisance, however, allow us to walk you through some of the key regulations.

>>> Twelve teams will partake in the league. These twelve are required to provide a full wage to each of their players for six months and can as such be considered as professional. They are required to provide a location for their home games which remains the same throughout the competition and can house at least 2000 paying visitors.
>>> The teams are split evenly between a Coastal and an Interior Conference. Throughout the regular season, which will run across eleven weeks, they will encounter each opponent from their conference twice, once at home and once on the road, and the opponents from the other conference once, of which three at home, resulting in sixteen games. These games can take place from Wednesday till Sunday, with most games on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and a guaranteed 48 hour rest.
>>> After the regular season, the top four of each conference will compete in a Conference semi-final of which the winners continue to the Conference final. Both rounds are contested in a best-of-three format, running across a single week each. The victors continue to the National final, contested in a best-of-five format which may run across two weeks.
>>> The players are signed by their teams for a predetermined amount of seasons which cannot exceed the number of four. For the inaugural season, the teams are obliged to sign at least two players for four years, four players for three years or more and eight players for two years or more. At the end of each season, the agreement can be extended to a maximum of three seasons in mutual agreement. If a team wishes to part ways with a player, he can be freed but holding on to one year worth of wages. If a player wishes to part ways unilaterally with a team, he will not be able to join the league for the next season. If a player wishes to trade teams, the opposing team must compensate through financial reimbursement of wage weight, other players and/or trade picks.
>>> If the contract runs out, the player is considered a free agent and is allowed to join any team which wants to hire his services. The wages of all players must not exceed a cap as determined by the commissioner and may not be lower than 35% of that cap. If a certain team is not capable of paying sufficient wages, their position in the league can be discussed.
>>> At the start of each year, a list is compiled of players not active in the league during the previous year who show interest in joining. By lottery, the non-play-off teams will have a first chance of procuring the services of a player, subsequently the semifinalists, conference finalists and national finalists. The player will receive a predetermined wage in his first season, but the length of his contract and wage in subsequent seasons can be variable.
>>> If a new team can fulfill the requirements, an even expansion of the league is possible.

Preview MBL 2020
Coastal Conference

Aziza Songto

A small stadium in a seemingly impoverished harbour town and yet, there could be magic in the air when Aziza takes the stage. Not in the least because Songto, despite being terribly hit during the last few years, always has been a hotbed of the sport and is known for the many urban fields which nearly exceed the makeshift football grounds. The core of this squad knowns one another quite well and has played plenty of pick-up games together, an important advantage in a competition where many sides are scrambled together.

Crucial within this line-up is the role of Aziz Kanu, whose particular running style hides a skilled athlete and a prolific bomber. Kanu is one of those ballers who cannot be trusted anywhere near the three-point line and his scoring rates outside the paint are impressive, to say the least. However, the question stands if he can produce the same number and hold on in energy within the expected high level of the League. Around him, he has a group of players such as Kouamé who know his skill and play to his strength. If Songto wants to compete for Conference Finals, they will need Wilfried Kompaoré to take the next step. Despite his imposing figure, he needs to stand his ground a bit better to really start reeling in those assists, but the raw talent is there.

Starting Five

#17 PG Sambegou Ouedraogo 28y
#02 SG Aziz Kanu 30y
#29 SF Ibrahima Kouamé 32y
#19 PF Apollinaire Akakpo 24y
#75 C Wilfried Kompaoré 20y

Djalenga Aiglons

In every aspect, the Eagles are the junior team of the town - a smaller stadium, a fanbase which is derived purely from the coastal suburbs rather than from the whole region, an owner with less deep pockets and a lack of automatisms from the past. However, their position allowed them to offer opportunities to some of the numerous young talents of the capital who couldn’t slot a spot with the Titans or were refused by the powerhouse for various reasons. The team as a whole will have to put up a fight to make the play-offs, but has enough to do so.

The eccentric Papa Koroma makes a prime example of that theory. When his signing became announced, the 19-year old guard with the quick feet and scoring prowess in and out the paint let himself be carried around the streets of Kazma, the part of town where the Aiglons Arena houses. Unaware of the concept of modesty, Koroma sometimes fails to put his money where his mouth is, but that he can break open a game carries no doubt. Quite some pressure might be on him to do so, as centre Nibombe - second tallest guy in the league - is feared but not the man to dictate the pace and both Adjamossi and Bamogo make decent team players, but require someone to raise the bar.

Starting Five

#82 PG Paul Adjamossi 24y
#61 SG Papa Koroma 19y
#03 SF Soumbeila Bamogo 23y
#44 PF Dramane Tamboura 20y
#99 C Mustapha Nibombe 28y

Djalenga Titans

By the vast majority of the pundits, the Coastal Conference is considered to be the stronger part of the table and the Titans are one of the crucial reasons why. The squad from the capital earned themselves a solid reputation and are rumoured to have used every single penny within the cap to gather a side which is as versatile as it is reliable, centered around the combination of upcoming talent and proven experience.

The name of Hervé Coulibaly alone suffices to fill their eight thousand seats as his reputation exceeds the city of Djalenga far and by - an urban legend goes around where he survived a possible execution in the war when the opposing soldiers saw who he was, inviting him for a three-a-side game instead. Hidden in the body of a centre, his excellent shot and tactical prowess allow him to roam the court and bring in the figures. Besides, there is little need for him to play under the bucket if your side has the biggest talent guarding the low post. Daouda Conté combines a seeming clumsiness with an unbeatable power and will only up his stats in years to come. Throw in a clever forward such as Kanfory Mawuena and a deep roster and you must be looking to the title favourites.

Starting Five

#24 PG Daré Kouma 28y
#19 SG Sekou Asante 19y
#04 SF Kanfory Mawuena 24y
#33 PF Herve Coulibaly 32y
#75 C Daouda Condé 21y

Jeunesse Massagui

Massagui, the third city that proudly claims its role as the place for culture and creativity, contrasting with the bustling portal capital Djalenga and the industrial Garo. If you are the second team of such a city, trying to come by with a squad littered with youngsters and hidden pearls, you know that you will get the support of many a neutral fan. But the harsh and honest truth is that they scraped together their twelve players and that they have plenty of unfinished products who are required to make a lot of minutes. One of the weaker sides of the League, but they could grab those few surprise wins that turn the table upside down.

If they do so, they could be relying on two local boys, Suma and Womé for whom a great future is predicted. There isn’t a shortage of talented centres in the Conference, let alone the League, but the remarkable flair with whom Ousmane Suma moves under the basket does deserve a small moment of praise. If he can gain some extra power, he could make a dangerous tandem with Ibrahima Womé, who can create a shot opportunity out of thin air and rarely hesitates to take it - even if he should sometimes. Jeunesse lacks the depth in rotation to truly challenge and many question if even a season of sixteen games isn’t too much for these starters, but if all remain healthy, they could even prolong that.

Starting Five

#01 PG Tidjani Sory 25y
#22 SG Ibrahima Womé 19y
#25 SF Moussa Koita 21y
#38 PF Kaba Tchomogo 26y
#13 C Ousmane Suma 20y

Kada Rebels

Even before they’ve set their first step on the court, the core of this team has already been named the Fab Four. Technically, Kada isn’t the wealthiest city but they’ve got a strong identity and a duo of businessmen - those behind the Fish & Friends brand, fyi - who are willing to burn some cash to give the otherwise less lively town something to root for. And they did deliver, not fearing to bring in guys from across the country to deliver the most but it immediately stretched their financial means - for a Conference Final they’ll need to oust one of the big city teams, but that’s what it will take for a satisfactory season.

Local boy Massadou Yago is not the best centre, by far, but possibly the cleverest and can rely on one of the most promising guard combinations out there. Abdou Sangaré is a short playmaker with a short temper and a unique capacity to set the pace when required. If he can find the right connection with the experienced Mamoutou Dumbuya, a type player who never skips a game and will always net double figures, this might spell danger for the opposition. The fourth key piece of the puzzle is Bourama Maiga - polyvalent but ousted from Djalenga over finances and eager to prove them wrong. The depth of the Rebels is a danger for the play-offs but this squad could wreak havoc in the regular season.

Starting Five

#27 PG Abdou Sangare 25y
#70 SG Mamoutou Dumbuya 30y
#14 SF Bourama Maiga 23y
#09 PF Ali Bandé 19y
#21 C Massadou Yago 27y

Massagui Dragons

The Dragons enter the arena with only one thing on their mind - they are not here to make any friends but to hit the glove in the face of the Titans. Even if they are paired in the toughest conference, they make no secret of their ambitions to go all the way, and with good reason. Without overestimating them, they might have the best depth of them all and can rely on a very fanatic home support paired with a vigorous coaching staff and one of the best home arenas. On top of that, Massagui seems to have the financial means to improve in the long run, although that needs to be proved.

At the moment, the line-up centers around François Diabaté, a shooting guard who can make a case as a swingman. Currently in his prime, he is the glue that holds this team together. Some see him as arrogant, but he is very appreciated by everyone in the club and that is not only due to his statistics - hitting the double points on every occasion. Don’t underestimate Titi Mlapa either, a fan favourite clown who comes across as one to entertain the stands but who racks up decent stats as well. Tchomogo has the potential to become a key player in the long run.

Starting Five

#00 PG Titi Mlapa 31y
#92 SG Francois Diabate 28y
#35 SF Lass Siry 25y
#04 PF Soumbeila Tchomogo 20y
#55 C Ocansey Abouta 27y

Preview MBL 2020
Interior Conference

Etoile Tangbou

In a way, it is already a miracle that Tangbou, a city in the far north of the country, can staff up a team that is ready to take on the challenge. The region is not only ravaged more than any other part of Mkabia, the devastating dependency on cash crops made it an economical pitfall. Nonetheless, some local businessmen joined forces to offer their lacklustre city some sort of entertainment and we do not doubt that they will be behind Etoile on masse - even if life up north isn’t what you’re looking for.

Nonetheless, they’ll have to grab their wins based on that home enthusiasm as the line-up comes across as mediocre at best and awfully short staffed. The team hinges on the flashes from Sotigui Yago who is your archetypal giant under the basket, technically limited yet crucial in play. Salim Sy could be worth a second glance as well, but time hasn’t been gentle on him. So the neutral observer will only tune in to see Adama Fornah, a hardworking guard who, when that little extra power comes to him, could develop into a monster. Modest and quiet, but with a lot of talent under the hood, he even has been considered for the national team.

Starting Five

#17 PG Cheick Tokplé 28y
#00 SG Salim Sy 31y
#24 SF Alhassane Bancé 27y
#28 PF Adama Fornah 19y
#64 C Sotigui Yago 25y

Garo Leopards

Garo, the industrial city and a historical focal point for the country, is split between two teams when it comes to basketball and it aches us to say that neither is really good. The Leopards claim to be the historical team of the city, with decades of training youth and developing talent behind them. As a result, they have a bunch of satellites and pick-up ball courts littered across the town which earns them the support of the masses. It also allows them to field quite some local talent, giving the squad some depth.

The depth, unfortunately, gets countered by the lack of stand-out player at first sight, giving the team a fairly boring outlook to the random passerby. Those who look closer will note two players in their prime who make an impact and give this team the toughness to qualify for the play-offs and even dream of more. Ibrahima Chikoto is an experienced player and the type of guard that makes the whole team play better. For the flashes of genius, one redirects his attention to power forward Mamadi Yabré whose performances are mixed, but sometimes off the wall.

Starting Five

#39 PG Ibrahima Chikoto 28y
#18 SG Nii Moutari 22y
#44 SF Abdou Souare 24y
#89 PF Mamadi Yabré 26y
#05 C Amara Kouamé 24y

Inter Garo

Whilst the Leopards are the team of the people, Inter are the team of… Well, of Inter Breweries, I guess. One of the biggest corporations of the country found a perfect vehicle in the budding basketball league to put its name on a lot of marketing material and, as an afterthought, scrambled together a coaching staff and some players. Nonetheless, they are less ramshackled than sometimes suggested as they got the framework of the now defunct basketball leg of the intersport Garo Club. It gives them the necessary tools to avoid becoming a national laughing stock.

Nonetheless, the focus in this initial year might be on beating Leopards when the occasion comes around and getting their brand out amongst the people of the city. Pivotal in doing so will Fodé Sangaré, a NT level player with excellent passing skills and the leadership to turn this bunch into a team. Keep your eyes out for Salim Tamboura as well, whose shot ranks amongst the better ones of the league. If these two can get the train on the rails, one could almost overlook the yet absent cohesion in the team selection and the painful lack of a decent centre.

Starting Five

#12 PG Salim Tamboura 23y
#37 SG Falaye Atte-Oudeyi 27y
#03 SF Fodé Sangaré 30y
#92 PF Ocansey Guiro 28y
#21 C Saidou Atchou 23y

Kouarou Gold

Classed in the fairly mediocre Interior Conference, Kouarou Gold is offered an excellent opportunity to go all the way. Stable, well supported and seemingly on top of a goldmine - or literally, if you consider the business the franchise owner is in - they could go all the way until the finals. And who says they will not surprise and take the cup at all? Gold is not the most admired team nationally due to their status of a bought team with little local connection left, although the fans don’t seem to care about that as long as they see sturdy basketball.

Talking about sturdy, in comes Abdou Boni. Two metres, fourteen centimetres and 135 kilograms of old-school centre action. In theory, you would mock his lack of use outside the paint but in his zone, there is no stopping Boni. This in turn is paired with Mamane Sankoh, one of those guys you might overlook when selecting an MVP but whom any player would pick in an all-star game. If some of their talents develop, they could be more than an outsider but if the fears become truth, the conference will be tough: Korodowou is injury-prone and Serge Bah used to be a unique talent but seems to miss professionalism.

Starting Five

#01 PG Sory Korodowou 23y
#11 SG Mamane Sankoh 25y
#33 SF Serge Bah 22y
#24 PF Germain Diabate 28y
#90 C Abdou Boni 30y

Lanyare Diables Noirs

Is this the weakest team in the line-up? I’ll save you the worry to read on, yes, yes they are. No one truly understands how Lanyare, a sleepy, godforsaken town lost in the savannahs of the east managed to line up a squad to this competition and no one knows who bankrolled the whole thing. Fact is that whomever did that, didn’t have too much bucks left after finding a stadium, which is probably the best feature of the whole team due to its coziness and ‘local gym room’ atmosphere.

If that’s the best part, you know the line-up isn’t much to look at and well, here we are. In almost every position they have, if not the weakest, one of the three weakest elements of the competition. We must give them credit that they don’t hesitate to throw youngsters in the starting five, but the lack of leadership could be painful when playing experienced units. A minor flickering light in the darkness could be young gun Cherif Tchangai, a promising guy with good stats, but he will have to pay his learning dues this year.

Starting Five

#28 PG Cherif Tchangai 18y
#42 SG Saidou Dayo 22y
#03 SF Drissa Ouattara 23y
#59 PF Hamado Tchangai 23y
#37 C Sotigui Kaboré 24y

Yourougou Royals

We can wrap up with a positive note as the Royals enter the stage as the challengers of Kouarou Gold for the Conference title. In a way, they are nothing like their adversaries as part of a long local tradition and centered around boys who learned the trade on one of the three-on-three courts that litter the city. Yourougou, in their distinctive purple and white combination, makes a celebration of every home game and the fans will stand by their colours, no matter what the results are.

No wonder that the admiration for the backbone of the team is so big, especially as it is a remarkable duo. Aliou and Wassiou Bakary are twin brothers born a few hundred metres away from the uninspiringly baptised Royals Arena. In general, Aliou is considered the better one but both of them are the kind of players who lift the level of the team. Their biggest strength, apart from the telekinetic partnership between their guards, lies in the allround strength which could turn out to be crucial to make it far into the grueling play-offs.

Starting Five

#16 PG Aliou Bakary 23y
#08 SG Wassiou Bakary 23y
#67 SF Gerard Sory 26y
#38 PF Jules Bangoura 25y
#99 C Issa Kambou 20y

User avatar
Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Wed Jan 22, 2020 5:37 pm

MBL 2020
Regular Season

Week 1
FRI Kouarou Gold 67-68 Jeunesse Massagui
FRI Etoile Tangbou 75-53 Inter Garo
SAT Massagui Dragons 79–64 Garo Leopards
SAT Lanyare Diables Noirs 74–84 Djalenga Aiglons
SUN Yourougou Royals 85–78 Kada Rebels
SUN Djalenga Titans 66–84 Aziza Songto

And so the season knows its start and straight from the from game onwards, the pundits have something to discuss. Jeunesse, the anticipated punching bag of the Coastal Conference trails for about three quarters of the game but stuns their opposition in the decisive minutes. It’s 19-year old Ibrahima Womé who catches the limelight with five out of five in the last eight minutes, tilting the scale. And so, Kouarou lands with both feet firmly back on earth. They’re in the company of the two Garo sides over there, with Inter suffering a painful beating at the hands of a Tangbou powered by Salim Sy and Leopards never capable to make a fist against the Dragons.

Later in the week, Lanyare play surprisingly decent until Aiglons get the engine running and capture their first victory of the year. The best game of basketbal was played in Yourougou where the Rebels and the Royals go back and forth. Bakary and Sankaré make it a duel of the playmakers and in the end it is Aliou Bakary who dominates in the end. A powerful statement to those who consider Sankaré the starter of a potential national team and the former just his understudy. But the surprise of the weekend takes place in the home of the Titans. All expected they open the season in style but the plan of Songto ticks all boxes: Kompaoré showing his best form against an uncharacteristically bleak Coulibaly, Kouamé directing the play and Kanu bringing in the three’s as if it’s nothing. The league has started and it’s off with a bang!

Player of the Week - Aliou Bakary (Yourougou Royals)

Week 2
TUE Djalenga Aiglons 58–73 Massagui Dragons
WED Garo Leopards 86–89 Inter Garo
THU Aziza Songto 73-90 Djalenga Titans
FRI Etoile Tangbou 79–66 Lanyare Diables Noirs
FRI Kouarou Gold 84–79 Yourougou Royals
SAT Kada Rebels 81–69 Inter Garo
SAT Massagui Dragons 62–73 Jeunesse Massagui
SUN Garo Leopards 64–78 Aziza Songto
SUN Djalenga Aiglons 81–84 Djalenga Titans

The calendar designers had come up with a Garo derby on Wednesday which delivered as it should - quick turns, a bit of aggression on the pitch and big words off the pitch. “This is the one club from Garo!” Inter owner Diaté yelled into the stands after the final whistle of the confrontation, easily forgetting that a missed shot from Leopards’ Moutari, quickly turned into two at the other side in the final seconds marks the small difference between both - and neither played really well. Nonetheless, most focus was on the second chapter between Songto and the TItans. The title favourites knew they could not afford such mistakes again and even if Coulibaly wasn’t the force he usually is yet, Kouma and Mawuena compensated that sufficiently with solid plays and technical precision.

Moreover, getting two out of two seems to be a difficult thing in these neighbourhoods. The Royals got whooped by a Kouarou eager for revenge and Inter Garo saw their ambitions stopped in their tracks by the Rebels. Kada Rebels’ Sangaré had missed his start of the season but took revenge through some of his characteristic quick and snappy accelerations to which Inter had no reply. Remarkably, the only two left with a perfect score sheet by Saturday evening were Tangbou and Jeunesse, two sides deemed to be ugly ducklings and predicted to be amongst the four missing out of playoffs by most. Tangbou so far profited from the calendar, but confirmed that they have their place in this competition.

Jeunesse thrives on enthusiasm and caught a Dragons which failed to show up before the break. Ibrahima Womé confirmed as a talent of calibre. However, the whole weekend saw its exclamation point in a different derby where the two teams from Djalenga crossed their swords. The theoretical underdog, playing in their small arena, fought like lions with a good structure and the tandem of Bamogo and Koroma managed to convert at a strong pace. Going into the last quarter, they had almost delivered the title favourites their second loss of the still young season. With the clock ticking, Kanfory Mawuena took the initiative and converted eight points in a minute and dragged the Titans to the victory kicking and screaming. 2 out of 3 but a lot of work left for them.

Player of the Week - Abdou Sangaré (Kada Rebels)

Week 3
TUE Lanyare Diables Noirs 66–93 Etoile Tangbou
WED Garo Leopards 82–75 Yourougou Royals
THU Djalenga Titans 70-68 Jeunesse Massagui
FRI Aziza Songto 83–68 Djalenga Aiglons
FRI Inter Garo 67–84 Kouarou Gold
SAT Massagui Dragons 84-86 Yourougou Royals
SAT Kada Rebels 78-64 Lanyare Diables Noirs
SUN Jeunesse Massagui 83–76 Garo Leopards
SUN Djalenga Titans 96–60 Etoile Tangbou

Two teams started the second week with zero victories and whilst the Black Devils suffered a humiliating loss at home, the Leopards finally seemed to kickstart their season. The duel with the Royals has all the potential to become a contested one in the future with two sides bunnyhopping the other towards a slim lead. In the end, Mamadi Yabré made the most of it with a series of threes which the Bakary brothers couldn’t respond to. The start of clearer skies for the main team from Garo, one would presume but that crashed and burned on Sunday already.

Whilst the form from Jeunesse initially had been brushed off as beginners luck, than heads started to turn after their performance in the home of the Titans. The latter, getting on cruising speed bit by bit, struggled to get a grip on the enthousiast bunch of kids in front of them, with a bizarre amount of steals occurring on both sides. Ousmane Suma took up the gauntlet under the basket and Titans’ Condé struggled to enforce his dominance. In the end, it was Hervé Coulibaly who needed to show up and bring in those crucial points. Jeunesse, however, were shaken not stirred and delivered a marvellous forty minutes in their home arena on Sunday. The Leopards didn’t catch their rhythm whilst Womé netted 38 points - a week best if it weren’t for Mawuena annihilating Tangbou the same evening, knocking the rocking Northerners (3 out of 3 before) of their cloud and out of the lead.

Next to the above trio, Titans, Tangbou and Jeunesse, there is another side which landed a third victory despite evading the limelight. Aziza Songto look well-trained, fit and combine clinical finishing with stringent defending. With two duels against fellow leaders ahead of them, they could punch their ticket for the play-offs earlier than most. Elsewhere, Dragons fails to win two on the trot and join that circle of top starters with a disappointing defeat against the Royals. One could blame Aliou Bakary, the Royal who is definitely one of the men of the season start, but Dragons called it over themselves, throwing away a thirteen point lead in the last quarter.

Player of the Week - Kamfory Mawuena (Dragons Titans)

Week 4
TUE Lanyare Diables Noirs 71–92 Kouarou Gold
WED Aziza Songto 84–76 Jeunesse Massagui
THU Djalenga Titans 72–73 Kada Rebels
FRI Garo Leopards 86–95 Djalenga Aiglons
FRI Massagui Dragons 79–54 Inter Garo
SAT Aziza Songto 71-63 Etoile Tangbou
SAT Jeunesse Massagui 56–83 Yourougou Royals
SUN Kouarou Gold 69–61 Lanyare Diables Noirs
SUN Kada Rebels 69–79 Djalenga Titans

One could never have predicted that a lost Wednesday night game in Songto, of all places, could be a key one for the table but yet, here we are. With still a quarter left to play, Womé and Kouamé get entangled mid-air. Whilst the Aziza player can brush it off, Ibrahima Womé needs to be stretchered away with a painful grimace. Jeunesse not only loses their points cannon but also their courage and the game. The way they get ramshackled on Saturday by the Royals proves that they have not recovered yet. The same evening, Songto wins their fourth in a row and lead the table with an 0.833 record - good figures by a side that gels together and can rely on a dedicated home crowd.

A lead that could get matched by the Titans, but the Conference favorites have a difficult yet entertaining double header against the Kada Rebels. The Rebels, with Abdou Sangaré directing the play, have not always gotten the ROI they wanted so far but made it a marvellous duel in the Titan Arena. For most of the play, they trailed by a few points but snagged it in the end through a contested free throw. Evidently, the heat was on for the return fixture in a whirling atmosphere - the game was stopped several times over flyers being thrown on the field and there was a small skirmish when Hervé Coulibaly responded to some slurs from the crowd. When all was said and done, the Titans star did have the last laugh as Djalenga won it by ten and he didn’t hesitate to show that off - queue even more antics.

Less headlines but some better scores for a few other teams. Kouarou Gold made no mistakes in a double confrontation with collective punching bag Lanyare and add two points to their tally. Massagui Dragons finally got that convincing victory they were craving for, with the clash against the Titans only two more weeks away - a date which is underlined in red in the agendas. Nonetheless, the fact that Diabaté had to do most of the scoring should ring an alarm bell or two. Lastly, Aiglons puts the pressure on the Leopards with a well-rounded performance.

Player of the Week - Wilfried Kompaoré (Aziza Songto)

Week 5
TUE Jeunesse Massagui 64-96 Djalenga Aiglons
WED Inter Garo 78-90 Etoile Tangbou
THU Garo Leopards 87-77 Lanyare Diables Noirs
FRI Aziza Songto 78–98 Kada Rebels
FRI Djalenga Titans 75–62 Kouarou Gold
SAT Yourougou Royals 92–80 Garo Leopards
SAT Inter Garo 66–64 Jeunesse Massagui
SUN Lanyare Diables Noirs 69–92 Massagui Dragons
SUN Djalenga Aiglons 90–85 Etoile Tangbou

And it only gets worse for the Garo Leopards. The home win, not even by a comfortable margin, against Lanyare is an evidence and not even window dressing when they get butchered by the Royals on Saturday. Yourougou was on route to triple figures but took the foot of the gas in the end, avoiding a painful showing for Leopards in the end. Most of the criticism heads toward Mamadi Yabré who has been abysmal so far and lacks the confidence to break through.

Luckily for Garo, the attention got diverted away from them a bit by a very nauseating evening from their city rivals Inter. Garo, located on the crossroads between the North and the wealthy South, took in quite a number of refugees from the northern provinces during the drought of 2007-2008. A few hundred of them, with Tangbou roots, had taken some of the many empty seats of the Inter home stadium and marvelled as their beloved side managed to whip Inter, confirming they’re better than expected. It lead to chants from the home rows and even some racial slurs which led into fighting when the game was over. As images surfaced of Etoile center Sotigui Yago beating a home supporter, the media split in two camps. Some claimed he had been called ‘dirty beaneater’, a slur rooted in the hunger days of the north in the previous decade and put the blame on the fan. Others said he should have remained composed and let the powers that be solve the matter. Fact is that the Association was not amused with the behaviour of Yago and he won’t be back in the paint anytime soon.

Amidst the controversy, we do want to give some praise where it is due. The Royals continue to confirm that they are a title outsider and Aiglons bring fresh basketball, a true clockwork with fluent movements and changing positions. The best games of the week came on Friday evening, where a courageous Kouarou got confronted with the engine from Djalenga - and damn, it’s running. Kada Rebels, on the other hand, called a halt on Songto. Without drawing a lot of attention, they’re currently at 0.667 with some easier fixtures on the agenda.

Player of the Week - Paul Adjamossi (Djalenga Aiglons)

Week 6
TUE Jeunesse Massagui 77-83 Kada Rebels
WED Kouarou Gold 59–65 Garo Leopards
THU Djalenga Aiglons 80–74 Aziza Songto
FRI Yourougou Royals 97–78 Inter Garo
FRI Massagui Dragons 66–77 Djalenga Titans
SAT Garo Leopards 91–74 Etoile Tangbou
SAT Jeunesse Massagui 91–64 Lanyare Diables Noirs
SUN Kouarou Gold 81–78 Aziza Songto
SUN Kada Rebels 75–73 Djalenga Aiglons

The Dragons versus the Titans, it was supposed to be a seismic shock but it delivered only a little thrill. The confrontation between the two major sides from the nation did not lead to a lot of spectacle. Despite playing in front of their own crowd, Massagui seemed focused on disrupting the play of their opponents, seemingly accepting their faith before the first net had rattled. Titans did got out of balance by this tactic initially but regrouped and eventually won more dominantly than the scoreline suggest. Coulibaly and Mawuena directed the proceedings, underlining the ambitions.

As such, it’s Djalenga Titans who lead the table with the halfway mark reached. Contrary to the expectations, it’s not Massagui or the slightly unlucky Songto that’s in their trail but Kada Rebels. Their victory over Aiglons - a side that contrary to expectations keeps the same pace as Songto and Dragons - marked the sixth victory of the season already. They are well aware that this Djalenga should get avoided up until the Conference Finals and rank as such for the moment but everything is very close in the Coastal Conference. Five teams score over 0.5 and even Jeunesse got four victories already. Although the injury from Womé and the high pace of games is costing them more and more, they still ruined Lanyare this week.

It marks the difference in quality between the Interior and Coastal Conference so far. With the Diables Noirs not up for the task and Inter Garo switching between mediocre and poor games, the four tickets for the play-offs seem wide open. The Leopards, who finally managed two back-to-back victories with a new formation centered around Ibrahima Chikoto, are still safe despite some abysmal games. Only the Royals, who crashed into Inter Garo with visible pleasure, and Kouarou Gold can duel with the sides from the Coast - even if the latter struggles to find consistency.

Player of the Week - Hervé Coulibaly (Djalenga Titans)

Week 7
TUE Etoile Tangbou 70–76 Garo Leopards
WED Kada Rebels 72–66 Massagui Dragons
THU Inter Garo 59-80 Yourougou Royals
FRI Jeunesse Massagui 67-84 Djalenga Titans
FRI Djalenga Aiglons 67–91 Kouarou Gold
SAT Aziza Songto 68–84 Massagui Dragons
SAT Etoile Tangbou 75–79 Kada Rebels
SUN Inter Garo 69–96 Garo Leopards
SUN Lanyare Diables Noirs 71–64 Yourougou Royals

It might seem like a regular Wednesday evening but the stakes were high for the Massagui Dragons as they faced off against the Rebels. A visit to Kada is never a treat and doing so when the home side is on fire is bound to display your weaknesses. Dragons hesitated in the start, fell behind by double figures and never really got within a few points of Kada. Captain and key figure Sangaré led his troops to a streak that now stretches to six wins and counting but the one against Tangbou came less easy than anticipated. An injury for Dumbuya might cost the Rebels in the long run.

The pace of games is really starting to dig in now and it starts to show amongst the weaker elements of the table. Jeunesse is off the pace and couldn’t match a team of Titans at half speed and Inter Garo is going from bad to worse with two home drubbings in a row. Especially the latter will come in painful as the Leopards finally start to click and found no better place to tank confidence but in the home of their bitter rivals. All passing goes past Ibrahima Chikoto now for the Leopards and it pays off.

We must take notice of the victory of Kouarou, not in the least due to Mamane Sankoh playing ace - not the first time this year - and hitting over twenty points for the seventh time already but also through Abdou Boni convincingly winning the duel between the two biggest tanks in the division, him and Aiglons’ Nibombe. But the most heads were turned over Yourougou fumbling it over at Lanyare. After ten losses, the Diables finally record a win - if only because the Royals were already thinking about the crucial pair of games next week.

Player of the Week - Abdou Sangaré (Kada Rebels)

Week 8
TUE Kada Rebels 74-95 Aziza Songto
WED Yourougou Royals 68-75 Kouarou Gold
THU Djalenga Titans 83-78 Massagui Dragons
FRI Kouarou Gold 70–75 Etoile Tangbou
FRI Inter Garo 73–80 Lanyare Diables Noirs
SAT Garo Leopards 75–74 Kada Rebels
SAT Massagui Dragons 82–70 Djalenga Aiglons
SUN Jeunesse Massagui 80–86 Aziza Songto
SUN Yourougou Royals 81–74 Djalenga Titans

A week during which practically every side at the top of the table managed to drop the baton - which in the end probably means that it doesn’t make a difference for anyone really. Nonetheless, some confidence will get a drubbing and others a boost. The one from Yourougou went through the rollercoaster with a loss in an entertaining confrontation against Gold, where the latter eventually won with courtesy of a good bench and a Serge Bah showing why some once touted him as a potential star. No time for tears in Yourougou, the Royals fought back and managed to halt the Titans in their tracks - ending a month of only victories for the tandem Mawuena - Coulibaly.

Bad news for the Titans who had celebrated a win over the Dragons only a few days earlier - it is clear that there is one title favourite in this country. Massagui recovered a bit with a solid game and victory over Aiglons, but beating the smaller Djalenga side is not that much of a feat in comparison. Dragons, Titans and Royals suffering from the blues but Kada Rebels ended up worst. They had come close to taking over the lead but had a complete off week with a terrible home showing against Aziza and a close but correct defeat at the hands of Leopards. “Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail,” Sangaré concluded philosophically.

That immediately gives us the names of the two winners of this week. Garo Leopards overturned their poor start with five wins in a row, Chikoto symbolically netting a three to make it a series. Even more convincing were the stats of Songto guard Aziz Kanu. Seemingly slow and stumbling but good for 74 points in two outings, that’s spot on. With this, Aziza supports their claim for a play-off ticket and it is clear that every mistake will be costly in that battle.

Player of the Week - Aziz Kanu (Aziza Songto)

Week 9
TUE Lanyare Diables Noirs 63-91 Inter Garo
WED Jeunesse Massagui 93–93 Massagui Dragons (97–99 OT)
THU Etoile Tangbou 58–84 Kouarou Gold
FRI Inter Garo 78-80 Djalenga Titans
FRI Aziza Songto 83–57 Yourougou Royals
SAT Lanyare Diables Noirs 67–67 Garo Leopards (75–78 OT)
SAT Djalenga Aiglons 92–83 Jeunesse Massagui
SUN Etoile Tangbou 72–82 Massagui Dragons
SUN Kada Rebels 67–78 Kouarou Gold

Remarkably, we had not seen a single game going into overtime so far but on Wednesday, the day was finally there. And in a city derby no less, where Jeunesse straightened their backs for a key confrontation against the rivals. On their current form, play-offs seemed out of reach but a win could turn the scales nonetheless. Local boys like Suma and Koita, released from Dragons over his behaviour, pushed it to the limit but in a nervy overtime, the cool of Francois Diabaté decided the game - sinking two free throws in the dying seconds. It did give Dragons a kick in the rear, as they managed to win over Etoile on that pace.

That immediately lands us in the midst of the play-off battle of the Interior Conference. Etoile Tangbou debuted with style and grace but the rhythm of the games and the talented Adama Fornah struggling to make that last step to a dominant power forward hampered their run. A single win in the last seven makes them sink like a brick but fortunately, both Lanyare and Inter missed a chance to crawl closer. The Diables Noirs finally found their game - a boring but efficient brand of possession game - and got close to stopping the Leopards. That was, however, a few days after Inter Garo whipped them hard. Inter is possibly the least beloved side of the nation but still, many were rooting for them to turn it into a perfect week on Friday. Alas, Titans demonstrated their well roundedness and snagged the win in the end.

Still, the Titans seem a little phased by the Yourougou loss last week, missing some easy baskets and letting it run for too long. It gives a bit of hope to sides like Kouarou and Aziza, who hope to take their current form into the decisive weeks. The Kada - Kouarou duel will, however, not go down in the history books for the deserved win from the visitors but for the courageous action from Rebels forward Maiga. When the referee took an unlucky hit in the aftermath of a duel, he quickly reacted, retracting the man’s tongue and possibly saving his life.

Player of the Week - Bourama Maiga (Kada Rebels)

Week 10
TUE Yourougou Royals 88–77 Lanyare Diables Noirs
WED Djalenga Titans 86–69 Djalenga Aiglons
THU Massagui Dragons 87–74 Aziza Songto
FRI Garo Leopards 63–86 Kouarou Gold
FRI Etoile Tangbou 72-87 Jeunesse Massagui
SAT Massagui Dragons 81–71 Kada Rebels
SAT Yourougou Royals 77–78 Djalenga Aiglons
SUN Inter Garo 75–67 Aziza Songto
SUN Lanyare Diables Noirs 52–72 Djalenga Titans

Crunch time is coming closer and the masks start to fall off. Titans steamed ahead and by recording their twelfth win of the year in Lanyare, they assured themselves of the top placing in the final table. The team is simply a strong unit, with movement, finishing, patterns and a difficult to match confidence. Hervé Coulibaly bluntly stated “if so many observers say we’re going to win… They can’t all be wrong?” It says a lot about how they approach each game and work towards the final result.

Behind them, the table starts to fall into place but plenty is still left to decide. On the Coast, Massagui Dragons might have gone through a lot of criticism but in two duels against direct opponents, they showed up in force. Mlapa, Abouta and Diabaté might not be the youngest elements of this competition, but they know the ropes and don’t crack under the pressure. Especially François Diabaté had the flair of the big days, making good calls and pointing the way. It puts them two points ahead of Songto and Kada, ensuring them of a round without the Titans - although they have wanted to take them on now, when their form was thrilling.

In the Interior Conference, the deserving number one berth seems to be Kouarou Gold. Whilst the Royals might have the more classy player in Bakary, the team from Kouarou simply shows more consistency and shows up when required as evidenced in the way they stopped the streak from the Leopards. Bah lives up to his potential and Korodowou stays out of trouble - good work from the coaching staff. One of the stories over here is the question who will grab the last play-off ticket. Inter Garo offered themselves a last shot at glory with a powerful win over Songto but will need a perfect record to progress - that it will be Tangbou that costs them the ticket will only sting more considering the history the two teams have.

Player of the Week - François Diabaté (Massagui Dragons)

Week 11
TUE Yourougou Royals 83-75 Etoile Tangbou
WED Djalenga Aiglons 57–87 Kada Rebels
THU Kouarou Gold 101–68 Inter Garo
FRI Aziza Songto 75–63 Lanyare Diables Noirs
FRI Djalenga Titans 78–68 Garo Leopards
SAT Etoile Tangbou 71–73 Yourougou Royals
SAT Kada Rebels 63–57 Jeunesse Massagui
SUN Djalenga Aiglons 75–80 Inter Garo
SUN Kouarou Gold 62–84 Massagui Dragons

End of the road and end of the regular season. For eleven weeks, we’ve enjoyed the best and brightest but now it is time to go into the decisive weeks of the season. The various title candidates showed they are ready for the job. The Titans, every bookmaker’s call, looked confident and composed at home against the Leopards. The opening week aside, this club managed to play at the top of the league without trying to humiliate the opponent. Keeping a focus on the next match could easily see them lift the trophy.

Massagui Dragons have gone through darker times this year but found their pace just in time to make the most from it. The butchering of Kouarou, on the road no less, came in time to pick up the glove as challenger. The double loss against Djalenga still stings and they might already be thinking about the Conference Finals in Massagui! But first, they will have to get past the Rebels who bettered their stats against the two minnows of their side of the table, a confidence booster nonetheless.

If we look for a title candidate from the Interior, only Kouarou can come to mind. The loss against Dragons is a nasty bump in the road after the trust build up a win at home against Inter Garo. Not only did it decide the faith of Inter - and of Tangbou, who are the surprise of the draw - but they did so with a record amount of points. For the Interior Conference title and the ticket to the National Finals, Yourougou steps forward. It had its ups and downs already for them, but two wins against Tangbou and a Aliou Bakary scoring them threes could be what they need to surprise the whole thing. We rate them a bit higher than Garo Leopards who might just have lost their momentum going into the play-offs, although the calendar was harsh on them.

Player of the Week - Aliou Bakary (Yourougou Royals)

Mkabia Coast                 Pld   W   L    PF    PA    PD      Pts
1 Djalenga Titans 16 13 3 1266 1129 +137 0.8125
2 Massagui Dragons 16 11 5 1278 1150 +128 0.6875
3 Kada Rebels 16 10 6 1222 1181 +41 0.6250
4 Aziza Songto 16 9 7 1251 1206 +45 0.5625
5 Djalenga Aiglons 16 7 9 1233 1284 -51 0.4375
6 Jeunesse Massagui 16 5 11 1191 1247 -56 0.3125

Mkabia Interior Pld W L PF PA PD Pts
1 Kouarou Gold 16 11 5 1245 1114 +131 0.6875
2 Yourougou Royals 16 10 6 1268 1205 +65 0.6250
3 Garo Leopards 16 8 8 1237 1253 -16 0.5000
4 Etoile Tangbou 16 5 11 1187 1245 -58 0.3125
5 Inter Garo 16 5 11 1147 1298 -151 0.3125
6 Lanyare Diables Noirs 16 2 14 1093 1306 -213 0.1250

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 pm

MBL 2020
Conference Semi

Game 1

Djalenga Titans 83–61 Aziza Songto
Massagui Dragons 84–75 Kada Rebels

Kouarou Gold 72–66 Etoile Tangbou
Yourougou Royals 78–70 Garo Leopards

Four games at the same time and four reasons for suspense, the game is on now and the trophies are getting visible on the horizon. Well, the Djalenga Titans don’t feel like suspense, they feel like smashing the competition. They made no secret of their ambition in the press but also delivered. This was one of their best games of the season to the home audience and whilst Aziza showed up, with veterans Kanu and Kouamé not skipping a beat, they lacked the strength in numbers to halt them. Hervé Coulibaly started the season slowly but is on full steam now and Daouda Condé dominated the basket - who is going to stop the Titans?

The Dragons would like to run that play and their confrontation with the Rebels should serve as the entry ticket to that festival. François Diabaté called the shots and got a more than decent result in with some dominant display. Nonetheless, what caught our eyes most was the nervous, nearly violent atmosphere which circled around the teams. No one was sent home prematurely but only because a skirmish between Yago and Abouta was handled surprisingly lenient. “This is only the beginning,” explained Diabaté, but he didn’t specify of what exactly.

Far more relaxed was the clash between Gold and Etoile. The visitors have been one of the positive surprises of the year, who showed that a mix of hidden talent and hard work gets you further than bankrolling - according to some economists, they’re financially the weakest side next to Lanyare. Sotigui Yago had a standout game for Tangbou but when the end came, the bench from Kouarou Gold dragged it over the line. Their set of forwards is unmatched and the way Mamane Sankoh smashed in eleven points in money time shows that Kouarou can go at a higher level than their opponents.

Although mathematically not the tightest, the clash between Royals and Leopards did come across as the one that could have gone both way. The Leopards shook off their poor start and despite a few lesser performances in the business end of the regular season, didn’t hesitate to approach it with hunger and vigour, something which troubled the Royals. The fixture had been billed as a clash between Bakary and Chikoto and both tried to play their game - Chikoto as a director, Bakary as a finisher. The 23 points of the latter did move that important first point his way, but nothing is decided yet.

Game 2

Aziza Songto 60–74 Djalenga Titans
Kada Rebels 85–79 Massagui Dragons

Etoile Tangbou 79–82 Kouarou Gold
Garo Leopards 76–73 Yourougou Royals

Is it arrogance? Is it confidence? Fact is that the bench of the Titans had an eye clustered to the radio in the second half as they seemed more interested in getting to know their opponent for the next round rather than seeing their teammates wrap up the job against Songto. And in the end, it did feel like an ‘easy money, let’s go home’ job for the Titans. Kompaoré got blocked out of business and Aziz Kanu made a few costly mistakes, getting Aziza eight points behind after only six minutes and they never recovered. Even the fans, usually quite dedicated there, got a bit flabbergasted after a while. A reality check for everyone, the Titans are in it to win it.

First they’ll have to Conference Finals but it’s not clear yet whom they’ll meet. The Rebels took it to game three but it cost them sweat, tears and, in the case of Dumbuya who had just returned from injury, quite some blood when his nose got hit amidst the action. There are days when Abdou Sangaré is simply the best player on the floor and today was one of those. With a steal, dribble and three from halfway down the field, he got Kada in front late in the game and Dragons simply melted.

The pressure indeed takes its toll and for half a game, it seemed as if it would cost Kouarou a third game. Etoile produced their regular basketball with a lot of focus on putting in these baskets and Adama Fornah even vaguely looked like the guard he could develop into in a few years time. With eleven points down halfway, the surprise seemed on the books but then Sankoh and Boni stepped up. The latter showed he’s more than just a huge amount of center and took it to a next level - Sankoh scored double figures in each of the last two quarters, just enough to surpass a courageous but eliminated Tangbou.

No eliminations in Garo where the Leopards made their way to a last chance. We could talk about the stamina this game required, the physicality and how this often influenced the technical input of this game. But all attention was eventually on Mamadi Yabré. The outspoken guard had been sidelined for a while over his lack of efficiency but came in the starting five due to an injury wave and immediately pulled the game towards him. When the dust had settled, his six threepointers tipped the scales in the direction of Garo. A performance that made him more fans than his post-match interview, where he complained about the way he had been treated, called the coach a ‘two-faced pussy’ and claimed that with him ‘the Leopards could win the title’.

Game 3

Massagui Dragons 67–80 Kada Rebels

Yourougou Royals 100–68 Garo Leopards

A lot of talk about trophies but in the end, one should get to the final first. Massagui Dragons came to the floor seemingly unprepared and their start was simply abysmal. “We tried something different,” youngster Tchomogo broke the dressing room omerta afterwards - but everyone had already discovered that semi-finals are not the place to experiment. Kada Rebels seized the opportunity when it came past and forwards Maiga and Bandé crossed all boxes for a stellar performance. By the time Massagui reorganised, the gap exceeded double figures and they never recovered - a harsh way to drop off.

But, still, not as harsh as the one for the Leopards. After only two victories in the eight opening games (of which one against Lanyare), they looked off the pace but have recovered promisingly since. The return from Yabré at his best level seemed to be an ace in the deck of coach Yabaré but in the end, it must have been a joker. A conflict between Royals’ Kambou and Yabré saw both send to the locker room after which it all fell apart for Garo. Chikoto found no more teammates and the Royals racked up the numbers and didn’t hesitate to aim for triple figures. Some claim the action from Kambou came on purpose to destabilize an injury-plagued side but that’s considered badmouthing by the Royals.

MBL 2020
Conference Finals

Game 1

Djalenga Titans 60–75 Kada Rebels

Kouarou Gold 63–76 Yourougou Royals

If there is one team that we had listed hands down for the National Final it must have been the Titans but Kada Rebels not only revealed but also exploited their weaknesses. Coulibaly, Mawuena and Condé make a scary trio up front but all like a clean shot and the Rebels made the extra effort to press, position and eventually push them against the shot clock. At the same time, Abdou Sangaré had one of those days where he sank every shot and whilst everyone was awaiting the point where the Titans would take over rather than suffer in possession, suddenly time had run out. The Rebels are just one victory away from a conference title no one had given them a chance for and one had to admit that they would deserve it.

It was not the only win on the road today as the Royals caught out Kouarou. A high-octane confrontation which followed suit of the two regular-season games developed initially and it could have been a close one up until the last throw. However, Abdou Boni twisted an ankle and the absence of the towering center, who covered for the lesser length of his teammates phased Gold quite a bit. Yourougou brought out the airforce and ran away with it without a single hesitation - with the often underestimated Gerard Sory playing an exceptional game. “It’s getting close, even closer,” the latter explained.

Game 2

Kada Rebels 65–96 Djalenga Titans

Yourougou Royals 72–72 Kouarou Gold (79–82 OT)

There’s learning your lesson and there’s… Well, it’s hard to describe to explain the transformation made by Kouarou in the span of two days. As hesitant as they appeared on Wednesday, as confident they took it on Friday. Flailed by the press over their initial loss, they now boomed straight through the plan of the Rebels. Like a true leader, Hervé Coulibaly lead out the troops, set the blocks and didn’t shy away from the dirty work to quickly make a gap in the score. Too often, the Titans suffer from a setback, a bit of negligence some would say, but now they laboured on as if there was only twenty minutes left in the season. The Kada Rebels got blown to smithereens and will need every second to recover and appear ready for battle in the arena of the Titans.

The game in Yourougou had one second that will go down in the history books of Mkabian basketball. With next ot nothing left on the clock and 69-72 down, Yourougou’s Wassiou Bakary tried a strange dummy, wrestled past his direct opponent and threw it in the general direction of the basket without a clear sight. As it rattled through the ring, both benches lifted their arms in satisfaction. Yourougou believed they had scored a three which saw them win the Conference Title, Gold claimed that Bakary had a foot in the paint. In the end, a true judgement of Salomon came from the table - yes, it counted for three but an equalizer didn’t suffice to win it. In the end, the rules said you needed to win two games during a play-off series… Kouarou Gold overcame the fright of the last-second basket the best and did it in style: Mamane Sankoh sunk the winning one in the last second.

Game 3

Djalenga Titans 71–57 Kada Rebels

Kouarou Gold 80–78 Yourougou Royals

Both games were going to use up all the time they could, but in a very different fashion nonetheless. The Titans had tanked confidence during the previous run in and all they needed now was a home game to bring in the crown. Kada Rebels tried to mix it up and return to their regular game, with quite some movement and infiltrations. It brought them somewhere but not near the level of Djalenga. Hervé Coulibaly underlined his MVP nomination with a few bombshells and Mawuena ran up the score whenever he could. End of the road for Kada who were admirable, but suffer from a simple truth - there is no stopping this team when on fire.

The tension was far higher in Kouarou where the audience came out slightly frustrated already from the affairs that circled around the previous game. That, in the aftermath of the tumultuous outcome, some fans had been threatened and even harmed had not done well to the tension of this encounter. It was visible on the court as well, with a few fumbles, lots of duels and even the occasional push and shove. Amidst the chaos, Aliou Bakary attempted to turn the tables with some energetic basketball but one man only gets you this far. Kouarou made it to the line looking more consistent along the board, with the line of forwards looking formidable. Germain Diabaté chose a perfect moment to step into the limelight with twenty-two points and, most importantly, proverbial balls of steel when receiving two free throws with seventeen seconds on the clock. He sunk both and Gold grabs the silverware.

MBL 2020
National Finals

Game 1

Djalenga Titans 73–72 Kouarou Gold

Many had foreseen this confrontation as lopsided, with the Djalenga Titans stepping into the arena as the clear favourites but Kouarou Gold showcased why exactly they made it this far. Their start to the season had been mediocre but they did grind their automatism, augmented the connections and developed a five without weak links. That balance seemed a little missing in their opponents as Mawuena and Koulibaly converted efficiently but young guard Sekou Asante struggled to get in the game. It allowed Kouarou to lead for most of the confrontation and Mamane Sankoh looked on his way for a MotM performance. That was, until he gave a no-look pass straight into the hands of Hervé Coulibaly who turned in into a three with style and flair. That point gave the Titans the lead with just two minutes to spare, that little morale booster that eventually lead them out. A late all-or-nothing shot from Diabaté landed on the ring, the Titans grab the lead but by the smallest of margins.

Game 2

Kouarou Gold 69–62 Djalenga Titans

But the confidence from the opener had gone straight to Gold, who stepped into their home arena with the belief that they were little worse than the Titans. Many had wondered how Mamane Sankoh would react to his blunder of the previous confrontation but the man not only rose to the occasion, he played possibly the best game of his career. His backstory, seemingly nearly lost for sports when a flesh eating bacteria got handled poorly, makes him even more likable to the neutral fan but it’s his basketball that earns him the praise. There’s power, grace, balance and now, contrary to usual, even a little star quality. A blow for the Titans, who now know that the toughest cliff to sail is left for the last endeavour.

Game 3

Djalenga Titans 96–63 Kouarou Gold

And just as the whole nation got behind Kouarou to make this one edgy as could be, Djalenga lays down the law. There is something particular about this team that makes it a collective dislike of the audience. Some claim it’s some sort of arrogance, others point to their wealth… But any Titans fan - and there’s plenty of that going around - will simply claim it is a side-effect of winning all the time. Fact is that when they do so, it’s often with a machine-like strength. Hervé Coulibaly really outdid himself on this occasion, reaping 34 points on top of a triple-double performance. His eye for the movement around him opens up and the partnership with Condé, eleven years his junior, gives an additional vibe to the team. At 32 years of age, he’s a relative veteran of the scene with just a handful of players in the league his senior and nearly no starter amongst them. But nonetheless, Coulibaly still shows up on the big moments and lays down a genuine MVP game.

Game 4

Kouarou Gold 62–81 Djalenga Titans

This is it! Kanfory Mawuena brought it perfectly in words after the last whistle. “Everyone claiming that this one was ours to lose made it only harder to win it and be sure that winning it was already quite a task on its own. Especially if everyone hopes you will falter. But that’s the price of being at the top and that’s our ambition. We set ourselves a goal and delivered.” One cannot argue with that. The Titans locked it up the way they wanted to, powerful yet clinical. The previous loss had broken the backbone of Gold and suddenly, the little flaws were back out. Sankoh, an amazing player in his own right, couldn’t dictate the pace, Bah losing his focus, Boni looking sluggish, … Still, they deserve praise for their parcours.

But the trophy, crown, silverware and whatsmore can go to only one team and this season, it are the Djalenga Titans. It’s a group of gifted players but first and foremost, a collective. Hervé Coulibaly is the leader, on and off the court, calling the shots. Kanfory Mawuena picks up the mistakes of Coulibaly, ensures that they close up the little games as well and gathers some impressive statistics along the road. Daouda Condé grew massively across the season and could rightly claim to be the best center out there. Kouma and Asante get little headlines, shadowed by the forwards, but they bring in hard work and allow the others to shine. A well-rounded starting five and a deserving champion.

MBL 2020
All Star Game


Coastal Conference Interior Conference
104 86
Starting Five

PG Abdou Sangaré (Rebels) 5 12 Aliou Bakary (Royals)
SG Aziz Kanu (Aziza) 9 6 Mamane Sankoh (Gold)
SF Kanfory Mawuena (Titans) 19 21 Fodé Sangaré (Inter)
PW Hervé Coulibaly (Titans) 24 11 Germain Diabaté (Gold)
C Daouda Condé (Titans) 12 8 Abdou Boni (Gold)

Back-up Five

PG Titi Mlapa (Dragons) 4 5 Ibrahima Chikoto (Leopards)
SG Francois Diabaté (Dragons) 6 4 Wassiou Bakary (Royals)
SF Bourama Maiga (Rebels) 11 2 Gerard Sory (Royals)
PF Ali Bandé (Rebels) 3 10 Adama Fornah (Etoile)
C Ousmane Suma (Jeunesse) 11 7 Sotigui Yago (Etoile)


1 - Hervé Coulibaly Djalenga Titans 426.258
2 - Abdou Sangaré Kada Rebels 261.890
3 - Mamane Sankoh Kouarou Gold 217.414
4 - Aliou Bakary Yourougou Royals 179.542
5 - Daouda Condé Djalenga Titans 125.830
Last edited by Mkabia on Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:00 am

Kaorak 7
National Rugby Premier League 2020

Whilst basketball escapes the might of King Football as the favourite indoor sport from the regular Mkabian and as such can take in the rainy summer months, other team sports must battle to grab a spot out of the shadows. The best ruckers and punters from the country try to do so with a national competition named after a sponsoring beer brand in which seven of the most renowned teams take on one another. As one can tell from the team names, most sides hail from the coastal regions - Garo College being the exception to the rule.

No wonder as rugby got more popular in these regions influenced most by colonialism. In the interior of the country, rugby was considered as a sport of the oppressors and the rich - and there is no doubt that rugby still is rather something for the more affluent, held in high esteem by the scholar institutions that find their roots in that period. In the center, the attention will rather turn to the National Baseball Organisation, a sport which revamped an older traditional game into new rules.

The rules of the Kaorak 7 competition are as straightforward as simple - during the months of November and December, the seven partaking teams compete with one another once each in three home and three away fixtures. A victory earns a side four points, a draw two and there are bonus points awarded to teams that manage four tries or lose only by eight points or less.

Kaorak 7
National Rugby Premier League 2020

The season opens with a festival of tries, no wonder that three bonus points were immediately awarded. The highest-scoring confrontation - hindsight will tell us that only three games of the twenty-one contested in this competition score as many points as the losing side of this one alone - took place in Djalenga. Any confrontation in sports between capital Djalenga and aspiring coastal stronghold Massagui immediately leads to a classic and this encounter did not fail to deliver. The Redshirts, named after… Well, yes, exactly… kicked off the Kaorak 7 in style. Literally. One long kick up field, a quick tackle and a clever run from Sissako and Djalenga got in front. Valens Sissako would be the man of the opening half with a second try, leading his team to a comfortable 25-7 at tea time. But the Raiders had kept the best for last and made the most of some Djalenga fouls - Djigui Kouma directed them to 32-31 before they knew it. Trying to drag it over the line, the Raiders got a contested penalty kick, converted by Stephane Moussa but, more importantly, showed the most composure on a last-second rush from the Redshirts - waiting for someone to fumble it. The home fans remained behind stunned as a sixty-yard rush from Oudeyi closed up the game.

A team does not need to hail from a large town to have a lively relationship with a competitor. Kada and Sarou, two cities located a mere forty kilometres from one another, found themselves at different sides for most of the civil war and not all bad blood has boiled down since then. The naming choice of Sarou, the Pirates, might sound inconspicuous to the casual bystander but many consider it a tasteless dig on the sacking and raiding of Kada through the port - hence the beef between them and Massagui as well. Either way, it became clear that the visitors would get a warm welcome and no one needed to motivate the home squad to bring their best talents to the forefront. The Young Boys went through their opposition like knives through hot butter with youngster Sédounody Soré making himself a hometown hero with two tries in three minutes. Even more impressive than the tries was the way they kept the Pirates at bay. The architect of this became clear as Kada took in two tries in the business end of the game when Yao Tchagnirou had been stretchered off. It ensured that Sarou could return home with less red on the cheeks, but still a painful lashing behind them.

Amidst these two fixtures, the encounter between College and the Tigers looked far less attractive. It is not coincidental that the home team barely managed to seduce a thousand fans for this confrontation, whilst the other two had seen full stands. After all, Garo College is an outsider both amongst rugby teams and sports clubs in general. Being from the centre of the country, they are far from the heartland of the sport. On top of that, they treasure their roots in the high-end business school where the team was founded - and unattractive to the local supporters. Still, it remains remarkable and even laudable that they manage to field a selection with nearly solely graduates who challenge the regular professional sides. Bogourma entered the game convinced to grab a win but went home disillusioned. The two College wings, Niane and Doumbouya, raided them with their speed and assured a try each, deciding the game.

Week 1

Djalenga Redshirts 32–41 Massagui Raiders
Young Boys Kada 38–14 Sarou Pirates
Garo College 21–10 Bogourma Tigers

1 Young Boys Kada 1 1 0 0 38 14 +24 1 5
2 Massagui Raiders 1 1 0 0 41 32 +9 1 5
3 Garo College 1 1 0 0 21 10 +11 0 4
4 Djalenga Redshirts 1 0 0 1 32 41 −9 1 1
5 Bogourma Tigers 1 0 0 1 10 21 −11 0 0
6 Sarou Pirates 1 0 0 1 14 38 −24 0 0

With tries flying around in the opener, the second confrontation of the Kaorak 7 got a different look and feel to it, partially even a defensive one. Most outspoken in this regard was the visit from Garo College to Sarou, a battle between two sides predicted to end up near the bottom of the table and who were, as such, very aware that any point won could save them from the wooden spoon. Most outspoken in this approach were the Pirates who had gotten a harsh bit of criticism over their annihilation in the opener and who focused solely on avoiding infiltrations from Garo. The wingers, nimble and fast, of the visitors got knocked out of the game harshly - bordering the rules of the game. Some even claim that if this confrontation had not been in the home of the Pirates, the referees might have halted the uncollegial tactics from the home squad. Fact is that Sarou didn’t produce much themselves either but profited from the golden left foot of Lass Koanda who didn’t miss on both penalty opportunities - contrary to the Garo kickers. It makes the difference between four points and one.

The match for the top spot might have been try-poor as well but at least delivered far more tension to the spectators. The Raiders entered the arena with quite some pressure on them but did their utter best to provide academic rugby, with long passing streaks and avoiding the tanks up front from the Young Boys. The latter, in turn, hoped to exploit the spaces in the back of the always high-upfield fullback Stephane Moussa but the experienced captain of Massagui nipped any opposition in the bud. As such, we strolled to the sixtieth minute of the game with an empty scoreboard but plenty of moments where it could tip one way or another - but didn’t. As such, it was slightly anti-climactic that a penalty, converted by Kada’s Aristide Feindouno, eventually unlocked the game. Massagui got forced to take risk and got presented the bill when Sédounody Soré darted through their back line and opened up the gap. With seconds left, the Raiders did score a try but to little use: Kada ends their two opening games against bitter rivals with a set of victories and looks like a team with title ambitions.

It seems as if Oulo, who had received a bye on the opening game, didn’t get the memo on defensive rugby and the side kicked off as if the point of the game was not to score more points, but simply to get tries. A hail-mary approach which came across slightly naive but caught the Redshirts by surprise. By the time they had recovered from the opening offensive, the Warriors were fifteen points up - quite a surprise as many anticipated a close encounter. Oulo is home to only 35 thousand people but nearly all of them are rugby fans so the atmosphere was on point. Was that the cause of the enthusiasm which nearly bit them in the back? Valens Sissako scored his third try of the competition for Djalenga and one penalty later, the gap rather seemed to close than to open up. What the Redshirts had not expected, however, was for Oulo to double down in the start of the second half. The Warriors have a powerful block around hooker Salou, a talented fly-half Yacouba Diané and a plan that’s focused on attacking but less rash than one would credit them for - the result is a stunning win, but can they provide the same on the road?

Week 2

Sarou Pirates 6–0 Garo College
Massagui Raiders 7–8 Young Boys Kada
Oulo Warriors 30–17 Djalenga Redshirts

1 Young Boys Kada 2 2 0 0 46 21 +25 1 9
2 Massagui Raiders 2 1 0 1 48 40 +8 2 6
3 Oulo Warriors 1 1 0 0 30 17 +13 1 5
4 Garo College 2 1 0 1 21 16 +5 1 5
5 Sarou Pirates 2 1 0 1 20 38 −18 0 4
6 Djalenga Redshirts 2 0 0 2 49 71 −22 1 1
7 Bogourma Tigers 1 0 0 1 10 21 −11 0 0

Yes, apparently. A visit to Kada is no walk in the park according to any metric but the Warriors looked composed when locking in with their opponents. Even an early try from the Young Boys did not phase them at all, they kept the pressure on and scored one of their own. Oulo’s Yacouba Diané played the most gifted of games and his skill at the age of 24 confirms that there are green skies lying in front of him and his team. The second try of Oulo showcased perfectly what this team can do if all clicks together. Early in the second half, the Young Boys saw themselves fourteen points down and looked ready to collapse. Exactly at that point, the Warriors threw a spanner in their own radarworks, letting Amadou Sankoh slip through their ranks and giving the Young Boys that bit of hope. It lasted exactly six minutes, till the Warriors kicked a penalty between the posts and even if a third try from Kada brought a little tension to the business end, the victory from the Warriors was a correct representation of the game. They’re the sole unbeaten side in town and show that rather than plucky outsiders, they might be the winners-to-be.

Massagui Raiders kicked off the season with the same ambition but the home loss frustrated them no little. “Losing is no option in this concept - if you want the title, then a single loss gets the wind out of your sails and you’re handed over to the seas. A second loss and your vessel is food for the sharks,” manager Coulibaly opted for the more nautical reference. However, as dramatic as he worded is, there is a core of truth entailed - if they wanted to remain ambitious, a loss against Garo was no option. It speaks for the Raiders that such never seemed to be on the books. Stephane Moussa directed the play whilst Aliou Sakho made the infiltrations and the only reason why Garo were still on contention at half-time, having a penalty to respond to the opening try from Sory, was their splendid organisation. Yet, they lacked the punch to escape the pressure as their wingers never got a proper chance to escape. And the one time Niane caught it at full speed, giving Garo the chance to spank Massagui for their lack of efficiency, the College winger dropped it. Massagui grabs a logical win, the title race looks like a three-horse one.

Unless the Tigers find a new breath? Their opening day defeat at the hands of College had been quite a painful affair for the team from Bogourma and the atmosphere in their cosy stadium with a direct sight on the Ngta River was far from relaxed. Things did not get better when Sarou managed to score an opening try through an almost childish easy combination through the heart of the Bogourma defensive line. Whilst the crowd started to grumble and tutter, initially no one seemed to stand up. But the Pirates forgot to punish the Tigers for their lacklustre performance and at half-time, it seemed as if Bogourma brought a completely different group of fifteen players to the stadium. Kondo Kaboré, the Tank of the Tigers started to push his team closer to the opposition goal line and eventually Lamine Doudou managed to draw level with a stunning pirouette. Exactly that sufficed for Bogourma to recover mentally and go up and over. Sarou lacked the physical momentum and Koanda missed the only decent chance - whilst Bogourma took their chances.

Week 3

Young Boys Kada 19–22 Oulo Warriors
Garo College 3–14 Massagui Raiders
Bogourma Tigers 19–7 Sarou Pirates

1 Young Boys Kada 3 2 0 1 65 43 +22 2 10
2 Massagui Raiders 3 2 0 1 62 43 +19 2 10
3 Oulo Warriors 2 2 0 0 52 36 +16 1 9
4 Garo College 3 1 0 2 24 30 −6 1 5
5 Bogourma Tigers 2 1 0 1 29 28 +1 0 4
6 Sarou Pirates 3 1 0 2 27 57 −30 0 4
7 Djalenga Redshirts 2 0 0 2 49 71 −22 1 1

So far, this has not been the season of the Redshirts. Whilst their performance was not necessarily insufficient and the production of tries ticked all boxes, they had come across as leaky at best and inapt defensively at worst. No wonder that the pressure was on for the visit from the Young Boys, the kind of clash that caught the attention of the supporters and neutrals alike. However, Djalenga seemed to have learned nothing from the openers, rushing forward as if there was no tomorrow and by half time, they had paid the price twice already for this behaviour. It seemed as if Kada chuckled a little at the rash and reckless opposition, trying to send Sankoh, Ngadeu and Dia through it time and time again - and seeing this tactic work sufficiently to lean back. The contrast in maturity between the two sides struck and when they converted a third try, the game seemed done. Djalenga could have leaned back and cut their losses but doubled down and rushed forth like madman. That full back Idrissa Samba eventually marked, started a late all-or-nothing (as if that’s not their style all the time already) but it didn’t result in anything. “This is us and how we play,” Aboubakar Dia explained afterwards, but it doesn’t result in points.

Far from the focus, Oulo did a clinical job against Garo College. From previous games, we’ve seen that the men from the industrial metropole can bring a line-up to the kick-off which makes that extra metres for one another, avoiding holes through the defensive line. It is the setup for a very difficult eighty minutes for the Warriors but they avoided that pitfall of nervosity with a quick and converted opening try from Moussa Thiam - a real textbook play. Garo found themselves on unknown ground, forced to move out. It was clear that there was both a lack of pure capacity to do so and even a bit of unwillingness. When College eventually took their risks, they got caught out and only a fluky late score from their own got them an extra point for the tables. Oulo Warriors, on the other hand, start to propel themselves into the position of title candidate with a good streak, tactically flexible rugby and a posterboy in Yacouba Diane.

We can round up our analysis with the Raiders who underlined that the Kaorak 7 enters the business end with three remaining title candidates. The Bogourma Tigers had aspired to open up that race but found themselves to be the lesser team against a Massagui that chose for the long, physical game. Although Bogourma has its fair share of tanks, they can be worn out and when stamina kicks in, it seems as if the Raiders have more aces up their sleeve then most. Even if the kickers were not in form, the supporters got to see four tries in the second half with a spectacular 70-yard rush from Abedi Guané taking the top marks for execution. The way the Tigers gave up in the last twenty metres of that try formed the symbolic full stop after the affairs.

Week 4

Massagui Raiders 15–5 Bogourma Tigers
Oulo Warriors 15–7 Garo College
Djalenga Redshirts 14–21 Young Boys Kada

1 Young Boys Kada 4 3 0 1 86 57 +29 2 14
2 Massagui Raiders 4 3 0 1 77 48 +29 2 14
3 Oulo Warriors 3 3 0 0 67 43 +24 1 13
4 Garo College 4 1 0 3 31 45 −14 2 6
5 Bogourma Tigers 3 1 0 2 34 43 −9 0 4
6 Sarou Pirates 3 1 0 2 27 57 −30 0 4
7 Djalenga Redshirts 3 0 0 3 63 92 −29 2 2

The Raiders had manoeuvred themselves back into the action last week with a solid performance, both tactically and physically. For some reason, they saw a visit to Sarou, considered by some as the weakest element of the table, as the perfect moment to drop the ball and put themselves almost out of contention. The Pirates started without a lot of juice and after only five minutes, a try from Raiders’ Oudeyi seemed to send the result in the expected direction. The side seemed to steam on from last time around, with Stephane Moussa playing a pivotal role again in putting everyone in the right place. When Sarou got a try out of the blue, no one seemed to panic yet. But in the opening bit of the second part, the Pirates broke through a second time and converted the Attegui try, putting Massagui on the spot. Suddenly, all confidence slipped from their hands, balls got dropped and at some point, it rather looked as if Sarou would score a third one and seal the deal rather than Massagui crawling back. They did so, not without a little luck, but leave an illusion poorer.

With Massagui falling back and the Young Boys sitting out this one, Oulo Warriors were left with a prime opportunity to manoeuvre themselves back in the slipstream. A visit to Bogourma, the longest trip possible in this league, was one marred with bad luck. It started with the absence of Thiam, who was on a great form but ripped his calf muscles in the build-up, and went on with their bus breaking down along the route. Eventually, the players were helped out by the few travelling fans and some friendly volunteers who delivered the team just in time to avoid a forfait score but it goes without saying that the Warriors looked less structured than usual. The Tigers, eager to show they’re more than cannon fodder, did their best but only managed to score a penalty before the half-time whistle. A lost chance by a team that’s not making the most out of their capacities as after tea, the Warriors overcame their shock and sent Bogourma into one. The opening try from Diane was A-class material, the remainder was mature and decisive. “We’re taking it one game at a time,” experienced Warrior Diakité tried to fend off the pressure but the fact is that they’re growing from an underdog into the title favorite.

In the shadow of these two results, Djalenga finally managed to grab that coveted first victory of the season. The Redshirts visited a Garo College that played decent initially but saw themselves reduced to fourteen men early in the game and subsequently fell apart. The - rightly so - much lauded organisation from the most unheralded side of the competition suddenly became loose sand and Redshirts were darting past them left and right. All in all, Djalenga only have themselves to blame that they didn’t manage to score that important fourth try and bring in the always interesting bonus point. With the clock counting down, too many players chose for personal glory over a collective result and when the last whistle resounded, it were not the butchered Garo ruggers that started to quarrel amongst one another but Redshirts Nii Bassa and Valens Sissako who got nose-to-nose. A dark spot on a massive victory.

Week 5

Garo College 0–24 Djalenga Redshirts
Bogourma Tigers 6–21 Oulo Warriors
Sarou Pirates 12–12 Massagui Raiders

1 Oulo Warriors 4 4 0 0 88 49 +39 1 17
2 Massagui Raiders 5 3 1 1 89 60 +29 2 16
3 Young Boys Kada 4 3 0 1 86 57 +29 2 14
4 Djalenga Redshirts 4 1 0 3 87 92 −5 2 6
5 Sarou Pirates 4 1 1 2 39 69 −30 0 6
6 Garo College 5 1 0 4 31 69 −38 2 6
7 Bogourma Tigers 4 1 0 3 40 64 −24 0 4

When one squints his eyes already a bit, you can see the trophy already - an oversized scale kindly presented by the Ministry. And what’s more, some claim that you can already see the name of the first winner engraved in it as well. Oulo Warriors walked on the pitch for a mission which could not fail in theory - and practice, these often are the hairiest games. Not so for the Warriors who scored a try via Salomon Aoudou in the opening minutes, doubled up through Yacouba Diane (who else?) quickly after and subsequently consolidated with a natural authority. It did not result in the best game of rugby ever witnessed on Mkabian fields but the dominance said all you needed to know about Oulo - someone was saving the batteries for the game in Massagui, a chance to make it six victories in a row and win the inaugural Kaorak 7. It must be said that the Pirates seemed to be running for an unreachable ball all game long and walked off torn to pieces, whilst the Warriors looked fresher than ever. One more game and this could be it.

The Young Boys had to salvage their chances for glory at home against Garo College and they were not the first to discover that this was easier on paper than in practice. The Kids, as Garo is getting nicknamed over their average age, got a whipping against Djalenga but looked determined to get their revenge. Once again, the organisation was where it had to be and with an early penalty in their advantage on the books, they seemed to cement the stone wall they put up. A Kada goal turning it 3-3 could have been the sign to open up more but they left Young Boys to storm the wall, without much initial success. Fast guys Sankoh, Sory and Dia got stopped in their track time and time again, annulling the laborious efforts from their desperate teammates. In the end, it took a stroke of brilliance from Yao Tchagnirou to break the deadlock: a no look pass in the reverse direction caught a few College players wrongfooted and Amadou Sankoh made use of the sole bit of space he had seen all evening. The Young Boys are still in the race but they don’t have their cards in hand anymore - and a tricky visit to Bogourma on the agenda.

The Tigers did not yet manage to impress so far but seemed to have saved it up for a clash with Djalenga. One did not need to be a fan of either team to appreciate the eighty minutes brought to the audience. It seems as if the PR responsible from the Redshirts had chosen the perfect timing for a buy one, get one initiative, resulting in a packed stadium with over ten thousand fans - quite ignoring the maximum capacity of their romantic stadium, the Acacia Avenue. The home team took off best and opened the score, but the middle section of the confrontation was for the Tigers. Was it frustration, was it anger or simply the obvious talent finally clicking together? Fact is that Rahim Tall and François Kéré formed the backbone of a side that suddenly looked on par with the title candidates. And then, yet again, they managed to throw it all away. Too eager to look for a third and maybe even fourth try, which could assure them of the midtable position ahead of the final confrontation, Bogourma lost sight of Valens Sissako for half a second. It is whispered that his position in the Djalenga dressing room is contested but fact is that his combination of strength and speed is a weapon - and Bogourma fell victim to it.

Week 6

Oulo Warriors 14–3 Sarou Pirates
Djalenga Redshirts 15–14 Bogourma Tigers
Young Boys Kada 13–3 Garo College

1 Oulo Warriors 5 5 0 0 102 52 +50 1 21
2 Young Boys Kada 5 4 0 1 99 60 +39 2 18
3 Massagui Raiders 5 3 1 1 89 60 +29 2 16
4 Djalenga Redshirts 5 2 0 3 102 106 −4 2 10
5 Sarou Pirates 5 1 1 3 42 83 −41 0 6
6 Garo College 6 1 0 5 34 82 −48 2 6
7 Bogourma Tigers 5 1 0 4 54 79 −25 1 5

KICK-OFF ::: The pressure is on for the final day of the Kaorak 7. All sides, apart from Garo College which has completed their six games, take on the pitch. Most eyes will be on the confrontations between Bogourma and Kada at one hand, and Massagui and Oulo at the other. The Oulo Warriors win the league if they avoid a loss, but if the Raiders grab a home victory, the Young Boys are back in the picture.

Min 4 - Sarou - Djalenga 3-0 ::: Amidst the title tension, few have their attention on the third confrontation. Sarou showed some signs of progress this season but lacked consistency. A home victory could nonetheless complete the scorecard as rather positive.

Min 12 - Bogourma - Kada 5-0 ::: Kada depends on the game in Massagui but of course, they need to make it a successful one themselves. That mission seems to falter early on with Bogourma storming the lines from the Young Boys. A first opportunity was called off by the referee but this try from Rahim Tall stands.

Min 17 - Massagui - Oulo 5-0 ::: Is the pressure getting the better from the Warriors? The matter of fact is that Massagui looked better in the opening section of the game and managed to convert that into an early lead - notwithstanding the fact that they failed to convert as the kick from Moussa dies on the right post.

Min 27 - Sarou - Djalenga 3-10 ::: Djalenga started the season with three consecutive losses but looks determined to balance their final statistics. Excellent bit of rugby by them with a try from Nii Bassa. We’re not going to say that all is well but there is no reason to presume that they will not be in the title mix next year.

Min 36 - Bogourma - Kada 5-7 ::: The Young Boys take the initiative! It wasn’t the nicest of tries but it was a successful one nonetheless. The scrum from Kada gets dragged over the line and despite the protests from the Tigers, the try stands. That they manage to convert it only adds insult to injury. The home team does not look as if they’ll accept that.

Min 39 - Massagui - Oulo 5-3 ::: It was from far out but Yacouba Diané takes his responsibility and kicks a perfect penalty from over forty yards away. The Warriors’ star did not have his most successful game so far and suffered some harsh tackles already, but this score just ahead of half-time could revive the ambitions.

Min 45 - Bogourma - Kada 5-10 ::: Aristide Feindouno is not the best player of the competition, but there is a big chance that he’ll walk off the pitch with the best conversion rate of the league. Despite a tricky angle, Feindouno hits it in the sweet spot and sends it over the bar.

Min 46 - Sarou - Djalenga 6-10 ::: The Pirates want to close their season on a positive note, making this last one a game to go to the wire. At last, the penalty gets converted - it’s their sixth of the game already...

Min 54 - Sarou - Djalenga 6-20 ::: … but Djalenga replies without mercy. They know Sarou needs to get their points from the kicker as they cannot get the leather towards the goalposts manually. So this try by Sissako, an intricate routine with a lot of movement, probably seals the deal.

Min 60 - Bogourma - Kada 12-10 ::: All decided in Sarou but nothing said yet in Bogourma. The Tigers claw their way back into it - or rather, drag it. The firepower available pushes it in the danger zone and then Lamine Doudou, by far the nimblest player on the Bogourma side makes a run for it. Young Boys Kada remain three points down to Oulo in this situation and even drop to third - it’s money time.

Min 62 - Massagui - Oulo 8-3 ::: It starts to become a strange game over in Massagui. The Raiders technically still are in for the title, but only if they win this one with four tries and a gap over eight points. It’s not their best of games and they find themselves crashing into the Warriors defensive line over and over. Oulo, well aware of the results in Bogourma know that all they have to do to win the league it to keep the gap down. There’s little chance that Kada will walk off with a win and a bonus point - if they grab theirs, the direct confrontation crowns them as champions. Eventually, Massagui decide to go for the drop goal, if only to get the game going and force the Oulo hand to react.

Min 65 - Bogourma - Kada 12-17 ::: Sédounody Soré might only be twenty years of age, he recognises the big moments to stand up and make the difference. In the opening game, he decided the derby against Sarou with two tries and now he scores another one at a crucial moment. One moment of hesitation gets exploited by Kada, a marvellous score and rejoice amongst their ranks… But it’s not enough yet for the title - Oulo and Kada are tied right now.

Min 76 - Massagui - Oulo 13-3 :::Drama in Massagui! Oulo Warriors kept their barrier all evening long but with 200 seconds left on the clock, they crumbled and saw Fall getting the ball in the in-goal. There were whispers about Kada being on four tries, getting in front in the table, around the stands, did that cause Oulo to drop its organisation? Fact is that with this try, the whole plan to form a hurdle and avoid any sort of rugby now backfires spectacularly. Can they still make something from their last shot?

Min 79 - Massagui - Oulo 16-3 ::: No, no they can’t. With everyone rushing forth, the Raiders sprint into the gaping hole. Kamsong opts for a brutal foul but the conversion from the Raiders doesn’t even matter anymore. Oulo Warriors lost their first game of the season but it is enough to see them fall back to second. Young Boys Kada wins the title with a nice victory over a courageous Bogourma, Oulo are left in tears and Massagui leave the ground, probably thinking about that Sarou draw… One victor and plenty of teams eager to do better next season.

Week 7

Bogourma Tigers 12–17 Young Boys Kada
Sarou Pirates 6–20 Djalenga Redshirts
Massagui Raiders 16–3 Oulo Warriors

1 Young Boys Kada 6 5 0 1 116 72 +44 2 22
2 Oulo Warriors 6 5 0 1 105 68 +37 1 21
3 Massagui Raiders 6 4 1 1 105 63 +42 2 20
4 Djalenga Redshirts 6 3 0 3 122 112 +10 2 14
5 Garo College 6 1 0 5 34 82 −48 2 6
6 Bogourma Tigers 6 1 0 5 66 96 −30 2 6
7 Sarou Pirates 6 1 1 4 48 103 −55 0 6


1. Yacouba Diané (Oulo Warriors) 162
2. Stephane Moussa (Massagui Raiders) 153
3. Yao Tchagnirou (Young Boys Kada) 117
4. Valens Sissako (Djalenga Redshirts) 72
5. Amadou Sankoh (Young Boys Kada) 39
6. Aliou Sakho (Massagui Raiders) 31
7. Sédounody Soré (Young Boys Kada) 24
8. Kondo Kaboré (Bogourma Tigers) 23
9. Aio Diakité (Oulo Warriors) 16
10. Aristide Feindouno (Young Boys Kada) 15

Most tries

1. Valens Sissako (Djalenga Redshirts) 6
2. Amadou Sankoh (Young Boys Kada) 5
=. Sédounody Soré (Massagui Raiders) 5

Most points

1. Aristide Feindouno (Young Boys Kada) 43
2. Stéphane Moussa (Massagui Raiders) 35
3. Idrissa Samba (Djalenga Redshirts) 34

User avatar
Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:27 am

Mkabia Premier League
Preview Season 20/21

               DEMBANA STAR               

Manager: Abderrahman Dia (54)
Stadium: The Cove (4.500 seats)
System: Diamond 4-4-2
Nickname: The Eels

Considered: Relegation Battler

Sold: Hervé Kouassi (Bogourma Lions, 40Kf)
Bought: Oumarou Tankary (Royal Garo, 150Kf); Shaun Killdinny (Regional Development Side C, SCT, 0Kf)

Line-up: GK Bobo Yarou MKB 25 68
LD Sidi Kanu MKB 24 63
CD Moustapha Yabré MKB 33 62 (C)
CD Yves Kouamé MKB 26 65
RD Idrissa Chikoto MKB 31 70
DM Sekouba Tamboura MKB 20 57
CM Kassoum Aoudou MKB 27 73
CM Oumarou Tankary MKB 24 59
AM Yahia Conté MKB 23 65
ST Ibrahima Séré MKB 34 72
ST Shaun Killdinny SCT 20 71

Are we talking about unheralded sides? Well, now we are, aren’t we. Star did not leave the deepest of impressions in the opening season but did manage to find their way into the opening season of the Premier Division - even if some wonder what on earth they’ll do there. Dembana is the smallest city which is represented in the league and one can deduct this from their limited wealth, making the transfer season quite a challenge. Their main concern was to find a more efficient forward pairing but putting your faith in an unknown Scottian quantity is quite a risk. Shaun Killdinny could link up nicely with veteran Séré and make a name for himself… Or turn out to be a step in the wrong direction. Fact is that Dembana needed to sell Kouassi to the lower leagues to reinforce their midfield with Tankary, a player who never managed to convince with Royal Garo.

It gives manager Dia, a pensive man who is notorious for his rigid training schemes and ditto inflexibility tactically, a mixed bag with notoriously few rough diamonds. Bobo Yarou can be considered sufficient to stand the heat at this level, even though his size makes him vulnerable on high crosses. The back-four pairing will have to prioritize knowing one another and a systematic offside trap over speed or personal class. Nonetheless, they look a tad better than the midfield which hinges heavily on local boy Kassoum Aoudou - a typical club player who has better feet than most but who leads the troops on all occasions. Keep an eye out for Conté, swift, small and - if not bullied out of the game - dangerous.

Their odds for survival nonetheless depend on the duo up front. Idrissa Séré is by all definitions the star of this side. Not only does he take care of the goal production, he brings the spectacle the fans crave for. Surprisingly supple for his length yet powerful, Séré forms a handful for any defender. But his star quality is in his outrageous celebrations, discussions with the referee and big interviews with the press. Killdinny is a question mark but looked like a big, strong lad during preseason. They could form a unit that keeps Dembana afloat but only if they click both off and on the pitch - crucial for this team’s survival. They’re top of the list in terms of relegation, but do have outs if they can bring their strikers in the right positions.

               DJALENGA FOOT               

Manager: Eric Ouattara (46)
Stadium: Stade Duval (7.000 seats)
System: 4-1-3-2 with wingers
Nickname: The Zebras

Considered: Challenger Cup Candidate

Sold: Yaya Diop (Etoile Bokandé, 50Kf), Ilias Saré (Les Onze N’Goba, 50Kf)
Bought: Fern MacEanraig (Central Stars, SCT, 800Kf), Falaye Kambou (Dragons de Massagui, 300Kf)

Line-up: GK Zanzan Yattara MKB 21 63
LD Amadou Kpatoumbi MKB 20 73
CD Harouna Dayo MKB 23 69
CD Falaye Kambou MKB 22 70
RD Trova Sesay MKB 27 62
DM Sadio Konaté MKB 25 63
CM Fern MacEanraig SCT 29 81
LW Anthony Sesay MKB 29 59 (C)
RW Daouda Sissako MKB 27 71
ST Ousseni Dagano MKB 21 76
ST Moise Bundu MKB 31 71

Some sides easily slide into the role of fan favourites, others are destined to remain the ugly duckling. Djalenga Foot are the former, the result of playing attractive football - in general - with a lot of promising youngsters. The current selection walks into these footsteps as the gaffer chose to send off two of the more veteran players. Ouattara is a former Foot player himself and fully subscribes to the values of the club although this preference could get them into a sticky situation against more cynical opposition. It is telling that Diop, the only senior defender, got sold without much remorse to an opponent whilst Ilias Saré had to make room for a stronger lynchpin. It’s exactly that transfer that shows the ambition of Foot, who will not want to go down anonymously in the ICFC.

The defensive line is young but promising - the only older one, Sesay, might be the key liability. Keep an eye out for Kpatoumbi, a future international, and Falaye Kambou who saw his progress blocked in the ranks of the national champion and who now aspires to bloom with Djalenga. There’s plenty of footballing prowess in the defensive ranks but will they have the power, and especially goalie Yattara the consistency, to make it through a whole season in style? This might depend on whether or not the unpronounceable Fern MacEanraig will click with this side or not. She’s a passer, a deep-lying playmaker who chooses for football but the Schottian plays her first season abroad. If she clicks with those around her - small in posture, big in hearts - this could give marvellous football nights at the small Stade Duval. If not, well… This could be a costly one.

For the production, all eyes are on the same duo as last year. Ousseni Dagano might be the biggest diamond in the collection from Ouattara as the speedy striker slips through offside traps on the daily - but can be bullied out of games. Veteran Moise Bundu, on the other hand, is a real poacher in the box and forms the odd one out when it comes to the jogo bonito from the Zebras. Djalenga Foot will definitely be an asset to the competition and will light up some big games but they will have to be able to do it against physical, defensive opponents as well to park themselves amongst the top ranks.

               DRAGONS DE MASSAGUI               

Manager: Jonathan Diallo (55)
Stadium: The Firepit (16.000 seats)
System: 4-2-3-1
Nickname: The Unbeatables

Considered: Title Favourites

Sold: Falaye Kambou (Djalenga Foot, 300Kf), Donou Boni (Etoile Bokandé, 250Kf)
Bought: Isabella Cassadore (Vermillion Rage, NPH, 1.5Mf), Ibrahim Mamah (Yourougou FC, 700Kf)

Line-up: GK Salim Sankaré MKB 25 85
LD Kamilou Saré MKB 24 82
CD Madou Moutari MKB 26 76
CD Ibrahim Mamah MKB 19 73
RD Aristide Koita MKB 27 59
DM Oumar Bamogo MKB 30 76 (C)
CM Isabella Cassadore NPH 33 84
LW Saliou Bandé MKB 25 63
AM Nii Ghanou MKB 30 72
RW Daré Gakpé MKB 26 78
ST Idrissa Akakpo MKB 23 87

The reigning champion knows exactly what the target is and little will steer them from their course - they are in it for the double. Last season, they blew away the opposition up until the final but after extra time, their class drifted to the surface. The Dragons are the result of what happens when you let an ambitious manager, a wealthy but clever board and a group of ambitious players with growth potential collide together. Jonathan Diallo steers the ship with an iron fist but with results, which pardon his occasional faux-pas towards the press - he’s not afraid to sharpen the tension, both in his team or towards the opposition. It has given them a certain aura of the dominant force, but they enjoy underlining this, as evidenced by their nickname.

However, many wonder whether hunger hasn’t turned into greed. Eager to perform well in the Champions League, they have waved goodbye to some young players who did not stand out in the group of talents but still are considered seizable players, such as Kambou and Boni. The duo had to make room for better or younger - the transfer sum paid for the gifted youngster Ibrahim Mamah is a domestic record, flashing out a million and a half for a foreign playmaker frankly unseen. Yet, Diallo firmly believes that one should push through when being ahead. The line-up is remarkably balanced for a Mkabian side, but the presence of Salim Sankaré between the posts definitely gives them a head start. The strongest goalie in the nation will undoubtedly bring in points.

In front of him, the lanky yet powerful Mamah enters a back line which has internationals Saré and Moutari, a testimony to the quality in this compartment of the pitch. Captain Oumar Bamogo is the glue that holds together the team when they counterattack, as Dragons rarely feels the need to dominate but rather picks its moments to score from a solid organisation. The hardworking Nepharian Cassadore could form a perfect fit with Bamogo - the rumours on her impeccable passing have reached Mkabian shores already and someone who can switch the game in a second fits the plans like a glove. Attacking midfielder Nii Ghanou, who has a bitter sibling rivalry with former Stade, current Royal midfielder Pascal Ghanou, is underestimated and the infiltrations from Daré Gakpé wreck havoc. But the crown jewel in this line-up must be Idrissa Akakpo, a killer in the box who converts for pleasure. His laid-back attitude must cause some grey hairs for the old-school Diallo, but he’s an assurance on goals. With quality in each segment of the pitch, this Massagui has the whole package to grab the title.

               ETOILE BOKANDE               

Manager: Bourama Dianda (64)
Stadium: Stade Communal (9.500 seats)
System: 4-4-2 with a tilted diamond
Nickname: Boka

Considered: Midtable Side

Sold: Mamoutou Sory (Racing Lanyare, 75Kf), Sotigui Bamba (Bokandé Nacional, free), Rahim Barro (retired)
Bought: Deniz Erbil (Almat JK, TMR, 600Kf), Donou Boni (Dragons de Massagui, 250Kf), Yaya Diop (Djalenga Foot, 50Kf)

Line-up: GK Moussa Payé MKB 30 66
LD Tidjani Tchalla MKB 26 65
CD Yaya Diop MKB 33 67
CD Sotigui Haidara MKB 19 64
RD Paul Yatabaré MKB 26 60
DM Donou Boni MKB 22 61
CM Kassaly Traoré MKB 36 63 (C)
LM Saidou Doumbia MKB 25 67
AM Deniz Erbil TMR 20 76
LA Issa Aduama MKB 29 81
RA Cedric Feindouno MKB 33 62

Will this team endanger the top ranks of the Premier League? We dare to doubt it. But will it deliver the fans a series of exciting games? Yes you can. Last season, Boka was considered an interesting outsider that vouched for attacking, high-risk football larded with the occasional shut-out. It made them admirable but it is clear from the of-season that Etoile has no ambition to remain the enjoyable one-trick pony. The management dared to invest in players who should allow them to diversify their tactical plan. What catches our attention even more is that, to cement the backbone of the squad, Dianda is not afraid to shell some frivolous veterans (good players but with a futsal approach to the game) and put his trust in young players - unless more experience is required. Yaya Diop is one of the slower central defenders at this level but still has a few good years in him.

He’ll come into a back line where Haidara catches the attention - he’s the kind of player who could be transferred to greener, richer pastures in the future and Etoile does their utter best to give a man who might bring in a ton of francs in the near future an environment to blossom. The Etoile backline was not necessarily poor last season, but often unsupported. Donou Boni, who will look forward to showing Dragons their mistake to dump him, must now add a bit of balance to the line-up. Balance could be the codeword for Bokandé this season and in theory, these positions should offer more of it. The tilted square in midfield, with Doumbia and Traoré opening up room on the right wing for Yatabaré to sprint into, looks a bit off but should allow them to press in different sections of the pitch.

But the talk of the town is not the tactical modifications from the gaffer but the addition of Deniz Erbil. An unknown quantity from Timuria, he left quite a mark on the squad in the preseason already. His vision and technique offer an additional excitement to the team - especially as he doesn’t seem to be the player to rush forth on pitch or lose track off the field. This leads us into one of the most remarkable partnerships in the competition: Feindouno is 36 centimetres longer than his counterpart Issa Aduama, but it is the latter who can be considered the star player. Small, quick and a powerful left foot, he sparks this team. Feindouno is static and can’t send a pass over more than ten metres, but he does score enough goals to warrant his spot. As a side without explicit caveats, Boka can look to the season with confidence.

               FALAKO SPORTS               

Manager: Lass Ndiaye (35)
Stadium: Stade de la Rive (8.000 seats)
System: 4-2-2-2
Nickname: The Machetes

Considered: Relegation Candidate

Sold: Kassaly Sacko (Stade Sarou, 15Kf), Nii Dembélé (Olou Warriors, 10 Kf), Kamilou Balima (retired)
Bought: Sekouba Yattara (Red Star Kalagouba, 200Kf), Issoumaila Tapsoba (Kouarou Golden Boys, 120Kf), Ivory Meso-Roza (Parrhesia United, NPH, free)

Line-up: GK Fabien Tokplé MKB 23 68
LD Ivory Meso-Roza AUD 30 73
CD Haliru Kompaoré MKB 29 63
CD Trova Bagayoko MKB 27 65
RD Abdallah Kanu MKB 24 64
DM Aziz Sunu MKB 23 69
DM Sekouba Yattara MKB 21 59
AM Rafiou Mawuena MKB 22 59
AM Gerard Bagayoko MKB 26 75 (C)
LA Ilias Saré MKB 25 63
RA Issoumaila Tapsoba MKB 26 65

The first eyecatcher of Sports sits undoubtedly in the dug-out - Lass Ndiaye might still be younger than some of the more heralded players in the competition but has been given full confidence as a manager nonetheless. A man with little experience and only eager to discuss possession statistics, free kick routines and running trajectories with you - he refuses to yell during games as it is ‘a suboptimal practice’ for him. Some consider it a positive sign, seeing the small Falako embrace the future and storm the ranks. Others simply speak of a decision from the wallet, rather than the heart. Falako Sports is up there - or down there, pending on your point of view - with the financially weakest in the league and knew that Ndiaye would’ve taken the job for free as well.

It does give him the chance to start an experiment for which he chose to relegate veteran Dembélé to the lower leagues, a move that didn’t sit well with the fans. Instead, he opted for a trio of players for whom the word ‘overlooked’ could fit. Kouarou’s Tapsoba is considered as a stuntling striker, someone whose fine intentions rarely reap results. Sekouba Yattara failed to breakthrough into the starting line up over in Kalagouba and gets a new chance. And all we discovered so far from Ivory Meso-Roza so far is that the Audioslavian racked up a tally of injuring three players so far - two in friendlies and a colleague in training.

Many wonder which stats served to fit these into the style of Falako, but the raw truth might be that they’re still a bit looking for a signature way of working. The defence is decent, with Tokplé even better than that, but lacks a lot of additional impulses. From the block of six, only Kanu and occasionally Sunu might create something more than a simple pass. And in the attack, all eyes will be on Gerard Bagayoko for whom the captain’s ribbon at twenty-six might be a poisoned chalice. Bagayoko combines physicality and grit with a pair of good feet and a positive attitude - some would even say he’s too good for this squad. But he will need a bit of support from those around him if Falako wants to go far. Or rather, to stay where they are. The lack of quality puts them at the bottom of the pile and gathering enough points to avoid relegation as soon as possible will be everything that’s on the agenda.

               KOUAROU GOLDEN BOYS               

Manager: Dinalo Kébé (57)
Stadium: Gold Arena (12.000 seats)
System: 5-3-1-1
Nickname: The Moles

Considered: Challenger Cup Candidate

Sold: Issoumaila Tapsoba (Falako Sports, 120Kf)
Bought: Baslios Tesmegen (Busukuma AC, BNJ, 700Kf)

Line-up: GK Abdul Balima MKB 23 56
LD Mamane Compaoré MKB 27 75
CD Baissama Kambou MKB 20 65
CD Sambegou Ouedraogo MKB 32 70 (C)
CD José Sy MKB 24 60
RD Herve Doudou MKB 30 72
DM Ibrahima Diop MKB 21 62
CM Mustapha Zongo MKB 29 67
AM Mamadou Zongo MKB 26 83
SS Baslios Temesgen BNJ 35 80
ST Banou Issiaka MKB 19 75

Kouarou is a city that has always been considered as a bit of the odd one out in the make-up of Mkabia. Not in the least because the territory in the deep east had been bundled together in the national borders by those who colonised the area, ignoring traditional sensitivities. On top of that, the city has a sharp divide between the haves and have-nots, a consequence of an industry which has boomed over the last few decades in this region: mining. A limited circle of people made enough money from it to bankroll football teams, the majority is happy to scrape enough francs to, at the end of the week, be able to afford a ticket for the match. The ray of light which is the beautiful game for many, as such makes the fans particularly loyal and dedicated - and the hatred to any opposing team, but especially one from the capital quite sensible.

Despite the established wealth from the club owners, it did not seem for a long time that the Moles - a slur turned badge of honour, based on the former amateurs who played by night and worked in the mines by day - would splash their cash on the international market as some of their opponents. Some journalists claim that a few negotiations were dead-end streets, some disgruntled fans claim the board refused to invest and rather focuses on embellishing the ironically named Gold Arena - as it has seen its best days. Fact is that only on deadline day, Baslios Temesgen was acquired. The Temesgen earned his stripes at the pinnacle of the Banijan Soccer League and is one of the most notorious names to enter the Mkabian competition. But does he still have the legs at 35 to propel this team in the right direction?

Part of his task will be to guide young striker Banou Issiaka - talented, tall, powerful but not always efficient - to become the weapon in the system of Kébé. The 5-3-1-1 looks more defensive than it is in practice with high wingbacks, most notably Compaoré who packs a good cross. The defensive unit is not so special and goalie Balima downright mediocre. Yet, the Golden Boys could make a claim on an international ticket based upon the pair of brothers in midfield. Mustapha Zongo makes the miles and connects defense and attack whilst the short and stocky Mamadou directs the play. On top of a brilliant passing, he possesses a mean free kick, something which the Golden Boys don’t hesitate to use as a weapon. If Temesgen and Issiaka can cross nationalities and age gaps, Kouarou could end up scoring more goals than their subpar defense avoids, parking them closer to the podium than one would suspect.

               OLYMPIQUE GARO               

Manager: Fallai Souna (61)
Stadium: Higher Ground (18.000 seats)
System: 4-3-3, point to the back
Nickname: The Meteors

Considered: Title Outsider

Sold: Salomon Cissé (Union Kada, 550Kf), Harouna Agboh (Royal Garo, 30Kf)
Bought: Leigh Tudor (The Warriors, SCT, 750Kf), Madou Yago (Bogourma Lions, 200Kf)

Line-up: GK Salif Doumbouya MKB 28 62
LD Denké Sesay MKB 31 80 (C)
CD Paul Diamouténé MKB 19 72
CD Madou Yago MKB 32 71
RD Toussaint Womé MKB 21 74
DM Alain Boni MKB 27 66
CM Mo Diop MKB 30 57
AM José Dianda MKB 28 65
LW Daouda Assanté MKB 28 80
ST Leigh Tudor BRE 33 82
RW Romeo Nibombe MKB 30 75

Last season, this team came within minutes of a victory of the Coupe, which then served as the sole national competition but as anyone knows in football - you’re only as good as your last game. As such, it’s quite a surprise that Olympique made a point of holding on to their principles, including hanging on to manager Fallai Souna. The man had gotten into a conflict with star striker Salomon Cissé over the course of last season and eventually the board chose to stand by Souna: whilst Cissé got off-loaded to Kada, the team didn’t get any younger as the gaffer couldn’t spend as much as some colleagues and chose to bring in experience: Yago in a capped international for Mkabia and Tudor scored his share for the Whalers in one of the most demanding second tiers of the multiverse - but both are on the wrong side of thirty.

It results in a line-up with only two players younger than 27 and with a goalie that doesn’t seem capable to consistently grab those points when required: Doumbouya is not necessarily a poor keeper, but alternates between the best and worst performances. The midfield doesn’t look like much to consider either: Boni, Diop and Dianda are all loyal soldiers and make it difficult for any opponent to produce their game, but won’t dictate the rhythm themselves. So far, none of the casual observers would give a dime on the odds of the Meteors and yet, they are considered as title candidates across the country.

The defensive line makes quite some heads turn and is potentially the best one in the nation. Both Sesay and Yago are part of the national team, whilst Womé and Diamouténé are on the brink of earning a first call-up. Especially the latter, tall and with a decent pair of feet, could become a defining player of his generation. The added knowledge of Yago might give him the platform to take next steps, a partnership for the ages. And then we haven’t discussed the frontline yet. Daouda Assanté is a pure winger who sticks to the sideline - he connects particularly well with Sesay there - but will drive a defender mad whilst whipping in crosses to the box. It is not rare to see these converted by Nibombe, a strong fellow, a late bloomer who seems to smell a bit of space. New recruit Leigh Tudor should turn this duo into a new trident, making the fans forget the existence of Cissé. The Brenecian is a big, clever poacher, exactly the kind of player who scores that late winner that gets your team to the top of the table - and Olympique definitely aspires to do that.

               RED STAR KALAGOUBA               

Manager: Jean-Eduard Missé (46)
Stadium: Valley Arena (10.500 seats)
System: 4-3-3, point to the front
Nickname: The Bees

Considered: Midtable Side

Sold: Sekouba Yattara (Falako Sports, 200Kf), Wassiou Kéré (Standard Tangbou, 25Kf)
Bought: Artemis Kyser (Wrexton FC, APX, 700Kf), Boubacar Koné (AS Songto, 300Kf)

Line-up: GK Bassira Adanhouma MKB 28 66
LD Lamine Bamogo MKB 25 53
CD Kanfory Séka MKB 28 70
CD Aziz Bagayoko MKB 27 52
RD Moctar Simporé MKB 28 72
DM Boubacar Koné MKB 25 75
CM Artemis Kyser APX 35 79
AM Koffi Baio MKB 33 76 (C)
LW Toussaint Gakpé MKB 23 72
ST Henri Coulibaly MKB 20 70
RW Nii Mamah MKB 34 63

Kalagouba is one of those cities which energetically attempts to overcome a provincial reputation and demeanor - and so far exactly managed to achieve the opposite because of it. For the Red Star fans, managing to beat a club from regional powerhouse Garo always is a treat whilst Olympique and Royal probably just see it as ‘just another game’. Something which probably annoys the Bees even more. The board of Red Star is known to be quite tight and with that in mind, it is all the more remarkable that they dared to invest in a midfield which might have a lack of stamina and speed, but packs a lot of footballing brains. It’s a conclusion that goes with the complete line-up, which looks like an interesting side in its own right but could get bullied out of contention in confrontations with more sturdy opposition.

Adanhouma between the posts is a story at its own as the war survivor notoriously lacks two fingers of his right hand - but it doesn’t halt him from being a keeper with great reflexes and astonishing guts one-on-one. He’ll need that as well with a back four that’s not necessarily poor but… Ok, maybe it is fairly poor. It’s a group of slow butchers of which only Simporé can be trusted with the ball. Kanfory Séka, nonetheless, is a force of nature and can push an opposing striker out of the game. No, if there is something on which the fans of Red Star trust, it’s the midfield. Boubacar Koné comes over from AS Songto, a neat transfer to bring in a Mkabian international who seemed stuck with lower-league football. As a defensive midfielder, he’s the whole package despite his lack of height but he chases the leather like a bulldog.

Still, the newcomer with most eyes on him is Artemis Kyser. The Apoxian brings leadership and consistency, parting way from a team where he was a household name. Balancing the team will form a new challenge for him, as will be playing with Koffi Baio. The eccentric midfield has stunning mastery of the ball and can decide it with one touch, but evenly disappears from the limelight every once and awhile. Two players with years under their belt, but their connection will determine if Red Star look at the top half or the bottom of the table - can they make eachother better? If so, they can feed Coulibaly enough to find some well-needed consistency for the young striker. Keep an eye out for Gakpé, who’s fast and eager to shoot from a distance (sometimes even on goal).

               ROYAL GARO               

Manager: Aristide Traoré (57)
Stadium: Stade des Rois (8.000 seats)
System: 4-3-1-2
Nickname: The Purple Train

Considered: Midtable Side

Sold: Oumarou Tankary (Dembana Star, 150Kf), Habib Souleymane (Garo Club, 40Kf), Alain Koudou (retired)
Bought: Ephraim Mirzian (Marketville, EUR, 1Mf), Pascal Ghanou (Stade Djalenga, 200Kf), Harouna Agboh (Olympique Garo, 50Kf)

Line-up: GK Dramane Bakary MKB 37 60 (C)
LD Eric Yattara MKB 24 74
CD Kassaly Souna MKB 31 62
CD Harouna Agboh MKB 32 58
RD Sory Yarou MKB 23 59
LM Jules Tchangai MKB 21 65
CM Adama Yameogo MKB 25 72
RM Paul Condé MKB 24 76
AM Pascal Ghanou MKB 29 62
ST Ephraim Mirzian NPH 29 81
ST Lonsana Rouamba MKB 26 69

The Purple Train, the Royals, those goddamn snobs and aristocrats - in short, the team everyone loves to hate. Rooted in an industry town such as Garo, it is no surprise that the majority of the population stands by Olympique (and some of the cool cats support Garo Club) but nonetheless, new and old money found themselves gathered in the purple-clad side. It is easy to criticise them, but still they’ve got their things together on and off the pitch. The preposterously named Stade des Rois is fairly small but the most modern of Mkabian stadiums and bolsters a ditto training complex. And well aware that the opening season of the competition could determine much of the faith of a club in this competition, they did not hesitate to bring out the cheque books and reinforce a side that performed rocky at best lately.

Gaffer Aristide Traoré is the face of this selection - overly convinced of his qualities and those of his selection, not afraid to throw a bone at the press and what is worst, even right every once and awhile. He swears by his plan and arrogantly refuses to bow to the opposition's plan, even if he should. Yet, from the transfer season seems to speak a certain craftsmanship. Agboh is another mediocre defender to a list bookended by a goalkeeper who is far past his prime, but at least he adds some fighting spirit. Many are still unsure what to do with Pascal Ghanou - was he just too frail to make it in professional football or should one bolster his touch and will a new environment bring out the best?

But the icing on the cake was a lavish one million for Ephraim Mirzian which could either be a brilliant move or a setup for failure. His time in Stahlburg was mixed and the Nepharim could not convince all doubters in Marketville. Some say his numbers are mediocre but a player with years in the Eura Gold League on his name could possibly wreck havoc in this competition. If the investment pays off, Mirzian can finally offer the rock up front which allows promising midfielders Condé and Tchangai to bring out their best football. Especially the former is one that figures on ones-to-watch lists across the nation with his speed and strong cross and has a good partnership with Yattara going on, making them a wing to reckon. Some put them in the relegation mix, others consider them as good as their bitter city rivals - it will take 22 games to know more about these guys.

               STADE DJALENGA               

Manager: Titi Sissako (53)
Stadium: River Stadium (27.000 seats)
System: 4-4-2 with narrow diamond
Nickname: The Capitals

Considered: Title Candidate

Sold: Pascal Ghanou (Royal Garo, 200Kf), Idrissa Lingani (TP Massagui, 50Kf), Issoumaila Fall (retired)
Bought: Akhil Sabil (Namiri Forest, ZWZ, 1.2Mf), Groaré Sasca (KF Koflir, QUS, 600Kf), Lamine Koura (Yourougou FC, 350Kf)

Line-up: GK Blaise Nikiema MKB 29 77 (C)
LD Akhil Sabil ZWZ 27 83
CD Adekambi Ossam MKB 29 62
CD Serge Bamogo MKB 26 73
RD Djibril Bambara MKB 24 74
DM Lamine Koura MKB 23 70
CM Zakaria Mlapa MKB 27 82
CM Djibril Diallo MKB 22 63
AM Groaré Sasca FFD 31 80
SS Fodé Siry MKB 28 82
ST Mamadouba Diawara MKB 25 87

The most rigid view of the title race considers it a duel mano-a-mano and if the Dragons are the title holders, then Stade is their enthused challenger. And who are we to doubt a side that already looked capable of putting up a fight last time, and walks out of the dressing room reinforced? Stade Djalenga has the flair and confidence from a side from the capital, combined with the classy combination of dark red and maroon which their opponents consider to be the exclamation point of their consideration of style over efficiency. Despite his age, Sissako already knows the tricks like an old fox and knows that he has a group which is only on the rise. No wonder that he chose to shell three guys who raised the average age over a duo of foreigners who bring in quality by the pound and a promising youngster.

The first one to join the ranks is Zwangzugian Akhil Sabil, a transfer which slipped under the radar and of which the transfer sum is only a bold estimate by our in-house economists. Even if some overlooked the addition of the polyvalent defender, he is a player who graced the pitch during the latest World Cup - Djalenga could use guys with some experience in big games. On top of that, he still has plenty of good years in front of him and allows the back four of Stade, who broke down once too often in the decisive moments, to shore up. Far more in the headlines was the acquisition of Groaré Sasca. Some claim that his best days are behind him after a stint in Qusmo delivered mixed results - which saw him dropped from the national squad from the Farves (yup, that’s the word, apparently). Nonetheless, there’s vast experience, a unique through pass and a pair of quality feet - enough to set this league ablaze.

In doing so, these two can count on some domestic talent as well. Nikiema lacks some presence in the box but is a well-rounded goalie nonetheless. Newcomer Koura has potential whilst the energy from box-to-box Mlapa and young puppy Diallo allows Stade to press an opponent against their own goal. And then we haven’t discussed the killer duo up front. Fodé Siry is tall, powerful and lethal but most eyes tend to be on Mamadouba Diawara, a true goal machine with instinct in the box and dangerous infiltrations who should not be given half an inch. This Stade Djalenga, despite some individual weaker elements, can take up the glove.

               UNION KADA                

Manager: Seydouba Diané (49)
Stadium: Park Revolutionaire (12.000 seats)
System: 4-4-2 flat
Nickname: The Lumberjacks

Considered: Challenger Cup Candidate

Sold: Mamadou Tchalla (Les Onze N’Goba, 25Kf), Abdoulaye Saré (assistant manager)
Bought: Salomon Cissé (Olympique Garo, 550Kf), Zack Park (1964 Briarcliff, HVY, 500Kf)

Line-up: GK Yaya Baldé MKB 24 57
LD Aboubacar Koffi MKB 29 70
CD Zack Park HVY 27 75
CD Yaya Ayité MKB 25 76
RD Yves Kouyaté MKB 20 78
LM Rabo Barry MKB 25 63
CM Abdul Gouo MKB 35 69 (C)
CM Mamadou Atte-Oudeyi MKB 27 78
RM Cyrille Yabré MKB 21 69
ST Salomon Cissé MKB 24 77
ST Zanzan Bancé MKB 33 58

To the question, “What will be the role of the Lumberjacks in this championship? Do you consider the team capable to compete with the top-three?”, Diané bluntly replied, “Which top three? I think there is a top four.” Just to underline the ambitions of the head coach and we don’t doubt that the white-collar folks agree on that. Kada, a coastal city which never shies away from an opportunity to profile themselves up against bigger neighbours Djalenga and Massagui, seems to suffer from an eternal Napoleon complex, so don’t be surprised to see them rise above themselves in key confrontations but deflate in the smaller games. It runs in line with their fans who show up in flocks for the big games but will probably skip the visit from Dembana Star.

Union did its bit to stand out when it came to the off season - if you would call a million francs a bit, that is. Zack Park will forever carry the distinction of being the first foreign player signed by a Mkabian club but something tells us that the Havynwildian will not only be remembered in the history books for his signature. His departure from the LygaHaven wasn’t a happy one and the solid central defender should have more in his tank than a quiet departure from his pastures. He joins a back four that already got some accolades as one of more diverse and strong in the league, with a strong Ayité, fast Koffi and wildly promising Yves Kouyaté. The presence of Baldé, spectacular yet unreliable, between the posts forms a bit of a stain on an otherwise top defensive compartment.

The middle of the pitch hinges on Atte-Oudeyi, a true club player as confirmed by a massive tattoo of the club emblem on his back. The local boy - although we wouldn’t use that word with the 1m90 player in earshot - is a dominating presence in midfield and leads the way when required, although he’s prone to pick up a card. He’s balanced by the calm presence of Gouo, a good pair of feet to have. Cyrille Yabré, a lanky midfielder, forms another talent in this formation. Yet, most eyes will be on Salomon Cissé. He left the toxic relationsship with the fans from Olympique Garo behind and is now up for a key chapter of his career. Will he yield under the pressure for a double-figure season - as short Bancé is more of a token striker and a source of amusement and chaos with his dribbles - or will he establish himself as an undisputed top striker? It could decide the fate of Union Kada for this season...

               YOUROUGOU FC               

Manager: Salim Sow (55)
Stadium: Rue Communal (7.000 seats)
System: 4-2-1-3
Nickname: Casino

Considered: Midtable Side

Sold: Ibrahima Mamah (Dragons de Massagui, 700Kf), Lamine Koura (Stade Djalenga, 350Kf), Donou Kamano (Massagui Centre, free)
Bought: Collin Roe (Evernorth FC, QCY, free), Cobalt Layman (Marque, BRE, free), Harris Foolscap (Scaffield, BRE, free)

Line-up: GK Cyrille Fofana MKB 20 74
LD Fousseyni Kanu MKB 27 54
CD Harris Foolscap BRE 25 70
CD Collin Roe BRE 29 71
RD Kader Souare MKB 23 65
DM Mamadi Chikoto MKB 27 59
DM Cobalt Layman BRE 27 72
AM Seydou Seyfo MKB 31 71 (C)
LW Issa Traoré MKB 34 64
ST Djibril Diarso MKB 27 66
RW Wassiou Dumbuya MKB 24 75

Club by club, we’ve gone through sides which decide to take a good look at the treasury, turn their heart into stone before grabbing as much of it as they could and then throw it at the market. Eleven clubs from the Premier League, each pending upon their financial muscle, made a small or big loss during the silly season just to give themselves more assurance of a prolonged stay, a title or whatever their ambitions were. Only Yourougou did it differently. It’s not the first or last time the team from the Ngta delta chose their own way, with mixed results but with a very distinctive outlook nonetheless. It makes them perennial outsiders of the group but well, I don’t think anyone at the small, rickety and decayed Rue Communal could care.

They chose their own path and did it this time by selling big and hoovering up… Special. The top competitors were praying on the many major talents bolstered by the club and eventually, each walked away with one player but also with a hole in their pocket. This doesn’t mean that Yourougou has been harvested yet. Souare has the potential to last long in this competition and hanging on to Cyrille Fofana is a feat as good as a top transfer - a talented goalie with good feet, ditto hands and a calm head is nearly nonexistent in this country, but no one could snap him up. Yourougou chose not to spend its money on transfer sums but to save some for darker times and throw a little bit more in player wages. The addition of three Brenecian journeymen forms evidence to this move.

It would be easy to set them aside as easy simply cost-efficient solutions but the trio gives this side an important overhaul, also tactically. Harry Foolscap is the kind of brawler that the local supporters will love and Collin Roe is tall. Very tall. Removing-any-danger-of-the-air tall. In front of them, you’ll have Mamadi ‘Shinbreaker’ Chikoto and Cobalt Layman, the third Brenecian carries a similar reputation. It shows what this side aims to be this season, a fortress that takes no prisoners, disallowing the opposition to produce their play. On the counterattack, the swift legs from Traoré and Dumbuya, combined with the uncanny capacity from Diarso to score in one touch (and mess up whenever he gets a second to think) and the dangerous infiltrations from Seyfo should suffice to get in on goal. Will this be a side which brings positive, technical football? Hell no, but they could be entertaining when the opposition wants to tango and no side will make the trip without a small shiver in their spine. FC should have enough to stay afloat, whilst drowning some around them.
Last edited by Mkabia on Thu Apr 30, 2020 2:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:39 am

Mkabia Premier League
Season 20/21 - Part 1

Week 1

Champions League First Preliminary Round
El Valle F.C (SFX) 3-0 Dragons de Massagui (MKB)

Challengers Cup First Preliminary Round
1912 Stelburg (STL) 2-2 Stade Djalenga (MKB)
Branvón CD (KOR) 2-0 Olympique Garo (MKB)
Ponyville United (EQS) 0-2 Djalenga Foot (MKB)

The Mkabian teams meet the international football playground and well, it’s not really a mutual love affair. All four Mkabian sides had to travel far abroad for their opener but the Dragons came home with the biggest hangover. In theory, the encounter with El Valle could run both ways as the champion of the Liga Mayor was as unfamiliar with the IFCF competitions as Massagui. Nonetheless, they gave them a serious beating with young Igor Reyes playing a pivotal role, scoring a brace in the opening minutes and giving a visibly hesitant Mamah quite a scare on his debut. Dragons managed to restore the balance later on but it did not result in a series of good opportunities. The one time Cassadore, fairly invisible on her debut, managed to send Akakpo through enemy lines, the striker found an attentive Carlos Villegas on his way. Late in the game, a deflected shot found Salim Sankaré wrongfooted and with that, it looks as if the Champions League ambitions of the Unbeatables can go back in the fridge.

The Challengers Cup brought a more mixed bag of performances. Stade Djalenga delivered a solid performance against 1912 Stelburg, as a packed stadium saw a game that could’ve gone both ways. Demjko Jzvanic scored on his first appearance for the Bluebirds but Stade responded when Diawara slipped through the offside trap and chipped it over Hartstein. Nikiema held on to the lead and got the help of Akhil Sabil on a sticky situation, allowing the Capitals to rush in front when Mlapa headed a corner in between a forest of bodies. But in the end, both sides walked off with less than deserved but not empty handed as Hoffmann rounded off a cheeky doublepass with newcomer Ono for the equalizer. All to play for after a thrilling ninety minutes!

Nothing of the likes in the visit from Olympique Garo to Ko-oren. Branvón CD easily dictated the pace with Cy de Villepin making the ball unreachable for the Garo midfield. Leigh Tudor suffered from a slightly unfortunate first outing, doing a lot of work to get in possession before missing the sharpness to truly endanger Uchino. On the other side of the pitch, there was a lot of work to do. For long, the new partnership between Diamouténé and Yago seemed to pass the litmus test but then the junior partner brought down a Ko-orenite striker in the box. De Villepin converted with ease and the resistance was broken. In the end, coach Souna admitted he was glad that the gap remained limited to a sole Vallatton goal, making the second leg still interesting.

Last but not least, Djalenga Foot saw themselves paired with an intriguing opponent. Ponyville United might have known brighter days but it still was a name with glitter and glamour to it. But yeah, kids these days. Djalenga Foot appeared unphased by the stature of their opposition and played a vigorous opening half. Just when all feared that they would not convert this, Ousseni Dagano made his way past a galloping Arctic Lily and dashed it into the bottom corner. United returned from the dressing room with more vigor but the organisation from Djalenga withstood the heat. Even more, it were the Zebras who had the last word of the affair. Despite the fault having been made some thirty yards out, Fern MacEanraig didn’t hesitate and hammered it out of reach for the goalkeeper.

Week 2

Champions League First Preliminary Round
Dragons de Massagui (MKB) 3-0 El Valle F.C (SFX)

Challengers Cup First Preliminary Round
Stade Djalenga (MKB) 1-4 1912 Stelburg (STL)
Olympique Garo (MKB) 0-1 Branvón CD (KOR)
Djalenga Foot (MKB) 1-0 Ponyville United (EQS)

Many had not given a cent for the chances of Massagui, especially those who had seen the first leg, but it became clear once more that football is a game of two halves (or even two wholes, come to think of it). The Firepit had filled up nicely and gave El Valle a warm welcome. The Dragons did their best as well to heat up the atmosphere, with an early goal from Nii Ghanou. With Isabella Cassadore roaming between the lines, they managed to make their attacks sting far more and before half-time, Akakpo had scored his first IFCF goal - we’re quite sure it won’t be his last. The scales tilted and a fairytale was in the making, especially when Gakpé’s powerful kick equalized the score to ensure extra-time. El Valle seemed to survive by a thread, until the whole stadium exploded as a fourth goal was scored in the dying seconds - a dream that only lasted seconds as replacement Maiga had been caught offside. It made the penalty series an extra cold shower as no one could stay composed from the spot - Sankaré stopped one shot from the San Felixians, but all four Dragons missed their shot, ending the Champions Cup adventure.

The hand dealt in the opening leg looked far better for Stade Djalenga, who seemed to continue on the same road at their home ground. For forty minutes, the fans witnessed a close encounter with the Teuslanders but with half-time approaching, Jasno Odolenec hit them out cold. The Mytanar star player from the Bluebirds delivered a perfect assist to Ono and subsequently slotted one home himself. Sissako tried to put more risk in his team but Djalenga got the bill presented immediately: Hoffmann with his second goal of the campaign. The River Stadium went silent and that late in the game Fodé Siry opened up his account for the season was only a footnote in the story of this game. “We just couldn’t respond,” goalie Nikiema admitted in all honesty and that’s a fair conclusion.

Weighted and found too light - those words were spoken as well on the Higher Ground where Olympique saw Branvón CD come over. The Ko-orenites, defending a two-goal lead from the first leg, wisely chose to leave the leather for Garo and well… They failed to do too much with it. The achilles heel from the side, the lack of creativity in midfield, played up terribly with especially Alain Boni suffering from a disastrous match. If any danger on goal was produced, then it came from the right wing where Toussaint Womé played particularly well. One of his crosses found Leigh Tudor but the Brenecian saw his header splinter the post. If it had gone in, things could’ve been different but now Olympique was forced to move forth and got caught out by a mature Branvón: a cold counter attack by Puga confirmed what most knew already, the strongest side progresses.

And so, all hope for domestic success was on Djalenga Foot. Despite facing off against the most reputed opponent, it were once more the Zebras who impressed the most. The defensive segment stood their ground particularly well, with Falaye Kambou proving Massagui wrong to write him off. Ponyville hoofed a few good chances in the direction from Zanzan Yattara but the notoriously inconsistent goalie of the Zebras had a field day and boxed anything out of danger. Even more, the boys from Eric Ouattara stringed together a few opportunities of their own: Dagano found the goalkeeper on his way, MacEanraig trembled the post and Anthony Sesay lost his composure in a one-on-one. Eventually, the last word was for Daouda Sissako who slingshotted his way past Arctic Lily and made a filled to the brim Stade Duval beam with delight.

Week 3

Vilitan Cove Invitational Round of 32
Char Sara FC (VAL) 2-0 Les Onze N’Goba (MKB)

Liga dos Vencedores Qualifying Round
Olympique Garo (MKB) 1-3 Pescam Campuhan (PCU)
Pesetih Titih (PCU) 0-0 Dragons de Massagui (MKB)

Copa das Confederaçoes Qualifying Round
Kouarou Golden Boys (MKB) 3-1 Sevilha FC (NLA)

The Vilitan Cove Invitational allows us to send a bit of a spotlight on a lesser known Mkabian side. Les Onze N’Goba showed positive, attacking football last season but failed to clinch a ticket for the Premier League. They got a consolation prize in a visit to the Tar Pit. In front of a crowd far bigger than the players from N’Goba had ever witnessed, they held themselves well but Valanorans at the hour through Christian Exelby - a dashing strike from the Nepharim. Mamadou Tchalla missed a golden opportunity to write his name in the history books of Les Onze when he botched his shot and Fiksdal demonstrated the importance of efficiency when he scored on the counterattack - victory for the mid-table Premiership side.

The Liga dos Vencedores, in its inaugural installation, saw through a quirk in the draw a double duel between Mkabian and Pemecutanese sides. Olympique Garo welcomed the champion from the PFA Eka League in their own Higher Ground as an excellent opportunity to break their losing streak but couldn’t convert the chances given. The opposition did so, with star striker Surya Dwipayana playing a pivotal role. First he scored from a low cross, next he forced Denké Sesay to a penalty fault which got easily converted. A score by Romeo Nibombe seemed to blaze new life in the doubleheader, but Kusumawijaya sealed the deal for the visitors - Olympique has a lot to think about after only three weeks of the new season.

Dragons de Massagui left a better impression, playing frankly defensive against Pesetih. Jonathan Diallo had chosen for something which resembled a 4-4-1-1, defending his choice by the claim that “it was the best way to stop a balanced side like them from accumulating chances”. Indeed, his defensive wall kept the zero on the board, but that wasn’t without a good safe from Sankaré on a free kick. Idrissa Akakpo played on an island all game long and that one time he got through, Bayu Jayawijaya did an excellent job. A frustrating evening for the strikers - and for football fans across the multiverse.

So the good news had to come from the Golden Boys. Their Arena had sold out for an encounter with Sevilha, an opponent not to be underestimated but still suffering from a string of injuries, despite the return from key player Francisco Gama. Nonetheless, it was Kouarou that dictated the pace with varied attacking football and a few dangerous crosses from Compaoré. Newcomer Baslios Temesgen showed himself as an added value from the first touch and delivered the assist for the opener from Issiaka. The Golden Boys pressed on and got rewarded with a successful Zongo free kick, after a fault by Carriça, and Temesgen putting the cherry on a strong game for him. Unfortunately, Gama marked as well, making it a tricky return game.

Week 4

Vilitan Cove Invitational Round of 32
Les Onze N’Goba (MKB) 1-2 Char Sara FC (VAL)

Challengers Cup Second Preliminary Round
Djalenga Foot (MKB) 5-0 Kotaraja Pahlawan FC (PJI)
Big Dock Energy FC (SCM) 1-6 Dragons de Massagui (MKB)

No success for Les Onze but there were few in the stadium who truly cared. The visit from the Inferno got the enthusiasm of the home fans who showed that N’Goba might be an impoverished but spirited city - a welcome with flares and banners heated up the game. For a while, the local side stood their ground but then Mari Thomsen pulled the trigger on behalf of Char Sara. The striker, getting a rare spot as a striker, doubled up later in the game but that wasn’t the key moment. Local hero Momouni Fall bested Joshua Stirgeon with a successful chip and whilst that didn’t stop Les Onze from being eliminated, the outburst of joy was heard from miles away.

Remarkably, that was the smallest success of Mkabian sides this week. Djalenga Foot had been paired with a side from the fairly obscure PJI League and obliterated their opponent with a stunning performance. Pahlawan are regional powerhouses in the Melaya competitions but tonight, Djalenga simply overpowered them. An early red card for the visitors definitely helped out, but by that time Moise Bundu had already opened up the score. The tactical plan, in which the wings overpowered their direct opponent two-to-one and where Sadio Konaté played a respectable game as the gatekeeper in midfield, worked out perfectly. What followed was a second half in which Kotaraja was simply worn out and the ball kept flying in. Dagano, MacEanraig, Sesay and substitute Kanté all got themselves on the scoresheet for a forfait score. For many observers, Foot is catapulting itself into a position of title outsiders, ahead of the hesitating Olympique.

But the title favourite is still Dragons de Massagui and they underlined this with a stunner against Big Dock Energy. The representative from Starcom Racing had shown some prowess by eliminating Birnin Almalaki in the opening round but was on the receiving side of a thrashing in their own Cope-n-Hagen. It must be said that the first half hour did not point in that direction yet, with opportunities on both sides. Idrissa Akakpo slammed one in but Sankaré had to turn around as well. But the second goal from Akakpo broke the resistance and what followed was a masterclass in the counterattack. A deeplying organisation with Cassadore launching Bandé and Gakpé into space, whilst Idrissa Akakpo racked up goals. When the dust had settled, the young striker had marked four times and could walk off with the match ball and a serious boost in the confidence for the upcoming opening game of the Premier League.

Week 5

Challengers Cup Second Preliminary Round
Kotaraja Pahlawan FC (PJI) 1-0 Djalenga Foot (MKB)
Dragons de Massagui (MKB) 3-0 Big Dock Energy FC (SCM)

Mkabia Premier League Round 1
Falako Sports 0–2 Stade Djalenga
Red Star Kalagouba 3–4 Olympique Garo
Royal Garo 0–0 Dembana Star
Yourougou FC 2–1 Union Kada
Etoile Bokandé 4–3 Djalenga Foot
Dragons de Massagui 1–0 Kouarou Golden Boys

With the qualification for the next round already assured and a tricky game at the pitch of Etoile coming up on Sunday, Eric Ouattara rested some of his starting players for the confrontation in Pahlawan. The local side as such dominated, allowing some defending players to take the spotlight. Falaye Kambou has known a banger of a start of his time at the Zebras and some even start shouting for his inclusion in the national team. Fact is that he played a neat game and at times already calls the shots in the back four. At the hour mark, the opponent got a consolation goal past Zanzan Yattara, who once more played well, but all forcus is already on upcoming games.

Jonathan Diallo and his Dragons chose for a different approach, making the most of a ninety minutes against Big Dock Energy FC. “We’re obliged to do this for our fans,” the gaffer tried to win some hearts and well, they went home with a smile on their faces. The Starcom Racing side played better than the scoreline suggests but in the final third of the pitch, Massagui was far more efficient. Another player off to a flying start is Idrissa Akakpo, who added another one for his statistics. But most eyes were on Isabella Cassadore. The Nepharim is making perfect use of these early games, showing more of her class with every passing game and eventually kicked the final score on the board. Five star performance and a sentiment that they’re on fire for the season.

The favourites did what they had to do straight from the gun but all of them had to labour up until a final minute to secure the three points. Dragons floated into the game but discovered that the Golden Boys defenders offered more resistance than the midweek ones, smothering the space around Akakpo and forcing Massagui to rely on long-range efforts. A counter by the Moles, via Issiaka, could have been deadly but Sankaré was having none of that. In the end, it was Isabella Cassadore who showed her class to break the deadlock with a clever pass and Gakpé gave Dragons that flying start. Olympique Garo, slightly worried after some difficult adventures abroad wanted to hit the ground running but it took sixty minutes of chasing an early Red Star goal to get back in the game. But when they did, all hell broke loose. Leigh Tudor got unleashed and scored a hattrick, reassuring the doubting fans that a new fabled trio up front was awakened. Some kudos to Red Star nonetheless, who showed promise but could shore it up in the back.

The easiest start was for Stade Djalenga who were simply one category above a courageous yet insufficient Falako. Not a flying start for some others. Royal Garo got a golden opportunity to kick off the season in style but Pascal Ghanou missed a late penalty after dominating over Dembana Star. Djalenga Foot, on the other hand, couldn’t continue their international form and suffered a loss against Etoile Bokandé after a thrilling confrontation. Issa Aduama marked the second hattrick of the opening match day but those with a keen eye for football were especially charmed by Deniz Erbil. The young Timurian played without any hesitation on his first outing and delivered a brilliant pass for the decisive goal. Last but not least, there were cheers on the Rue Communal as the relentless but naive attacks from Union Kada led to nothing - two counters via Diarso and Traoré did the job for Casino.

Week 6

Liga dos Vencedores Qualifying Round
Pescam Campuhan (PCU) 1-1 Olympique Garo (MKB)
Dragons de Massagui (MKB) 2-2 Pesetih Titih (PCU)

Copa das Confederaçoes Qualifying Round
Sevilha FC (NLA) 2-0 Kouarou Golden Boys (MKB)

Mkabia Premier League Round 2
Stade Djalenga 1–0 Kouarou Golden Boys
Djalenga Foot 3–0 Dragons de Massagui
Union Kada 2–2 Etoile Bokandé
Dembana Star 2–1 Yourougou FC
Olympique Garo 1–0 Royal Garo
Falako Sports 4–3 Red Star Kalagouba

The regional competition faded into a painful drag for the three involved Mkabian sides. Olympique Garo had a visit from a seemingly impossible situation and when a miscommunication between Diamouténé and goalie Doumbouya led to an easy opener for Campuhan, the story of this game had been written. In the margins, we noted a goal for 16-year old replacement Omar Tchagouni, but apart from that, the international season sums up to a series of losses for Garo. Dragons did a far more valiant effort against the visitors from Pesetih Titih. They as well ran into an early opposing goal but battled on and could rely on an Isabella Cassadore who increasingly feels at home in Mkabia. Nii Ghanou and the inevitable Idrissa Akakpo made the nets tremble but the matchwinner played on the opposite side. A screamer in the dying minutes silenced the Firepit and many were wondering why Diallo had not parked the bus at that one time when it could - or should. “Maybe it was a bit of naivity,” captain Bamogo admitted.

Lastly, there was the visit from the Golden Boys to New Lusitania and the Algarves. A splendid trip for a side that seemed to have hit the ground running in the opening bits of the season. An early score from Francisco Gama didn’t ruin the good mood as they managed to amass some opportunities from their own as well. A diving header from Issiaka came close and a curl from Temesgen licked the outside of the post. Nonetheless, a cold shower followed as the home team converted a penalty. A frustrated Kébé chased his man forward but in the end, a third goal for Sevilha was closer than a winner from Kouarou.

The mood in the east didn’t get much better by Sunday. A visit to the River Stadium proved to be too difficult for the troops from Kébé against a slightly more cynical Djalenga than usual. Diawara knocked in his second of the year and the back four from Stade, guided by Akhil Sabil kept it nice and tidy. It puts them in an illustrious club of only two teams that have managed to start the season with two consecutive victories. Olympique Garo may have left the international scene with a fair bit of disappointment, domestically they managed an important victory in a heated duel. The clash with the Royals was dirty, nasty and at times even violent - with a few wounded in the stands when the away block got pelted with lighters. The Meteors could count on a moment of technical superiority from Assanté to make it six out of six - although a strong Yago and Diamouténé keeping Mirzian at bay did a bit as well.

Nonetheless, most attention was on a painful loss by the Dragons at the hands of Djalenga Foot. The youngsters from Ouattara rolled on and delivered ninety minutes of top-class football. Although plenty of newcomers already made their mark on the competition, Fern MacEanraig might have improved her team the most and scored the third one with a beautiful strike. The game from Kambou, eager to stop Akakpo and prove Massagui their wrong, deserves praise as well. Suddenly title favourite Dragons finds itself in an undesired spot - a rarity for a team that earned its nickname the Unbeatables for a reason. The hipsters definitely watched Union - Etoile, a game that had two footballing sides and where neither team deserved to lose. A first competition goal from Cissé must give confidence to the Lumberjacks. In the margins, Falako grabbed three important points and doesn’t look like the cannon fodder some tried to sell them for.

Week 7

Challengers Cup Third Preliminary Round
Djalenga Foot (MKB) 3-5 Dí Maozöxê (FFD)
Sanzibar (BGN) 0-1 Dragons de Massagui (MKB)

Mkabia Premier League Round 3
Red Star Kalagouba 1–2 Stade Djalenga
Royal Garo 3–2 Falako Sports
Yourougou FC 0–1 Olympique Garo
Etoile Bokandé 2–0 Dembana Star
Dragons de Massagui 4–2 Union Kada
Kouarou Golden Boys 2–2 Djalenga Foot

A visit to Bolgano for a clash with a fellow debutant, it could have been just another game for Massagui but suddenly, manager Diallo found himself in the eye of the storm. He brings football ‘like an accountant’ his critics claim and that’s only acceptable if you win. Nonetheless, he chose to stand his ground and battled against Sanzibar with a sharp organisation and stinging counterattacks. Were the Bolganans too confident in their own strength or unaware of the speed of Akakpo? Fact is that the striker did what he had to do and that Sanzibar might have dominated possession, but could not get the leather past Salim Sankaré. With ambitions for the next round in mind, a small but potentially crucial victory for Dragons.

In-form Djalenga Foot, at the other hand, had the honour to welcome a recent finalist to their humble ground - Stade Duval was overcrowded to get a glimpse from the Farves. But the opening - a strike from Dagano hitting the goalpost - was only a minor prelude for the follow-up. Both sides played with only one target, to score that one goal more than the opposition. Djalenga Foot confirmed its astonishing form and veteran Moise Bundu stood out with a brace. But in the end, the raw quality and experience from the visitors took the upper hand. The Rulandese side might be missing star striker Vínseslâdís Wìjìnì, who parted for Banija, but it clearly has not affected their goal production. A brilliant game for the fans.

Apparently, the vigour from Foot worked contagiously as Dragons de Massagui decided to not just score the first game and then lean back, but to work their way to a proper set of goals for once. Union Kada definitely played along on this one and got themselves on an equal footing twice but a header from Nii Ghanou which got misjudged completely by Baldé was the straw that broke the camel’s back and Dragons could leave the humiliating run against Foot behind them. Speaking of which, these got caught out on the road by the Golden Boys, where the chemistry between Temesgen and Issiaka seems to go the right way. It slowly opens up the gap on the leading duo, who did what they had to do with a sort of clinical fashion.

Olympique Garo spent quite some energy in Yourougou as the home side locked up their goal with a lot of stamina, working power and the occasional slide tackle. Just as the Meteors seemed to accept impending defeat, Leigh Tudor underlined why he could be a decisive factor in the race for the title, beating Roe in the air after a, ehm, handsy duel. Stade Djalenga goes nine out of nine as well, although a free kick from Groaré Sasca was required to get the engine running. Etoile Bokandé confirmed that they’re out of the starting blocks in style, looking more solid in the back then before, and Royal Garo got their first victory of the season with Mirzian running into the series of crosspasses from Paul Condé - playing off the left for once to avoid Meso-Roza, it seems.

Week 8

Challengers Cup Third Preliminary Round
Dí Maozöxê (FFD) 1-1 Djalenga Foot (MKB)
Dragons de Massagui (MKB) 1-0 Sanzibar (BGN)

Mkabia Premier League Round 4
Stade Djalenga 4–5 Djalenga Foot
Union Kada 1–2 Kouarou Golden Boys
Dembana Star 0–1 Dragons de Massagui
Olympique Garo 3–3 Etoile Bokandé
Falako Sports 2–1 Yourougou FC
Red Star Kalagouba 1–2 Royal Garo

It's the end of the road for Djalenga Foot but they leave the scene with applause from the opposing fans - the Rülândéá Çölíséá hadn’t filled up for what should have been a dead rubber but Foot refused to hand it to the Rebels, they needed to come and get it. Once more, Ouattara chose for a lot of movement in the opposing box, with Sesay and Sissako ravaging the wingbacks from the favourite. The latter hit the crossbar twice but eventually got rewarded for one of his best games in the shirt of the Zebras when MacEanraig picked him out on a free kick and he volleyed it in the top corner. Ouattara did not take no for an answer and after his substitutions, the line-up looked more like a 3-2-5. No wonder that the Farves got one past Yattara in the end.

Dragons de Massagui, on the other end of the spectrum, refused to change a winning team and forced the hand of Sanzibar. In dire need of a goal, the Bolgano side got lured on to the half of the Unbeatables, fearing for their lives every time Idrissa Akakpo or Daré Gakpé got launched into the wide space in their backs. It’s simple, it’s not a treat for the fans but if you’ve got a brick wall such as Salim Sankaré between the posts, it’s goddamn efficient. Seventy minutes in, Mamah launched it into the void, Akakpo used a second of hesitation of his direct opponent and didn’t miss a one-on-one with the goal. The claims from Sanzibar for an offside were of little use, Dragons will represent the nation as the last Mkabian one standing in the next round.

There’s no way around it, the whole country got their eyes on one thing only this weekend - the Djalenga derby. Rivers Stadium was packed to the brim for a clash between two sides who carried some confidence and oh boy, did they deliver. The game side seemed to distance themselves early on when Diawara did what he does best and Cassadore doubled up. But Foot saved the best for the second half and came out of the dressing room like a whirlwind. In seventeen minutes, they got the leather past a stunned Nikiema four times - the Zebras came left, right but most importantly, fast. Not the end of the drama as Mlapa pulled one back but a Koura red card broke their spirit. The season from Foot already seems successful and coach Ouattara was lifted on the shoulder by the away fans. Still, Stade knew it could’ve gone the other way as well if they were more efficient and shouldn’t worry too much that the leader role goes to Olympique Garo. The Meteors discovered why Etoile Bokandé walked off with plenty of applause from the critics already but seemed to walk away with a victory nonetheless. That was until Deniz Erbil got behind a free kick and painted it in a corner - Garo loses the maximum.

If some teams stated this season successfully, others must be struggling. The bottom three does not look as one would expect. Yourougou started the year with a win but the enthusiasm for the defensive line-up starts to eb as Falako beats them in the Stade de la Rive. As tough as Yourougou is, they can’t create much once they’re behind. Two points below, Union Kada is torn between two sentiments: the football is not as bad as the results suggest but if they want to avoid a long and dreary season, let alone reach the high ambitions from the management, they’ll need more points. But the red lantern is for Red Star who get a fourth consecutive loss. Kyser and Baio seem to be playing two different games in the core of the field and Missé struggles to get a line in his line-up, making tactical changes every other half.

Week 9

Mkabia Premier League Round 5
Royal Garo 0–1 Stade Djalenga
Yourougou FC 2–0 Red Star Kalagouba
Etoile Bokandé 3–3 Falako Sports
Dragons de Massagui 3–3 Olympique Garo
Kouarou Golden Boys 1–0 Dembana Star
Djalenga Foot 3–4 Union Kada

And things go from bad to worse for Kalagouba. The few away fans pelt the players with lighters as they greet them after the game - an abysmal ninety minutes. Only the lacklustre state of the Yourougou attack avoids the scoring from running higher - Coulibaly missed a cartload of opportunities. And a small gap starts to open up as Union Kada finally gets a reward for their football. We must say that Foots football, as attractive as it is, has a hint of naivety - in the backs of wingers Kpatoumbi and Sesay, there was enough space for Union to create a bunch of goals. Salomon Cissé, author of two, catches the headlines. Although, the frontpage might be for Issa Aduama, who scored his second hattrick of the year for Etoile, marking a bizarre comeback from 0-3 down against Falako. Tough for Sports, but those who predicted The Machetes to go down seem off the ball.

Away from the battle of the bottom, Olympique had to defend its leader spot in the Firepit and could go home with two thoughts. Yes, they blew a lead twice and dropped to second. But they looked organised, compact and confident despite some difficult moments against a Massagui that played with hints of its usual bravado. Nonetheless, the fans of Dragons were not satisfied. At times, they excelled in their play but once forced out of their usual routine, they could look like fish out of water. Akakpo, who skied a winning chance, caught the brunt of the comments. And as two of the big three split the points, it’s Stade who regain the first position. The game against Royal stood in the sign of the return of Pascal Ghanou but he could not convince. His replacement at his position, Groaré Sasca showed why it’s been an upgrade. The Farf has the quality that he doesn’t stand out at first sight but makes a huge difference out of possession.

Week 10

Challengers Cup Third Preliminary Round
Dragons de Massagui (MKB) 1-2 Galatica (PAS)

Mkabia Premier League Round 6
Stade Djalenga 3–1 Union Kada
Dembana Star 4–4 Djalenga Foot
Olympique Garo 4–1 Kouarou Golden Boys
Falako Sports 0–5 Dragons de Massagui
Red Star Kalagouba 1–0 Etoile Bokandé
Royal Garo 1–0 Yourougou FC

With a household name from the Pasargan Superliga dropping by, Dragons de Massagui was up for a formidable task to stop them. One must admit that Galatica might have known brighter days but for a club like Massagui, they still were pretty damn shiny. The last Mkabian representative encountered their opponent patiently, one would say hesitantly, but fell apart like a bag of sand after only nineteen minutes. Brancaleone Arcuri sliced through the back four and Salim Sankaré was left without an option. Ironically, this unleashed a better Dragons, who started to play along with a side that, hadn’t it been for Northern Union, probably could’ve played in the Champions League. In the second half, they’re rewarded - Akakpo escaped the attention from Rosenthal and delivered a business card to the international press. Still, the last laugh was for Galatica as Lowen Rosenthal got her revenge - the Nepharim towered over Moutari and headed it home, Dragons are up for a very difficult trip to Pasarga.

The national competition obviously did not wait for Dragons but rather than licking their wounds, the boys from Diallo seemed to have drawn confidence from managing to stay on par with such a formidable foe. They ruined the night of all Falako Sports fans with a crushing victory - winger Gakpé with a hattrick the man of the hour. Yet, the two direct opponents didn’t drop a beat either. Stade profited from the hint of naivety in the Union football by bringing strikers Siry and Diawara in the right position in the right time - a red for aggravated Kada captain Gouo didn’t help much either. Olympique played a tight game at home, managing to cut off all lines towards Zongo and Temesgen. A round of applause to the Meteors who, ironically, don’t rely on stars but on guys like Womé, Yago and Assanté who push the others forward. And another hattrick from Leigh Tudor, who seems on par for the Golden Boot, adds to their might.

Some relieved sighs over at Kalagouba. For what the management had described as ‘the last chance’, Missé decided to drop his captain Koffi Baio and let the direction to Apoxian Artemis Kyser. A decision not appreciated by the home audience but the Valley Arena saw their side play a decent game. Admittedly, Etoile missed an injured Erbil but they stood their ground properly and in the dying minutes, an apple fell out of the tree. Moussa Payé mistimed his save, pushing the ball against the head of Coulibaly. The young striker has no clue how, but he did score the first three points for Red Star and saved the head of Missé - for another week. Dembana and Foot delivered the spectacle of the week. The Zebras are a fan-favourite but the glaring holes in their back line are worrying whilst Dembana didn’t know what happened to them: after two goals in five games, Scottian Shaun Killdenny got a chance to show why the scouts picked him up - a brilliant effort of his from thirty yards out sealed the final score.

Week 11

Challengers Cup Third Preliminary Round
Galatica (PAS) 2-2 Dragons de Massagui (MKB)

Mkabia Premier League Round 7
Yourougou FC 1–0 Stade Djalenga
Etoile Bokandé 1–0 Royal Garo
Dragons de Massagui 1–0 Red Star Kalagouba
Kouarou Golden Boys 2–1 Falako Sports
Djalenga Foot 2–2 Olympique Garo
Union Kada 3–0 Dembana Star

The bookmakers gave you little return on investment if you betted against Galatica but Dragons de Massagui looked ready to defy all odds and kicked off with vigor - twenty-two seconds in, Nii Ghanou had chased a loose ball and put it past Czigany Tolnay. The Stade de Torgos wasn’t too phased, but nonetheless aware that this one was not the walk in the park the amount of substitutes on the pitch suggested. Whatever Dragons missed in technical quality, they made up in enthusiasm and midfield duo Bamogo - Cassadore managed to determine the pace. Was an upset on the books? We believe so, but a shot from Akakpo stranded on the post. Eventually, the stronger side overcame - Cuellar and Arcuri showed efficiency. A goal from substitute Ndiaye did mark the end of a promising campaign from Massagui.

Nonetheless, it became a great week for Massagui as they jumped past their direct adversaries to the lead position in the table. Against Red Star, they did not even need to excel - an early goal and subsequently parking the bus sufficed against an opponent which lacked confidence and managed to make all the wrong decisions at the same time. It sufficed to go past Stade who fell to Yourougou who were on their way to a bad spell but show they possess everything a giant killer needs: a lot of grit, a rigid system and a two-footed tackle from Foolscap that immobilises Sasca for a week or three. Luckily, Stade’s city rival Djalenga Foot helped them by containing the Meteors in typical Foot style. They played 45 minutes of heavenly football to lead by two but then lacked the stamina to keep Olympique Garo at bay and were lucky that Tudor and Nibombé only scored one each.

It’s clear that these three will battle it out for the title, nonetheless. In a game for spot number four, Royal Garo failed to convert their good form into a fourth victory. They play better football than their goal scoreline suggests but didn’t show what’s needed against Bokandé. Etoile did take a major step forward over the summer, keeping their sparkle of enthusiasm but caging it in a more realistic gameplan. The guiding presence of Diop in the back, combined with the class of Timurian Deniz Erbil brings results, it seems. Surprisingly in sixth, we’ve got Kouarou, who silently moves through the year whilst Salomon Cissé gave Parc Révolutionaire finally something to cheer for. His brace against Dembana gets Union out of the roughest water, it seems, and suddenly we hear whispers about the international berths again.

Premier League             Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Dragons de Massagui 7 5 1 1 15 8 +7 16
2 Olympique Garo 7 4 3 0 18 12 +6 15
3 Stade Djalenga 7 5 0 2 13 8 +5 15
4 Etoile Bokandé 7 3 3 1 15 12 +3 12
5 Royal Garo 7 3 1 3 6 6 0 10
6 Kouarou Golden Boys 7 3 1 3 8 10 −2 10
7 Djalenga Foot 7 2 3 2 22 20 +2 9
8 Yourougou FC 7 3 0 4 7 7 0 9
9 Union Kada 7 2 1 4 14 16 −2 7
10 Falako Sports 7 2 1 4 12 19 −7 7
11 Dembana Star 7 1 2 4 6 12 −6 5
12 Red Star Kalagouba 7 1 0 6 9 15 −6 3

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Wed Mar 25, 2020 2:45 pm

Mkabia Premier League
Season 20/21 - Part 2

Week 13

Mkabia Premier League Round 8
Stade Djalenga 0–1 Dembana Star
Olympique Garo 6–1 Union Kada
Falako Sports 1–1 Djalenga Foot
Red Star Kalagouba 4–2 Kouarou Golden Boys
Royal Garo 3–0 Dragons de Massagui
Yourougou FC 2–3 Etoile Bokandé

A round of results even the most avid of gamblers wouldn’t have dared to put their money on. Royal Garo looked strangely unremarkable so far but seemed to have kept the best for the big moments and dominated Dragons in a rarely seen fashion. Nepharim Ephraim Mirzian didn’t catch too many headlines yet but underlined his experience with a brace and a stellar performance. Did gaffer Traoré have a smirk on his face - yes, of course. But he will be slightly miffed to notice that cross-city rivals steal some of their spotlight with a downright trashing of Union Kada. Just when we thought that the Lumberjacks were back at it, they play ninety minutes of abysmal football. It’s just painful to see a talented backline with guys like Park, Ayité and Kouyaté fall apart like sand due to a lack of instructions.

Another surprise result is the victory of Star in the River Stadium. It must be said that Djalenga dominated possession but in the end Dembana nicked three valuable points when Killdinny slipped through the offside trap and scored on a great Aoudou pass. It wasn’t the day of Djalengan teams at all, Foot dropped the baton as well and was lucky that Falako missed sharpness in front of goal. Important points lost for Sport as Red Star seems to develop its potential: Valley Arena saw an enthusiastic team and Henri Coulibaly finally starts to find the way to the net - the end of their relegation worries? Last but not least, we note how Etoile booked fifteen points out of their first twenty-four - this could be the IFCF surprise package.

Week 14

Mkabia Premier League Round 9
Etoile Bokandé 1–3 Stade Djalenga
Dragons de Massagui 2–0 Yourougou FC
Kouarou Golden Boys 1–0 Royal Garo
Djalenga Foot 4–2 Red Star Kalagouba
Union Kada 2–2 Falako Sports
Dembana Star 1–2 Olympique Garo

“Each game counts for three points”, is the old adagium and it seems as if Olympique Garo knows that best. They performed less than Stade last week against Dembana Star but contrary to their rivals, they did find the way to goal. Assanté, Tudor and Nibombé up front ain’t the youngest trio but they give the Meteors star quality and, more important, confidence. Further down south, we saw Dragons easily take apart Yourougou. It must be said that Casino FC is hard as nails but when the pace of execution is too high, they’re no match. With the opposition doing what it has to do, many heads turned to the clash at Stade Communal where Etoile received the Capitals - the loser of that duel would find itself seven points from the lead, a problem mainly for the visitors!

Stade looked slightly nervous and when some hoped that an early opening goal would help them, they were wrong. Erbil finds Aduama in space and Bokandé equals quickly, pushing on to take the lead. For over half an hour, this looked like the likely scenario but their style of play is exhausting and goalie Nikiema and defence leader Sabil stand the test. As Etoile runs out of steam, it’s Mamadouba Diawara who pulls the trigger, three key points for Stade! Elsewhere, hopes get smashed. Royal Garo’s high gets halted by the Golden Boys, who are midtable in the positive sense of the word: dangerous on any day. Red Star can’t find consistency against Djalenga Foot who encounter a side even more naive than them: a Dagano brace settles the score. And Union can’t capitalize against a mediocre Falako Sports.

Week 15

Mkabia Premier League Round 10
Stade Djalenga 4–1 Olympique Garo
Falako Sports 2–5 Dembana Star
Red Star Kalagouba 1–0 Union Kada
Royal Garo 0–1 Djalenga Foot
Yourougou FC 0–2 Kouarou Golden Boys
Etoile Bokandé 0–1 Dragons de Massagui

A big weekend on the books as the top four all play each other. River Stadium is packed for the visit from the leader and they are not disappointed. The opening half resembles a rugby game, but in the positive sense of the word, with a lot of duels and grit. Diawara hits the net and the stadium explodes, but Olympique can reply when Assanté slides in a Womé cross. With time ticking down, the kettles get heated more and it becomes mayhem as Sesay scythes Sasca right in front of the Djalenga dugout. Manager Sissako punches the Garo captain, who replies with a right hook before getting taken out by Mlapa. Suddenly, rounds of fisticuffs arise across the pitch. For bizarre reasons, only Sesay and Mlapa receive red but Garo seems more touched by the incident: a Sory brace and a Koura strike decide it in the advantage of Djalenga, Olympique leaves frustrated and looking for revenge.

It’s difficult to get some headlines away from such a huge game, but we’ll try and give the floor to four players nonetheless. Isabella Cassadore truly was the missing puzzle piece in the line-up of the Dragons. She’s not the fastest anymore but her class turns difficult draws into victories, as evidenced tonight. Applause to Shaun Killdinny as well, the Scottian needed quite some time out of the starting blocks but his Man of the Match performance against Falako will be valuable in the long run. Just when the story from Red Star’s manager Missé seemed up, it’s back afloat: Koffi Baio returns after some weeks on the bench and replies with a winner. And the Golden Boys silently move up with a seemingly simple win, Issiaka picks up things every week and even got his first assist.

Week 16

Mkabia Premier League Round 11
Dragons de Massagui 0–0 Stade Djalenga
Kouarou Golden Boys 0–2 Etoile Bokandé
Djalenga Foot 1–0 Yourougou FC
Union Kada 0–2 Royal Garo
Dembana Star 0–2 Red Star Kalagouba
Olympique Garo 1–0 Falako Sports

Spectacle every other week, apparently one can have enough of that as well. A lacklustre week delivers only eight goals, so we’ll describe each and every one of them. Falako goalie Tokplé makes a rare mistake and Leigh Tudor is fastest on the loose ball. A cross from Nii Mamah gets carried by the wind and ends up behind Dembana goalie Yarou. The same guy kicks a free kick but the storm picks it up and places Coulibaly one-on-one for the double up. For the Purple Train, Mirzian scores a header after some roughhousing with Yaya Ayité. They double up when Zack Park gets a corner scramble off the line, but the linesman rules it in in absence of a VAR. MacEanraig hits the post for Foot but it bounces off Roe in the goal. Etoile striker Feindouno gets it against his shin and it dribbles agonizingly slowly past a wrongfooted Balima. And that goalie misjudges a deep pass from Erbil four minutes later, allowing Mustapha Zongo to double up.

Yeah, that shit was the football this weekend. We’re probably obliged to say something about the clash between Dragons and Stade as well. In theory, it’s the classic of the season, the game between two key sides in the competition. In practice, it was a dud. Both Diallo and Sissako had come to the pitch to avoid a loss in this game, completely unphased by the fact that it would put Olympique back in the lead in the table. The home team had sealed its box the most, causing Sankaré to have a lacklustre evening. The sole real opportunity of the game, a shot by Siry, was caught in his web and the fans were left with a dull draw.

Premier League          Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Olympique Garo 11 7 3 1 28 18 +10 24
2 Dragons de Massagui 11 7 2 2 18 11 +7 23
3 Stade Djalenga 11 7 1 3 20 11 +9 22
4 Djalenga Foot 11 5 4 2 29 23 +6 19
5 Etoile Bokandé 11 5 3 3 21 18 +3 18
6 Kouarou Golden Boys 11 5 1 5 13 16 −3 16
7 Royal Garo 11 5 1 5 11 8 +3 16
8 Red Star Kalagouba 11 4 0 7 18 21 −3 12
9 Dembana Star 11 3 2 6 13 18 −5 11
10 Falako Sports 11 2 3 6 17 28 −11 9
11 Yourougou FC 11 3 0 8 9 15 −6 9
12 Union Kada 11 2 2 7 17 27 −10 8

Week 17

Mkabia Premier League Round 12
Stade Djalenga 1–1 Falako Sports
Olympique Garo 1–0 Red Star Kalagouba
Dembana Star 1–1 Royal Garo
Union Kada 4–1 Yourougou FC
Djalenga Foot 1–0 Etoile Bokandé
Kouarou Golden Boys 0–1 Dragons de Massagui

Olympique leads the way with eleven games left and the Meteors intend on doing so till the bitter end. Red Star Kalagouba put up a valiant effort but a strike from Nibombe sufficed for the three points. Dragons delivered a similar performance, not necessarily dominating their adversary but proving more efficient at the key moments. Idrissa Akakpo is the perfect player to use these moments and convert. And there was a third arsenal score on the books with Djalenga Foot getting the better of Etoile. The most spectacular side in domestic football did it with a remarkably mature performance, in what was only the second clean sheet for Yattara and his back line. There’s talent in that squad and Dagana and Bundu are nearing double figures already, but it will be the composure they show today that will make them an outside in the title race or not.

Even if a title seems ludicrous, it’s already a boost for their morale that they approach city rivals Stade by one point. The Capitals missed the industriousness of Mlapa and Bamogo in the axis, giving Falako the chance to sink their teeth into a bigger prey and not let go. Sports is an ugly duckling but lead by Bagayoko, they pick up points here and there. And that made Union - Yourougou a surprising relegation duel. Kada saw the debut of Abdoulaye Saré as coach after the dismissal of Diané, who foamed at the “management and dressing room sacrificing him to conceal their mistakes”. Fact or not, the Lumberjacks got the Parc Revolutionaire behind them and delivered one of their best games of the year. Salomon Cissé showed another glimpse of his possibilities with two goals, but we must add that Yourougou appeared very poor and should start to worry...

Week 18

Mkabia Premier League Round 13
Kouarou Golden Boys 4–4 Stade Djalenga
Dragons de Massagui 3–0 Djalenga Foot
Etoile Bokandé 4–2 Union Kada
Yourougou FC 1–0 Dembana Star
Royal Garo 2–1 Olympique Garo
Red Star Kalagouba 4–0 Falako Sports

… unless they pick up some points themselves. Their match against Dembana was cynical, rough and got them eight yellow cards, but also three points when Layman pushed a loose ball over the line. And so Falako drops to last after being pummeled by Red Star. It’s clear that Kalagouba should never have been in this position in the first place, now Kyser and Baio play alongside each other rather than in front, they look like a team. With that scoreline, Union Kada falls back to spot eleven, dangerously close to the cliff of relegation. The Lumberjacks did well for seventy minutes but where too much in front of goal needs to come from Cissé, it seems as if Bokandé has more options. Erbil and Doumbia are revelations, Aduama a known asset and when even the inelegant Feindouno gets goals, Etoile remains a lock for the left column.

A column which the Golden Boys anxiously try to join. With two consecutive home losses - goalless, we must add - the pressure was on for the stars Zongo and Temesgen. 69 springs amongst them but for a clash with Stade, they played like young puppies. Djalenga showed quality, especially in attack but the youngest puppy from the all, 19-year old Issiaka wrestled Ossam off the ball and scored the equaliser in the dying minutes. Luckily for Stade, the leader dropped points as well. The Great Garo derby was a high-octane but high-quality confrontation with the Purple Train eager to demonstrate. Remarkably, Traoré opted to leave the three strikers from the Meteors untouched but focus all his efforts on shutting down the midfield and the crosses from Womé. Yameogo, pivotal in this effort, rounded off a clever backheel from Mirzian to score a winner that got the purple fans take over the city.

Week 19

Mkabia Premier League Round 14
Stade Djalenga 2–1 Red Star Kalagouba
Falako Sports 0–1 Royal Garo
Olympique Garo 1–1 Yourougou FC
Dembana Star 0–2 Etoile Bokandé
Union Kada 0–0 Dragons de Massagui
Djalenga Foot 4–3 Kouarou Golden Boys

And so, Dragons got a golden chance to take a lead into the winter break. On the pitch of Kada, the Unbeatables played it solid, but missed that bit of sharpness in front of goal. Idrissa Akakpo was the standout player of the international run but hasn’t been that exceptional on Mkabian pastures. It must be added that all pressure to score is on him and every gaffer now already knows his tricks - even an inexperienced one such as Saré. A goalless draw, not a great result for either. But sufficient for Massagui to hold the lead as Olympique surprisingly failed to edge out Yourougou FC. At times like this, you see that the Meteors are a quite complete team but miss that bit of speed to punch out a double wall - maybe being in the duel too much.

As such, Stade Djalenga goes with a slightly more positive feeling into the break. Their form had ups and downs but nonetheless they’re only three points behind after a promising game against a Red Star in form. Speaking of form, the gap between the first and the second column was shown tonight. Royal was still on cloud nine after the derby victory and deserved so much more than just a Rouamba goal against the red lantern. Etoile Bokandé remains in the race as well, brilliant work by Bourama Dianda who made the right choices in the off-season. And Foot won a difficult but important game in their worn-out but cozy Stade Duval with Fern MacEanraig dragging them over the line. The Scottian knew a few lesser games after a flying start, but seems ready for the business end of the year.

Premier League          Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Dragons de Massagui 14 9 3 2 22 11 +11 30
2 Olympique Garo 14 8 4 2 31 21 +10 28
3 Stade Djalenga 14 8 3 3 27 17 +10 27
4 Djalenga Foot 14 7 4 3 34 29 +5 25
5 Etoile Bokandé 14 7 3 4 27 21 +6 24
6 Royal Garo 14 7 2 5 15 10 +5 23
7 Kouarou Golden Boys 14 5 2 7 20 25 −5 17
8 Red Star Kalagouba 14 5 0 9 23 24 −1 15
9 Yourougou FC 14 4 1 9 12 20 −8 13
10 Union Kada 14 3 3 8 23 32 −9 12
11 Dembana Star 14 3 3 8 14 22 −8 12
12 Falako Sports 14 2 4 8 18 34 −16 10

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:25 am

Mkabia Premier League
Season 20/21 - Part 3

Week 22

Regional Amateur Finals
Les Onze N’Goba 3–1 Standard Tangbou
Racing Lanyare 0-4 Bogourma Lions
Stade Sarou 2-2 TP Massagui (3-2 AET)
Oulo Warriors 2-1 AS Songto

Usually, our glance does not extend beyond the top division but now we take a look at those who struggle for a spot in the sun. Below the Premier League, four regional divisions gather the best amateur sides in the nation who each dream of their shot for glory. And the top two of those divisions play a decisive game, at the home of the regional champion, to determine who will not only grab a ticket for the Coupe de la President, but also to see who might become a part of the promotion competition. The winner of that small cup competition gets a golden ticket, the two runner-ups will join him in the LBCT.

Les Onze N’Goba definitely got the taste of international football after their short but noted appearance in the Vilitan Cove Invitational and dominated Standard Tangbou with a solid victory in the Central region. Who but Momouni Fall scores the 2-1 which turns the game? Yep. Upset in the Eastern region as Racing Lanyare falters at the decisive moment. For months on end, they dominated the competition but for the battle against the Lions, they didn't show up. One man does in particular does: Lassina Ayité. Eighteen years old and an amazing prospect, he guides Bogourma to a win with a goal and two assists.

A far closer confrontation was the one between Stade Sarou and TP Massagui. The latter, a new name at the firmament surprisingly got in this round but shows its worth with ninety powerful minutes. It takes a penalty, cooly scored by Yao Koroma, to eliminate them. TP is joined by AS in that corner as they lose the final for the West against Oulo Warriors. A major disappointment for Songto as they’re one of the few amateur sides with the infrastructure to appear in the top division, but over ninety minutes, the Warriors - more known from the rugby side - show a bit more maturity.

Week 23

Mkabia Premier League Round 15
Djalenga Foot 1–1 Stade Djalenga
Kouarou Golden Boys 0–0 Union Kada
Dragons de Massagui 2–0 Dembana Star
Etoile Bokandé 1–2 Olympique Garo
Yourougou FC 1–1 Falako Sports
Royal Garo 3–1 Red Star Kalagouba

The sun is out for one of the main confrontations of the season - the Djalenga derby. After the thriller in the first leg, many are on the edge of their seats to see a repeat of the spectacular 4-5. Titi Sissako doesn’t want to dance and brings a more organised approach, which allows Groaré Sasca to score on a dead ball. Nonetheless, the Farf does not walk off as the city hero as the referee whistles a penalty out of thin air in the extra time - Sesay converts once two Stade players are ejected for protest. It makes Dragons the winner of the Djalenga derby as the Unbeatables professionally get rid of Dembana in their own Firepit - a solid, reliable performance from a potential champion?

Olympique Garo will disagree and with reason. The Meteors visited Stade Communal, a feared trip for all at the moment, but outperformed one of this year’s revelations. Daouda Assanté caught the MotM trophy with a goal and a spectacular, acrobatic assist which allowed Leigh Tudor to score number fourteen of his season - as many as all Star players together! Assanté duels with city rival Jules Tchangai for that title. The young midfielder from Royal plays a pivotal role in a victory which keeps the Purple Train en route to the IFCF competitions, especially as the opposition makes mistakes. No key changes at the bottom of the table where no one wins although Falako Sports was close but Tapsoba misses in front of an open goal: 2 wins only in 15 games, these are not reassuring statistics.

Week 24

La Coupe - Regional Phase
Stade Djalenga 3–1 Oulo Warriors
Falako Sports 1–1 Djalenga Foot
Yourougou FC 0–2 Union Kada
Stade Sarou 0–4 Dragons de Massagui
Red Star Kalagouba 0–1 Olympique Garo
Les Onze N'Goba 1–2 Royal Garo
Bogourma Lions 1–2 Dembana Star
Kouarou Golden Boys 2–2 Etoile Bokandé

We do not expect upsets every other day - because, well, they would not be upsets anymore - but this is a very uneventful opening match day of the Coupe de la President. In four poules of four, it gets determined who automatically qualifies for the quarters, which two battle an intermediary round and who is eliminated. So far, everything runs according to plan. The four amateur sides all fall to the hands of an opposing team, although Dembana Star needs a late Killdinny strike to contain the Lions. And the big three make no mistake, with Idrissa Akakpo replying to the criticism through a hattrick against Stade Sarou.

Our attention as such needs to be drawn to other elements. Stade de la Rive gets some confidence in a prolonged stay at the top level after a promising draw against Foot. Although it helped that Ivory Meso-Roza ehm… immobilised goalgetter Dagano with a two-footed tackle after six minutes. Union Kada pumped some confidence for the relegation race they never expected to be in with a clear win over Yourougou FC - at times one wonders how they got themselves in that mess. But the figure of the week is Kassaly Traoré, the veteran captain of Etoile Bokandé. Doctors revealed that he should stop his career immediately over a serious heart condition but he couldn’t resist coming on in a tight confrontation against the Golden Boys. After setting up a crucial equalizer from Aduama, he announced that he’ll appear one last time for the home fans before calling it a day on his career.

Week 25

Mkabia Premier League Round 16
Stade Djalenga 5–3 Royal Garo
Red Star Kalagouba 1–0 Yourougou FC
Falako Sports 2–1 Etoile Bokandé
Olympique Garo 4–1 Dragons de Massagui
Dembana Star 0–0 Kouarou Golden Boys
Union Kada 3–3 Djalenga Foot

A clash for the first position and it’s the Meteors that grab it with confidence. In a home game, they beat Dragons at their own game - letting the opposition fall asleep with possession before hurting them in the box. Leigh Tudor knocks in two more, the Brenecian has an indian summer and could be the kingmaker of this competition. Massagui must return to the drawing board as they looked vulnerable in the back: Mamah is an obvious talent but makes mistakes whilst Koita is just not enough for a team with their aspirations. And as the leader fails, others get back in the picture (and how). Stade Djalenga treats the River Stadium on a classic encounter against the Royals with ninety minutes of goals and spectacle - from both sides, we must add. Traoré created a tight unit and if they can keep it together, the Purple Train will only be better next season. But they were no match to a Stade at full speed, Mlapa and Sasca determining the high speed on midfield both in pace and execution and Mamadouba Diawara having a field day - four goals and an amazing performance!

At the other end of the table, a tight affair just got tighter as red lantern Falako Sports built upon a good cup performance and took it out on Bokandé. Gerard Bagayoko drags his side to success and puts the pressure on the others. Dembana nor Union can convert a home game into a victory and things look even worse for Yourougou FC who grabbed only five points out of their last nine games. They are well organised but Casino doesn’t have a striker worthy of that name with Diarso only scoring twice yet. Opponent Red Star Kalagouba now looks out of the weather with a fifth win in nine confrontations. Jean-Eduard Missé got the train on the rails now with two masterminds in midfield, Kyser and Baio.

Week 26

La Coupe - Regional Phase
Oulo Warriors 2–3 Djalenga Foot
Stade Djalenga 1–0 Falako Sports
Union Kada 0–2 Dragons de Massagui
Yourougou FC 1–3 Stade Sarou
Olympique Garo 1–0 Royal Garo
Red Star Kalagouba 2–1 Les Onze N'Goba
Dembana Star 4–3 Etoile Bokandé
Bogourma Lions 3–4 Kouarou Golden Boys

Life goes on and so does the Coupe. The Djalenga sides do what they have to do in the West, with more surplus than the result seems to suggest. Stade even have the depth to stage some reserve players, with 18-year old defender Yahia Ba making a notable debut - the way he dominated Tapsoba deserves praise. No mistakes made by the Dragons in the South either, although Union Kada could salvage their season with a strong cup run, they did not show up at home and were blown out of the water by the efficiency from Massagui. Stade Sarou, in the meanwhile, slams another nail in the coffin of Yourougou with an easy win on the road. Even the loyal fans at Rue Communal start to doubt the possibilities of the club - will hard work suffice to save the year?

A Garo derby in the Centre poule but a less spectacular edition than last month, as the Purple Train quickly falls to ten players and finds no way to respond to the early Assanté goal. Red Star, in the meanwhile, wants to avoid elimination but needs all efforts to distance themselves from Les Onze - the judges are still torn whether Henri Coulibaly is a promising talent or a hesitant youngster who lacks the finesse. Lastly, the real spectacle could be observed in the West where Dembana does what it rarely does: score. Cult striker Ibrahima Séré hadn’t shown too much of himself yet but demonstrates with a hattrick, amongst which a bizarre backheel that wrongfoots four Etoile players at once. Some extra confidence for the Golden Boys as well where Mamadou Zongo showcases why he is still a starter on the national team - distributing the game and delivering assists all night.

Week 27

Mkabia Premier League Round 17
Union Kada 1–1 Stade Djalenga
Djalenga Foot 0–0 Dembana Star
Kouarou Golden Boys 2–2 Olympique Garo
Dragons de Massagui 0–0 Falako Sports
Etoile Bokandé 0–0 Red Star Kalagouba
Yourougou FC 2–2 Royal Garo

The mathematicians will notice it right away, this matchday did not change a thing about the table. Theoretically, this should be in the advantage of the leader - as he holds his lead with less games to play - and disadvantageous for the last one for whom time is running out. However, football is not just a bunch of calculations thrown into a scorinator. Olympique walked off the pitch, frustrated, with the knowledge that they could deal a decisive blow. They definitely were the better side throughout the game but Banijan Temesgen remained calm in a late all-or-nothing attempt from the home team and lifted it subtly over a stunned Doumbouya. At least Garo could leave with the knowledge that they did well. Dragons de Massagui disappointed and got contained by a Falako whose confidence seems to grow with every passing game. Sports employed their strengths and Dragons didn’t find a hole in the wall.

Further down the table, confidence was won from hard-fought points. Dembana Star escaped through the narrowest of eyes but Djalenga Foot converted none of its seventeen chances on goal to make Bobo Yarou the Star star of the week. Further to the east, Yourougou had feared the visit formed the Purple Train but they managed to pull the emergency break on them with a tight plan - Chikoto and Layman kick everything that moves in the centre of the pitch - and even managed to score two for the first time in months. And Union Kada reaped a point against Stade, they remain a bizarre team with some clear talent but a lot of difficulties to string together three consecutive good games.

Week 28

La Coupe - Regional Phase
Falako Sports 1–4 Oulo Warriors
Djalenga Foot 0–1 Stade Djalenga

West Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Stade Djalenga 3 3 0 0 5 1 +4 9
2 Djalenga Foot 3 1 1 1 4 4 0 4
3 Oulo Warriors 3 1 0 2 7 7 0 3
4 Falako Sports 3 0 1 2 2 6 −4 1

Stade Sarou 0–1 Union Kada
Dragons de Massagui 0–1 Yourougou FC

South Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Dragons de Massagui 3 2 0 1 6 1 +5 6
2 Union Kada 3 2 0 1 3 2 +1 6
3 Stade Sarou 3 1 0 2 3 6 −3 3
4 Yourougou FC 3 1 0 2 2 5 −3 3

Les Onze N'Goba 2–4 Olympique Garo
Royal Garo 1–0 Red Star Kalagouba

Centre Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Olympique Garo 3 3 0 0 6 2 +4 9
2 Royal Garo 3 2 0 1 3 2 +1 6
3 Red Star Kalagouba 3 1 0 2 2 3 −1 3
4 Les Onze N'Goba 3 0 0 3 4 8 −4 0

Kouarou Golden Boys 2–1 Dembana Star
Etoile Bokandé 3–3 Bogourma Lions

East Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Kouarou Golden Boys 3 2 1 0 8 6 +2 7
2 Dembana Star 3 2 0 1 7 6 +1 6
3 Etoile Bokandé 3 0 2 1 8 9 −1 2
4 Bogourma Lions 3 0 1 2 7 9 −2 1

In all honesty, quite some cup decisions were taken already as the natural chain of command got respected. But every once and a while, one underdog manages to outperform a favourite and Oulo Warriors did just that. Was Falako too confident after their current run? Fact is that they got shamed by an enthusiastic team that can confide in a lot of movement in the middle of the pitch and an old goalscorer Dembélé who picks the right time to shine - a brace in the regional final and now. It even made a fairly lacklustre Djalenga derby disappear to the background.

A far more notable result in the eastern group as Yourougou wins against Dragons over a Seydou Seyfo goal - a marvellous strike in the top corner. Nonetheless, the focus isn’t on those who triumph - not even because it doesn’t suffice to avoid elimination - but on the defeated. Dragons de Massagui is an absolute top side, the reigning champion and every single loss suffice to get the rumours started. Some claim that the chemistry between coach Diallo and the leaders in the dressing room is over, others state that there’s a rift amongst the players themselves, centred around the role of striker Idrissa Akakpo who hasn’t taken the next step everyone expected yet. Which version is true, remains to be seen.

In the Centre, Olympique Garo must go the full mile to avoid a blatant loss at the hands of Les Onze when they find themselves 2-0 down at the half-time mark. But they show the resilience of potential champions by pressing their opponent and eventually wearing them down in the last fifteen minutes, scoring three more to preserve a perfect record. Royal Garo qualifies as second with a simple, yet efficient win against Red Star after a duel that was more entertaining than the scoreline suggests. Ephrain Mirzian is the match winner once more, his shot rattles the nets from Adanhouma like a cannonball.

We can round up the group phase with a narrow escape from Etoile Bokandé. The team from Bourama Dianda earned positive critics all year long but seems to run out of steam these last few weeks. Against an enthusiast Bogourma, they nearly got caught out and only individual talent avoided a dreadful elimination - Deniz Erbil paints a free kick in the top corner and Issa Aduama slides his lanky body through three defenders to put it against the net for a 3-3: meagre but sufficient. The same words apply to Kouarou. They were not the better side in the Golden Arena as Dembana seems to light up in the Coupe, but suffered again from their usual problem. The Golden Boys simply were more efficient in front of goal and qualified for the next round with a Banou Issiaka goal.

Week 29

Mkabia Premier League Round 18
Stade Djalenga 1–0 Yourougou FC
Royal Garo 1–6 Etoile Bokandé
Red Star Kalagouba 1–0 Dragons de Massagui
Falako Sports 0–1 Kouarou Golden Boys
Olympique Garo 2–1 Djalenga Foot
Dembana Star 1–1 Union Kada

The clock is ticking and with four games left, every mistake is paid in cash now. Dragons de Massagui really seems to spiral into a small crisis after a lacklustre performance on the pitch of Red Star. The way Isabella Cassadore had to try and force her way through the opposing lines due to lack of available teammates paints a painful situation - this could be the end of an empire. It also allows Olympique Garo to manoeuvre themselves in an interesting position. Few enjoy a visit from Djalenga Foot but the pressure so far falls off them like water of a duck, with a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes, most of the game was done. In the end, it is Stade that must be the main challenger, although a narrow escape against Yourougou doesn’t bode too well for their form. Is this title Olympique Garo’s for the taking?

The danger will not come from the background, that’s for sure. Royal Garo secretly - well, not that secretly as manager Aristide Traoré boasted it to any journalist - dreamed of cracking the Big Three for a podium spot but suffered a humiliating whooping in their own Stade des Rois. Admittedly, goalie Bakary tackling Feindouno outside the box after only three minutes didn’t do Royal much good but taking in six goals still is painful. It seems as if we get a new top candidate for the Challengers Cup ticket every other week and some claim even Golden Boys could still be in the mix: a goal from left back Compaoré keeps them in the race.

For the relegation race, no one dares to make a prediction anymore. Yourougou played with vigor against Stade but that’s not where they need to grab points - and they just don’t make a lot of goals. The close neighbours from Dembana suffer from the same problem. There is an admirable team spirit but there is no debt in the selection and both strikers struggle for consistency: Killdinny is still paying apprenticeship, Séré is just mad as a badger. Still, these two at least have some composure at the back compared to Falako. The Machetes have decent but very static defenders who get played week after week by manager Ndiaye who is not yet in the hearts of the fans. Any of these three can go down as.. Well, Union Kada can’t relegate, right? With their money? Their thousands and thousands of fans? But also an inexperienced manager who inherited a dressing room with doubts and a lack of playing system.

Premier League            Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Olympique Garo 18 11 5 2 41 26 +15 38
2 Stade Djalenga 18 10 5 3 35 22 +13 35
3 Dragons de Massagui 18 10 4 4 25 16 +9 34
4 Etoile Bokandé 18 8 4 6 35 26 +9 28
5 Djalenga Foot 18 7 7 4 39 35 +4 28
6 Royal Garo 18 8 3 7 24 24 0 27
7 Kouarou Golden Boys 18 6 5 7 23 27 −4 23
8 Red Star Kalagouba 18 7 1 10 26 27 −1 22
9 Union Kada 18 3 7 8 28 37 −9 16
10 Dembana Star 18 3 6 9 15 25 −10 15
11 Falako Sports 18 3 6 9 21 37 −16 15
12 Yourougou FC 18 4 3 11 15 25 −10 15

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:33 pm

Mkabia Premier League
Season 20/21 - Part 4

Week 30

La Coupe Play-off Round
Dembana Star 2–1 Oulo Warriors
Djalenga Foot 0–1 Stade Sarou
Union Kada 1–2 Red Star Kalagouba
Royal Garo 1–1 Etoile Bokandé (2–1 AET)

None of the teams in this round can still realistically aim for the title, so if they want some silverware in the cupboard by the end of the season, every wrong step will be the end of this. This pressure is visible in the games themselves, with only a single goal amongst them by half-time. It’s Shaun Killdinny who ensures some enthusiasm from the fans with a low rocket to push aside the Warriors. The amateur side doesn’t relent, however, and frightens The Cove when Samuel Bissouma, the promising winger hits it past Bobo Yarou. It becomes a battle of attrition, but in the end Dembana pivot Aoudou rises to the occasion and scores a beauty to qualify his team to the quarters. With Oulo out of the picture, all pressure is on Stade Sarou to represent the amateurs and well, they deliver. Stade Duval had filled for what should have been an easy win for Djalenga Foot, but both Bundu and MacEanraig miss a vital chance for an opening goal and an iron law of football kicks in: if you miss, the other team scores. In the last few minutes, the situation gets heated and Foot ends the game with nine players and without a ticket.

Both Kada and Kalagouba started the competition in terrible fashion - even so that international football only seems conceivable through the cup. The opening half isn’t amusing but it gets better when Salomon Cissé opens the scoreline - the moody giant hasn’t yet given Union what they were hoping for. But Red Star regroups and Apoxian Artemis Kyser has a screamer in store. Just when everyone is preparing for the extra-time, Toussaint Gakpé does something magical, dances past three Union defenders and brings his Bees in oblivion. No thirty added minutes for a stunned Kada, but the fans in the Stade des Rois get something extra for their money. Before, they witnessed a tactical, tricky confrontation between two motivated sides. But every game needs a hero and Pascal Ghanou is just that person. In the extra-time, the often mocked midfielder dribbles through a glaring opening and scores a monumental goal.

Week 31

Mkabia Premier League Round 19
Dembana Star 1–1 Stade Djalenga
Union Kada 3–0 Olympique Garo
Djalenga Foot 2–2 Falako Sports
Kouarou Golden Boys 2–1 Red Star Kalagouba
Dragons de Massagui 3–2 Royal Garo
Etoile Bokandé 2–2 Yourougou FC

Back to the regular everyday business, but it doesn’t sit well for everyone. Olympique Garo has easily been the most consistent of all teams but with their eyes on the price they fail - and how. The visit to Union Kada is one to a side only one point away from the feared red line but tonight, it looks as if it’s the other way around. The Lumberjacks play faster, their duo Park and Ayité excel in the back but the real spotlights are on Salomon Cissé. He knew a wacky season so far with ups and downs but against the side that knocked him out on the streets, he’s got a little extra in the tank. The brace from their attacker gives the Parc Revolutionaire not only the assurance that they’ll stay up, but also hides the painful 6-1 from the first round.

An excellent opportunity for Stade Djalenga to take advantage here but the trip to Dembana turns out less easy than anticipated. As if the Eels know that their direct opponents for relegation grab a point on the road, they too keep their organisation tighter than most times this season and frustrate the opponent. Kouamé, not the best defender but pretty fast, keeps Diawara in check and Fodé Siry has an offday, resulting in a draw. It makes Dragons the victor of the weekend in the title battle as they outwit Royal Garo - not an easy task these days. “People always doubt me,” coach Diallo proclaims after the game, “but we have the best chance for the title.” Big words, but few dare to rule them out...

Week 32

La Coupe Quarterfinals
Dragons de Massagui 4–0 Dembana Star
Olympique Garo 5–2 Stade Sarou
Kouarou Golden Boys 1–1 Red Star Kalagouba (1–1 AET) (4–3 pen.)
Stade Djalenga 0–1 Royal Garo

Especially when his troops slaughter Dembana Star the next week. Idrissa Akakpo has a field day and catches the goals but Isabella Cassadore shows once more that she, and no one else, calls the shots for the Unbeatables. It’s a rough result in a game that went in one direction. Remarkably, Diallo took off his star player ten minutes before the final whistle without calling up a replacement, to avoid injuries. Yet, some wonder why Massagui has an arrogant reputation… They’ll meet up with Olympique Garo in the semifinals, a clash that will captivate many. The Meteors made an end to the feelgood story of the year, although Sarou did their utmost to run it as long as possible. Halfway through the game, they could still bank on a goal from Youssouf Tassembedo to keep up appearances but Tudor, Diop and Assanté decided on their faith after the game. A valiant effort, but a logical result.

Far tenser were the other two confrontations. Both Kouarou and Kalagouba are parked in no man’s land in the Premier League table these days - too good to battle against relegation, not enough for the top four. A cup final could lighten up their season which lead to a fierce duel with relatively little good football. Yet, the fans were treated with two beautiful goals, a paintbrush by Baslios Temesgen and a screamer from Koffi Baio. It’s a pity that penalties decide, as it turned Baio from zero to hero: the veteran skied his effort from eleven metres. The River Stadium had filled up to see their side excel but the Capitals skipped a beat early on: two minutes in, Ephraim Mirzian wrestled past Bamogo and opened the books. Little did he know that he closed them as well. Bit by bit, Stade took possession of the game but Soumbeila Youla, the youngster who replaces Bakary these days, did brilliantly and left a frustrated Stade behind.

Week 33

Mkabia Premier League Round 20
Stade Djalenga 1–0 Etoile Bokandé
Yourougou FC 0–1 Dragons de Massagui
Royal Garo 1–0 Kouarou Golden Boys
Red Star Kalagouba 2–1 Djalenga Foot
Falako Sports 0–0 Union Kada
Olympique Garo 4–0 Dembana Star

At this point, becoming the champion or the loser of this story depends on details and making a mistake pays out in cash. It did knock some lead into the legs of many. Dragons played superior on the pitch of Yourougou but for long failed to convert that into a goal. Were their strikers poor or did Cyrille Fofana do such a good job between the posts? Fact is that it wasn’t until minute 83 that Idrissa Akakpo made the nets tremble and caused a sigh of relief for everything black and orange. Stade Djalenga didn’t have an enjoyable evening either, but that was caused by the whole Etoile side. Well aware that they could stunt and break into the IFCF spots this year, Bokandé played another quality game but at times like this, raw class takes the upper hand. Cassadore sent Diawara into space and despite the terribly difficult corner, the star striker managed to deposit it in the bottom corner.

As such, Olympique couldn’t stay behind. Dembana approached it all a tad naively and before halftime, everything was said and done. The Meteors have another confidence boost and know now they’ve got all cards in their own hands with two games left. Everything seems to be going well in Garo as the Purple Train also celebrated tonight. Not only because Etoile and mostly Djalenga Foot seem to crack under the pressure, but mainly because they grabbed three points in a difficult fixture against the Golden Boys. Goalscorer Paul Condé jumped into the stands, jubilating, and got punished with a second yellow. A strict decision from the referee, but luckily for him, the ten remaining Royals held it till the final whistle. At the bottom of the table, Union Kada missed a golden opportunity to ensure a prolonged stay but the capricious Cissé had one of his offdays.

Week 34

La Coupe Semifinals
Dragons de Massagui 2–0 Olympique Garo
Kouarou Golden Boys 1–0 Royal Garo

Promotion Semifinals
Stade Sarou 4–2 Les Onze N'Goba
Oulo Warriors 1–2 Bogourma Lions

Amazingly, the three top teams confront one another in the last three weeks and whilst Stade Djalenga encounters the other two in the competition, it’s a clash between Dragons and Olympique for the cup final. Both had been spouting mist about their line-up but the best eleven took the pitch for this crucial confrontation. Jonathan Diallo positioned his troops a bit more forward than usual and although young Diamouténé stood his ground with vigor, he could not avoid an opener from Diawara. A scoreline that lead to a chess-like situation - Dragons were happy with the clean sheet, Garo mainly afraid to concede and lose their shot in the home game. Just when the reporters were wrapping up their articles, Doumbouya had a moment of complete oblivion, fumbled a low but easy cross and allowed Fodé Siry to score one of the easiest of his career.

The Gold Arena was sold out for the second semi-final against the Royals. For Kouarou, this has been a season with ups and downs. Players such as Temesgen, Issiaka and especially Zongo proved their worth from time to time, but there have been too many games where they couldn’t develop their own style. A cup tournament seems to suit them better and it proved so. The Purple Train couldn’t contain Compaoré and Doudou who raved the wings and with twenty minutes left, the inevitable happened - Compaoré whipped it in front of goal after getting rid of Yarou and Banou Issiaka headed it home. The young striker took some crucial steps in his development lately and is hot meat on the transfer market - but wants to deliver his side a cup first.

The two promotion games were contested on neutral ground and it seems as if the cup final atmosphere contributed to two lively games - in both senses of the word. In the good sense, Stade and N’Goba ensured ninety thrilling minutes with good football, a ton of chances and six goals. Yao Koroma was the playmaker but attacking midfield Enoh Abouta caught the limelight with two goals and a suggestive victory dance - we’re looking forth to seeing that at the top level! For that, they’ll have to get past the Bogourma Lions first. We’re not sure what we’ve seen in their game against Oulo but it was dirty, brutal and somehow with three goals. Ugly affair.

Week 35

Mkabia Premier League Round 21
Olympique Garo 0–1 Stade Djalenga
Dembana Star 1–0 Falako Sports
Union Kada 1–1 Red Star Kalagouba
Djalenga Foot 6–3 Royal Garo
Kouarou Golden Boys 1–1 Yourougou FC
Dragons de Massagui 0–2 Etoile Bokandé

All eyes on one game, as the Higher Ground welcomes a confrontation that could decide about glory and disappointment. The Meteors look born ready and only a strong Nikiema keeps Leigh Tudor from opening the score. The Brenecian is at seventeen roses at the moment and seems a fix for the Golden Boot, but had a difficult night against Zwangzugian silent force Akhil Sabil. But Stade Djalenga take over, bit by bit, and that’s where their strength excels. The midfield is more than solid with Koura, Mlapa and Diallo all doing their bit but Groaré Sasca is the star of this game. Despite the high pace of execution, one rarely if never observed in Mkabia, he manages to deliver his passes at 94% - better than our local mail. It looks as if the goalies are on their way to victory in this one, until Mamadouba Diawara makes a goal that shows that he’s more than just a trademark ‘throw it into space and I’ll be fast’ striker. Halfway through the second half, he wrestles Yago off the ball and tips it out of reach for the goalie with a neat touch. Olympique tries to get back in it but fails...

... remorse and sadness all around, but, it’s not the end of it all yet. With Stade receiving the Dragons in the final confrontation, the Meteors are not yet out of this one. The stunt from Stade, jumping from third to first, seems not to be the end of the drama. Even Massagui can still claim the title, although they will have to perform better than tonight. A golden opportunity for the top division got squandered against Bokandé. The audience was livid to see their Unbeatables being at the receiving end of… well, a beating. Etoile, with Timurian Erbil once more excelling, simply overpowered their opponent and could have scored more. The chemistry between gaffer Diallo and his Massagui now seems indefinitely over.

Elsewhere in the table, Djalenga Foot shows some exceptional spirit by recovering from a two-goal deficit for a shoot-out contest. It must be said that the Royals, who were definitely no less for sixty minute, lost Agboh on a red and Yattara on a nasty injury to show a shaky backline on which Ousseni Dagano enjoyed preying. It puts Royal out of the race for fourth. At the bottom, Union finally grabs enough points to stay in but after another difficult evening, they’re hoping for the end of the season. Falako is as well, but for different reasons: in a direct duel with Dembana, their defenders lost their cool. Trova Bagayoko handles it inside the box and is sent off, Ivory Meso-Roza retaliates and although Dembana didn’t play too well after converting the penalty, nine Falako Sports players can’t avoid the loss. Star seems saved, Falako must oggle what Yourougou will do in the last game. Casino played, with the water closing in on them, one of their better games of the year but miss a decent striker - it could cost them the Premier League spot.

Premier League          Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Stade Djalenga 21 12 6 3 38 23 +15 42
2 Olympique Garo 21 12 5 4 45 30 +15 41
3 Dragons de Massagui 21 12 4 5 29 20 +9 40
4 Etoile Bokandé 21 9 5 7 39 29 +10 32
5 Djalenga Foot 21 8 8 5 48 42 +6 32
6 Royal Garo 21 9 3 9 30 33 −3 30
7 Kouarou Golden Boys 21 7 6 8 26 30 −4 27
8 Red Star Kalagouba 21 8 2 11 30 31 −1 26
9 Union Kada 21 4 9 8 32 38 −6 21
10 Dembana Star 21 4 7 10 17 30 −13 19
11 Falako Sports 21 3 8 10 23 40 −17 17
12 Yourougou FC 21 4 5 12 18 29 −11 17

Week 36

La Coupe Semifinals
Olympique Garo 1–2 Dragons de Massagui
Royal Garo 1–0 Kouarou Golden Boys (3-1 AET)

SBCT Play-off
Oulo Warriors 1–3 Les Onze N'Goba

“Every single one of you, dirty mosquitos, like to lick our blood! They enjoy it when we struggle, they laugh at our misfortune. But you forget one thing, you maggots. This is Dragons de Massagui, this is the best side of the nation. We will prove it next week to grab the title. And we will prove it when we win the Cup!” You can say a lot about Jonathan Diallo, but he does know how to light up a press conference. Fact is that many had written his side into the grave already, but against Olympique they straighten their back. Even the disgruntled and maligned Idrissa Akakpo gets the fans behind him again when he opens the score with a lovely touch. The Meteors try to make a difference but look still a little heartbroken from the loss in the competition. Daouda Assanté kicks some life into it with a cheeky goal but Olympique Garo never looks able to score three more and go to the Cup final.

The other confrontation is one that probably cost fans from both sides their nails. The Golden Boys act nervous but somehow manage to keep goals off the board with the clock counting down. Could it be for Kouarou, their moment in the sun? Nope, it seems, because here comes Ephraim Mirzian. After a few mediocre games, he was benched by Traoré but the Nepharim responded in style with a goal and another one…. That is flagged outside. On to extra-time and that one has more swings than a children’s playground. Mirzian gets his second of the night, but it is wiped off the scoresheet by a brilliant free kick from Mamadou Zongo. Once more, the clock is ticking for the Moles but they go down in the most heartbreaking fashion. A late, desperate cross, confusion and captain Ouedraogo trying to boot it out of bounds, only for him to get a colleague on the way out and the ball to hit the net. Their confusion gets drowned in the celebrations from the Royal fans - they’re the underdog, but have a shot at the Cup!

A cup which gives an international ticket, as does the game between Les Onze and Oulo. And it is the former who return abroad, albeit with a bit more luck than the scoreline suggests.

Week 37

Mkabia Premier League Round 22
Stade Djalenga 3–1 Dragons de Massagui
Etoile Bokandé 2–1 Kouarou Golden Boys
Yourougou FC 1–0 Djalenga Foot
Royal Garo 5–3 Union Kada
Red Star Kalagouba 1–1 Dembana Star
Falako Sports 1–3 Olympique Garo

“It’s difficult to accept,” Ndiaye explains, “I don’t think we’re the worst side of the league, but still we’re out.” There was hope but a loss against the Meteors signs their faith. Falako Sports drop from the top tier after a typical performance of their season: some good moments, a goal from Bagayoko but in the end, beaten on quality. Bagayoko, Meso-Roza, Sunu, goalie Tokplé - there are definitely players from the Machetes who deserve to stay in the top tier and the side didn’t fall apart. It’s a word of praise for young manager Ndiaye who tried something different. He got quite a lot of criticism for sticking to his defenders, but the truth was that there was little alternative, everyone of them looked static. Add to that a lack of scoring strikers and maybe, well, there just wasn’t a worse team in the division. That’s the kind of thing that makes you drop. Can they bounce back? Maybe, but it depends on whether Gerard Bagayoko stays and keeps the spirit up.

If there was one, Dembana would be the prime candidate. Least fans in the stadium, least goals scored, least headlines made and a meagre four wins. Still, they stand to play another year and that’s something in a team without stars. Maybe it was the clue after all: whilst opponents of Falako knew Bagayoko was their main man, no one from Dembana - not even Aoudou, who played quite well - was really feared. But the Eels rarely took a real beating and often grinded out a point, losing less than half the games and far less than many expected. Amidst the celebrations, coach Dia has a difficult exercise in front of him. The level of the competition will only rise and fine youngsters such as Killdinny and Tamboura need more support to guide this ship to the harbour next year.

Third least goals against, but Yourougou needed a surprise victory against Djalenga Foot to make it. They did it their way, hacking into the ballplaying boys from Foot with the saw on automatic. It didn’t look nice but they once more managed to push a team out of their element. The core of this team, with the rudimental but effective Roe and Foolscap in front of the talented Fofana, definitely is worth more than a narrow escape. But if they want this side to stop from looking over their shoulder, they’re in dire need of a striker. No player of Yourougou scored over three goals this year. Will they continue on their unique track, choosing to spend not a dime on transfer sums, and carve out a new way? Or will they make that necessary investment?

Less than one point per game. Union Kada crawled to the finish line and their last game was symptomatic: a beautiful goal, some great moments but also situations where they were loose sand. The contract from Saré ends here and the question is, what will his replacement do? In theory, there’s enough talent in this selection to target far more but they’ll need to be brought in line. And with the volatility, will they be able to hang on to Yabré and Kouyaté, two wanted talents? The faith of Salomon Cissé - eleven goals but about as many useless games - is up in the air as well. Union Kada have cash to splash, but they’ll need to do it wisely if they don’t want to run their club in the ground: another season like this could turn them into even less than a midtable client.

Midtable - we nearly used it as an insult there. Kouarou Golden Boys will probably disagree, although they were the least in the spotlights of all sides. A cup final could have turned that around but nope… All in all, the Moles did assure some very interesting confrontations and nearly always play their game but it’s an open question if that matches the ambitions of the management. If you call your stadium the Gold Arena, you want trophies. Players such as Zongo and Temesgen excelled, but form a worry in their own right. How many good years are left in them? As such, the future of Issiaka could determine the future of the club: do they take the money to build, or do they keep him in hope for a next step forth?

One step above, we find Red Star and although you wouldn’t have guessed before the season, they’ll be quite pleased with that. After an abysmal start, Kalagouba decided to hold on to manager Missé and got rewarded when the side regrouped and started bringing in points. The difficult relationship between the two star midfielders, Mkabian Baio and Apoxian Kyser got better and with that engine running, they looked like a different team. A team with enough in the tank to battle for the fourth place, some claim and no doubt that many fans of the Bees claim that is the target. But a difficult decision will need to be taken in the off-season. Henri Coulibaly got a lot of trust this year, scored some goals but didn’t alway show up. Do they stick with the young striker or choose different routes? And what with the mediocre back line, that cost them quite some points?

Djalenga Foot started the season with a bang but the loss against Yourougou demonstrates that the tank has run dry. A consequence from their energetic, enjoyable playing style on a limited number of players. If guys such as Sissako or Bundu drop off, the replacements are not ready yet. Nonetheless, coach Ouattara looked back with confidence on the year. As targeted, they managed to launch young talents and have a few of the most wanted talents in the league: Kambou, Kpatoumbi, Yattara and definitely goalgetter Dagano. All these grew a few inches by the presence of Fern MacEarnaig, who guides the team and has been one of the standout players of the competition. Will Foot cash out or try to give everyone an extra year - as that bit of experience could propel them even further?

The Purple Train parks just outside the station and it’s difficult to assess whether that’s a success or a shame. Going by the preseason statements of gaffer Traoré, still as admired by the fans and despised by well, everyone else, it would be considered as insufficient. But many had set aside his boistering as too much for a side in rebuilding. They’ve invested in players in their prime and did not get disappointed: Mirzian is a killer in the box and Ghanou shows his value. Even more, we would dare to say that with a better goalie between the posts they would have qualified - the discovery of Soumbeila Youla in the business end of the season could mitigate that for next year. Royal has the money to keep everyone together and the ambition to aim higher and - most importantly - can still turn a decent season into a great one with the cup final.

This year’s surprise ends up as fourth, a spot few had given to Boka during the off-season. They ensure their spot in international football in characteristic fashion, fighting back from a tricky situation with versatile and offensive football, without their organisation falling apart. Bourama Dianda is a veteran in the trade but did marvellous work with this selection and was carried around on the shoulders in Stade Communal for good reason. In fact his squad only bolsters two stars: the often underestimated but in this system deadly Issa Aduama and Timurian nugget Deniz Erbil - a discovery and the best spent 600K of the year. If these two stick around, they should be in the first column again next year, although Haidara and Erbil are much-sought after transfer targets. Does Bokandé have the backbone, financially, or will they fall apart?

Only five points above, which sounds preposterous if uttered before the season, Dragons de Massagui ends up in third. Yes, their international run deserves praise and they can still enlarge their trophy cabinet with a Coupe next week. But this will go down in the books as a disappointing year for the Unbeatables who rarely lived up to their nickname. Maybe the pressure is too high on them but when the going got tough, only two players stood tall: goalie Sankaré who remains at a unique height in his field and Isabella Cassadore, whose passing is electrifying. But the fact is, teams are no longer scared from Massagui by now. Too many players are good, but not leaders for that. The main disappointment was Akakpo who scored his goals but didn’t elevate the team that depends so much, too much, on him to the next level. His dispute with Diallo broke the atmosphere in the dressing room and now the question is - who of these two will still be around next year, or neither?

1-3 at the field of Falako but they dropped the title already two weeks ago - despite a strong season, Olympique Garo leaves the premises with little to account for it. It’s a shame for the Meteors from Souna who competed at a high level throughout the season and were easily one of the most attractive teams to follow. Leigh Tudor ensured that the second version of the Trident in attack is even more punishing, with the Brenecian nabbing away the Golden Boot. The duo Yago - Diamouténé was not always perfect, but has the potential to step it up. But critics will say that in the big duels, the ones that determine the outcome of the season, Olympique missed that bit of pepper and salt. Can you aim for a title with players such as Dianda and Diop? Garo will definitely try to reinforce their midfield and names such as Erbil, Bagayoko and Aoudou are flying around. However, they’re not the only who want to step up, so the price to pay will be heavy.

And so, Stade Djalenga not only grabs this title over a formidable sprint in the last few weeks of the year with two crucial wins over their direct opponents but can hope to turn this into a dynasty. The Capitals managed to hide away their weaknesses best, it seems, and the key players stepped up when the need was there. In each line of the pitch, someone did that little bit more: Nikiema is a quality goalie for his size, Akhil Sabil formed a beacon of certainty and overview, Zakaria Mlapa might be the best midfield pitbull out there, Groaré Sasca turned into a fan favourite over his delicious touch… Most highlighted of them all is Mamadouba Diawara, who after a relatively quiet opening half of the year stepped out of the shadow and scored key goals on the weekly. Tonight he did it again in trademark style, sprinting out of the reach for his guardians before sending a screamer past Sakharé and winning River Stadium the first Premier League title!

Premier League         Pld  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts
1 Stade Djalenga 22 13 6 3 41 24 +17 45
2 Olympique Garo 22 13 5 4 48 31 +17 44
3 Dragons de Massagui 22 12 4 6 30 23 +7 40
4 Etoile Bokandé 22 10 5 7 41 30 +11 35
5 Royal Garo 22 10 3 9 35 36 −1 33
6 Djalenga Foot 22 8 8 6 48 43 +5 32
7 Red Star Kalagouba 22 8 3 11 31 32 −1 27
8 Kouarou Golden Boys 22 7 6 9 27 32 −5 27
9 Union Kada 22 4 9 9 35 43 −8 21
10 Yourougou FC 22 5 5 12 19 29 −10 20
11 Dembana Star 22 4 8 10 18 31 −13 20
12 Falako Sports 22 3 8 11 24 43 −19 17

Week 38

Promotion Playoff
Bogourma Lions 2–2 Stade Sarou (3–2 AET)

La Coupe Final
Royal Garo 2–1 Dragons de Massagui

The biggest price might have been given, there were still two games on the agenda for which many club managers would give an arm and a leg. River Stadium had been hired for a double header with the promotion game first. Stade Sarou could become the first fan-owned team to reach the Premier League and did their utter best - being one goal up at half time, it seemed as if they had the upper hand. But the Lions had played their cards best and physically overpowered Stade bit by bit. Starlet Ayité scored the equaliser with eight minutes left on the clock and Sarou simply crumbled - it wasn’t a matter if Bogourma would score in extra-time, but when. The Premier League welcomes a sturdy side which could be a thorn in the side for more prestigious opponents and ensures somes intriguing derbies with Bokandé and Dembana.

But most eyes were on the Cup Final of course. The few Djalenga fans were torn about who to dislike most, their eternal enemy from Massagui or the Royals, nationwide perceived as arrogant? The thousands who had travelled along with their heroes couldn’t care less. Diallo had made it clear before the game that he considered his own team as the favourites, a bold statement as his Dragons did not exactly jump out of the starting blocks. The opening twenty minutes were slow, with Garo dominating possession but struggling what to do with it. Understandably, they wanted to avoid running into the knife called Idrissa Akakpo who seemed particularly pumped for this game.

However, the situation of the Purple Train turned far more positive when Paul Condé targeted the goal from far out. It was one of those shots that could have ended up in the second ring but tonight, it rattled the top corner and allowed Royal to play it wisely. Aristide Traoré, the controversial coach who called his opponents “millionaires with the attitude of cockroaches”, celebrated wildly but seemed to have the right end of the stick. Before teatime, Ephraim Mirzian was fastest on a loose ball and managed to beat Sankharé for the second time. Dragons de Massagui with their back against the wall now, there was little left for them but Diallo clinged on to his system.

This meant a lot of balls on Akakpo who was guarded up close, and at times quite physically, by Souna and Agboh. Neither are particularly good defenders but they know the ropes. It was already quite a performance that Idrissa Akakpo managed to get one goal in nonetheless, but they didn’t get further. In the absolute tailend, two additional strikers were thrown on but it didn’t suffice: Dragons de Massagui does not double up on last year’s victory, it’s Royal Garo who surprisingly, but not undeserved, can celebrate the trophy.


Player of the Year
1. Mamadouba Diawara Stade Djalenga 200 points
2. Isabella Cassadore Dragons de Massagui 164
3. Groaré Sasca Stade Djalenga 129
4. Leigh Tudor Olympique Garo 92
5. Salim Sankaré Dragons de Massagui 84
6. Fern MacEanraig Djalenga Foot 78
7. Daouda Assanté Olympique Garo 41
8. Akhil Sabil Stade Djalenga 24
9. Ephraim Mirzian Royal Garo 20
Ousseni Dagano Djalenga Foot 20
11. Deniz Erbil Etoile Bokandé 19
12. Issa Aduama Etoile Bokandé 12
13. Zakaria Mlapa Stade Djalenga 11
14. Mamadou Zongo Kouarou Golden Boys 9
15. Toussaint Womé Olympique Garo 6
16. Idrissa Akakpo Dragons de Massagui 4
Yves Kouyaté Union Kada 4
18. Artemis Kyser Red Star Kalagouba 3
Blaise Nikiema Stade Djalenga 3
20. Paul Condé Royal Garo 1

Golden Glove
1. Salim Sankaré Dragons de Massagui 13 clean sheets
2. Bassira Adanhouma Red Star Kalagouba 7
Blaise Nikiema Stade Djalenga 7

Golden Boot
1. Leigh Tudor Olympique Garo 18 goals
2. Mamadouba Diawara Stade Djalenga 15
3. Ousseni Dagano Djalenga Foot 13
Idrissa Akakpo Dragons de Massagui 13
5. Issa Aduama Etoile Bokandé 12
6. Ephraim Mirzian Royal Garo 11
Salomon Cissé Union Kada 11
8. Daouda Assanté Olympique Garo 10
9. Banou Issiaka Kouarou Golden Boys 9
Moise Bundu Djalenga Foot 9
11. Romeo Nibombe Olympique Garo 8
Henri Coulibaly Red Star Kalagouba 8
Fodé Siry Stade Djalenga 8
13. Fern MacEanraig Djalenga Foot 7
Cedric Feindouno Etoile Bokandé 7
15. Shaun Killdinny Dembana Star 6
Daré Gakpé Dragons de Massagui 6
Baslios Temesgen Kouarou Golden Boys 6
Cyrille Yabré Union Kada 6
19. Daouda Sissako Djalenga Foot 5
Paul Condé Royal Garo 5
Eric Yattara Royal Garo 5
Zakaria Mlapa Stade Djalenga 5
Groaré Sasca Stade Djalenga 5
Deniz Erbil Etoile Bokandé 5
Toussaint Gakpé Red Star Kalagouba 5
Koffi Baio Red Star Kalagouba 5
Ilias Saré Falako Sports 5

Silver Assist
1. Fern MacEanraig Djalenga Foot 12
2. Daouda Assanté Olympique Garo 10
Groaré Sasca Stade Djalenga 10
4. Isabella Cassadore Dragons de Massagui 9
Gerard Bagayoko Falako Sports 9
6. Deniz Erbil Etoile Bokandé 8
Mamadou Zongo Kouarou Golden Boys 8
8. Daouda Sissako Djalenga Foot 7
Koffi Baio Red Star Kalagouba 7
10. Baslios Temesgen Kouarou Golden Boys 6
Nii Ghanou Dragons de Massagui 6
Pascal Ghanou Royal Garo 6
José Dianda Olympique Garo 6
Yves Kouyaté Union Kada 6
15. Tidjani Tchalla Etoile Bokandé 5
Fodé Siry Stade Djalenga 5
Ousseni Dagano Djalenga Foot 5
Kassim Aoudou Dembana Star 5
Leigh Tudor Olympique Garo 5
Artemis Kyser Red Star Kalagouba 5
Toussaint Womé Olympique Garo 5
Jules Tchangai Royal Garo 5

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:18 pm

National Baseball Cup
Season 20/21

Baseball is not exactly a big sport in Mkabia, but is a popular pastime in the landlocked parts of the nation. Especially amongst kids, it’s played by many but also quite widespread as a spectator sport. The National Baseball Competition pits nine of the best semi-professional teams against one another. Semi, we say, as they do not earn a wage but receive their income purely from the gate receipts and the ‘bonus’ shared by fans and club owners. This explains the optimised pricing to attract as many people as possible as well as why the competition has a weekly doubleheader on the weekend. As such, it could be seen as a double round robin with two games for each fixture, resulting in 18 rounds and 32 games each.

The opening season was an interesting round, although the variance in quality between the different sides became awfully clear at times. Some of the bottom trailers are no match to the top four of the country and some spindoctors are trying to come up with ways to raise the balance. Nonetheless, baseball fans were served with some intriguing duels - we’ve handpicked four doubleheaders to explain the big trends of the year.

Round 3
Garo Gladiators 4–0 Garo Black Sox
Garo Gladiators 0–4 Garo Black Sox

As much as the NBC management tried to raise the tension, there was little doubt which side presented itself as the main favourite for the opening season. The Garo Gladiators entered the arena coming from a series of victories in friendlies and preparation tournaments. However, already early on, this appeared to be less a walk in the park then many had expected. The opening day loss against the Thunderbolts was still brushed aside as an accident, a lack of warm up to the pace of the competition. By round three, however, it became clear that the Gladiators were not going to run an unbeaten season.

The Saturday leg at the home of the Black Sox looked fairly habitual. Mazinga Park is quite large and the few Garoans who support the second club in town looked to a logical result: victory for the visitors through some brilliant batting from Hassane Adjamossi, probably the nation's best known baseball player. But the Black Sox, usually seen as a bit plucky and amateuristic, but maybe more charming than their local rivals, had kept the best for Sunday. It wasn’t until inning six that they opened the score but the homerun from Falaye Conombo knocked it out the park - literally and figuratively. A marvellous moment from the 21-year old and one that spiced up the competition.

Word spread of the Gladiators taking a beating and by the last inning, two-thousand more tickets were sold. They got value for their money when Adjamossi stepped up to the plate with two of his Gladiators in the field but a marvellous catch from Boubacar Kaboré denied the Gladiators the victory. It was the start of an intriguing race in which Gladiators usually were found at the top of the table, but had to accept the Thunderbolts and the Swashbucklers hanging on and at times even tieing them in the table. The Black Sox had by then lived their moment - but it was one to remember.

Round 10
Kouarou Thunderbolts 0–3 N'Goba Allmighties
Kouarou Thunderbolts 1–4 N'Goba Allmighties

Yes indeed, the Thunderbolts. The side in their fashionable black-and-yellow outfits managed to surprise the observers with a very tidy opening half of the season in which they managed thirteen wins, which placed them joined first after nine rounds. This exceeded the expectations, especially as none of the players exceeded the expectations in particular. Shortstop Olufade, outfielder Yameogo, Soumah when he’s pitching. Their weapons were known, as were their weaknesses. But so far, each time when the coin could have dropped both ways, it seemed as if it was going the way of the Thunderbolts.

Until this point, of course. Is it a matter of bad luck or did something crack during the off week? Fact is that the N’Goba Allmighties, a well-respected mid-tier club, managed to get rid of the Thunderbolts on two separate occasions and not just on that bit of luck but simply by making not a single mistake themselves and exploiting those of the opposition. One Rabo Nakoulma hit was handled badly by the Kouarou outfielders and before they knew it, they were three points down in the third inning. The second leg was a carbon copy of its predecessor: N’Goba simply showed that bit more quality and never gave Kouarou a decent chance to score a run. It was the end of a title dream and the Gladiators now only had one opponent left to worry about.

Round 13
Bokandé Braves 4–20 Kalagouba Swashbucklers
Bokandé Braves 2–5 Kalagouba Swashbucklers

The Swashbucklers are not only blessed with the most exciting nickname in Mkabian baseball, they also know how to hit it. But their Saturday leg against the Bokandé Braves was one that made the headlines across the region. It’s easy to set aside the Braves as a mediocre troop but we must give them some praise - across the season, they managed to grab all the scalps: except the one from the Gladiators. As such, they’re an opponent that can worry any side in the league on their day. But Round 13 was not their day, that’s for sure.

Kalagouba came into the doubleheader with some pressure on their shoulders. Previous mistakes made them trail the Gladiators by two points - quite a margin in this competition. There was an awareness that if they wanted to endanger Garo, no balls could be dropped anymore. And sticking it to Garo always gets the enthusiasm from Kalagoubans a bit more than anything else. The hilly, rough and fairly arid centre of our country has a limited population aside from the valley of the Sakoy river. A major part of that valley is taken by Garo, an industrial stronghold and an oasis of civilisation and pollution amidst the dry mountains. Some thirty to forty kilometres down that stream, one can find Kalagouba. The little one of the region and always very eager to stick it to their bigger neighbour.

So they walked into their Mpete Park with the knowledge that winning was not an option but an obligation. Some teams will be stiffened by that, but the boys from Lonsana Coulibaly apparently got a boost out of it and ripped apart the Braves. Up until inning four (2-4 scoreline), all seemed reasonably ok. But then the Swashbucklers grabbed their opponent by the neck and didn’t let go. The eighth inning, in which Kalagouba amassed no less than seven runs, was particularly brutal as the Braves simply fell apart. When the dust had settled, Bokandé had taken it on the chin with a 4-20 loss, Garo dropped a point at the Buccaneers and the title race was wide open again.

Round 16
Kalagouba Swashbucklers 0–9 Garo Gladiators
Kalagouba Swashbucklers 0–6 Garo Gladiators

No play-offs in the NBC but this doubleheader towards the end of the competition was as good as it gets for Mkabian baseball fans. Both Garo and Kalagouba entered with a record of 21 victories and 5 losses, the press was all over the duel between David and Goliath and there even was a notable away support - quite rare in Mkabian baseball. The atmosphere had been poked up a little more as there were rumors that the Gladiators had approached one of the Kalagouba key players, 24-year old baseman Zakaria Oulare, to play for them next season. Both parties claimed these were false, but there was a not-to-be misunderstood remark from manager Coulibaly - “Some use all possible means, we use our baseball.”

The opening leg, however, mainly proved that baseball, or at least their baseball, was not enough to cut it. The Gladiators had Hassane Adjamossi who laid out the foundation with a homerun at his home park and things just collapsed from that point onwards for the Swashbucklers. There even was a painful moment for Lassane Diaye who, after a strong season, managed to get an out with two men on the bases and ruin every chance of a spectacular return. The Sunday leg was simply a confirmation of what was known: the Garo Gladiators win this title by virtue of having the better squad. It’s comforting for the fans and the excitement that, yes, there are days where they are beatable but the best baseball side in the nation is without any doubt this troop.

National Baseball Cup             Pld   W   L   RF   RA   RD   Pts
1 Garo Gladiators 32 27 5 182 79 +103 27
2 Kalagouba Swashbucklers 32 24 8 148 78 +70 24
3 N'Goba Allmighties 32 21 11 131 80 +51 21
4 Kouarou Thunderbolts 32 20 12 125 115 +10 20
5 Bokandé Braves 32 14 18 126 150 −24 14
6 Garo Black Sox 32 13 19 115 141 −26 13
7 Djalenga Buccaneers 32 10 22 83 127 −44 10
8 Lanyaré Reds 32 8 24 76 152 −76 8
9 Tangbou Bisons 32 7 25 95 159 −64 7

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Mon Apr 06, 2020 2:56 am

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Preview

The road infrastructure is, for a country that has known a civil war for years on end, less shabby than you would expect but worse than you would aspire. The colonisers left a proper network behind, especially in the coastal regions and along the Ngta River, but bits and parts suffered from the war. The interior knows a mix of a few slabs of smooth asphalt and windy gravel roads, which make up for an excellent scenery for the inaugural Tour de Mkabia. The bike is a key transport medium in the country, in part due to its comparatively gentle price and the relative proximity of all cities to one another. And as cars, which don’t get produced within the borders, are scarce, this is the sole way to get around if you want to avoid the abominable bus system.

No wonder that sooner or later, races would be organised between cyclists. Initially, these were transport riders who wagered their meagre incomes against one another but in time, a decent domestic scene blossomed. That was, until the war broke out. It seems as if the sport has been hit more than any other with the disrupting war as many of the classic one day races required a possibility to travel across regions peacefully. As such, the calendar in the opening 2020 season looked bleak and empty with only a handful of races.

Up steps Gratien Mbenga, a man of whom the source of his wealth always has been a touchy subject but who decided to bankroll an inaugural Tour de Mkabia. Stylised like many of the international crown jewels of the sport, it consists of multiple stages raced one after another and a time classification which sums the total raced time of a rider to determine a victor. Not only did Mbenga put his shoulders under a cross national organisation - quite a feat in itself - he also assured a decent amount of prize money to make it worth the ride for the participants.

And these participants were up for a wild ride across the nation. Starting from the Ngta delta, they make their way up north with three seemingly easy stages - although the first Sunday and its individual time trial could immediately shortlist the favourites. After a long and tricky stage into N’Goba, there’s the feared mountain stage into Garo, which features a few of the highest peaks in the nation. On Thursday, the riders have a short but vital time trial which sees the crest Mpete Peak, a true leg murderer. Although the leader could be determined then already, he might want to keep his eyes open for the stage into Songto on Friday. The closing weekend sees a prestigious race to St Krwa, the hill that overlooks the capital and is notorious in the domestic bicycling scene. With all things said, the festivities end up with a simple sprint stage in the streets of Djalenga.


Stage 1 - Massagui - Dembana 179 km Flat with uphill finish
Stage 2 - Dembana - Bogourma 34 km Flat ITT
Stage 3 - Bokandé - Lanyaré 154 km Flat stage
Stage 4 - Lanyaré - N’Goba 209 km Hilly stage
Stage 5 - N’Goba - Garo 128 km Mountain stage
Stage 6 - Garo - Mpete Peak 16 km Mountain ITT
Stage 7 - Garo - Songto 171 km Hilly stage
Stage 8 - Songto - St Krwa 162 km Flat with hill finish
Stage 9 - Djalenga - Djalenga 98 km Crit style

Total 1151 km

The list of participants might look small at first sight, but the biggests names in Mkabian cycling have gathered at the starting line nonetheless. They are split up between six commercial teams and four selections. Those who managed to get a spot on the commercial teams are best off, without any doubt. These are riders who earn a wage, at least during the season, and are as such able to prepare in better conditions. No wonder that they contain the favorites and the big names. To ensure a sufficiently large peloton, various riders have been invited to a regional selection. Filled with amateurs, they are the true outsiders and the guys who simply aspire to reach the finish within the time limit, but a few might bolster bigger ambitions.

It is no surprise to see the number one go to the rider who is deemed the most dangerous one by the bookmakers. With reason as Demba Kaba, who already picked up two difficult classics this season in the GP Industriel and the feared Fleche du Nord, combines all required skillsets. He is a powerful climber who can pack a decent time trial and has, at 29, the experience to withstand the nervous days. Add to that that Kaba has a very strong team by his side, but this might actually form a danger as well. Sa Diabaté and Togaba Kourouma both have enough arrows on their bow to target the podium as well but whilst the 33-year old Kourouma might have accepted the role of loyal helper, many wonder if Kourouma, a decade his junior, will be able to contain himself if Kaba shows a sign of weakness. If the Denkarice squad can keep it together, they’re top dog. If…

Cyclaro Bikes enters the arena with a duo who wants to pick up the glove against Kaba. Fabien Bissouma might have lost his best years in the war but has the motivation at 35 to go out with a bang. Theoretically, he’s the lesser one in the mountains but could take some time in the time trials. Additionally, he can let the wee climber Serge Senaya poke holes in the tactical plan from Denkarice. Senaya is diminutive and will struggle to stay with the bunch at times, but can take on mountains as no other and triumphed in the heaviest one-day race of the year, the Sakoy Challenge.

The focus from Credit Complet appears to be elsewhere, with Zakaria Boussari mainly targeting some of the flatter stages. His leg speed is known and he bolsters a team of riders who can survive in various circumstances. Keep an eye out on Moussa Some, who should lose times in the big mountain stages but can battle along on every other terrain. Diallo Construct depends on Sambegou Wome, the veteran of the pack at 38 but a cunning rider who can exploit his knowledge of the terrain. This team also contains Ali Fatoukouma, an untested youngster but a major talent according to all those who ever train with him.

The deeper we go into the field, the more the quality is waning but Habib Akoko definitely deserves a shoutout. He might be the fastest man in the peloton and can rely on a loyal squad that will do everything to bring him to the finish line, including his brother Salim. In the crit circuit, Akoko is considered to be the ace. To wrap up the sponsored sides, there is Liqueur Bato, a strange last-minute collective with fairly unknown riders. No one knows what to expect from them but ‘little’ sums it up pretty much.

As mentioned, most of the regional selections contain amateurs who aspire to shine sufficiently to ensure a contract. Although there’s a reason why most don’t have one at the moment, there are a few riders worth highlighting. Salif Mawuena used to be a big name but took a step back - we hope for one last trick from him. Teteh Koanda used to be part of the Denkarice formation but got personally ousted by Kaba, which tends to be all the motivation one needs. And there’s a few intriguing youngsters, of whom Sambegou Koffi might be the most interesting to follow.

Starting List

1. Demba KABA 11. Fabien BISSOUMA
2. Omar ABALO 12. Salomon DAH
3. Sa DIABATE 13. Serge SENAYA
4. Togaba KOUROUMA 14. Kondo SERE
5. Mamadou YATTARA 15. Alassane YATTARA

21. Zakaria BOUSSARI 31. Sambegou WOME
22. Tidjani MAWUENA 32. Demba BALOGOU
23. Wassiou SANKOH 33. Victor CONTEH
24. Moussa SOME 34. Ali FATOUKOUMA
25. Mamadou SOU 35. Issoufou TCHALLA

41. Habib AKOTO 51. Cheikh TCHAGOUNI
42. Salim AKOTO 52. Moctar BALOGOU
43. Libambami KOUYATE 53. Issiaga CISSE
44. Henri SEGBEFIA 54. Adekambi DOSSAMA
45. Ocansey TOURE 55. Kei MAMAH

61. Abdou BAKARY 71. Ernest BOUSSARI
62. Cedric KEITA 72. Herve BOUSSARI
63. Teteh KOANDA 73. Togaba DISSA
64. Banou KOUASSI 74. Sambegou KOFFI
65. Demba YATABARE 75. Kalifa NDOUR

81. Mo ASANTE 91. Amara BALDE
82. Lassina MOUTARI 92. Seidou DJOKOU
83. Maklibé NIANG 93. Salif MAWUENA
84. Yahia SECK 94. Kodjo MOUSSA
85. Madou TALL 95. Yao MOUSSA

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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Tue Apr 07, 2020 2:52 pm

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 1

The organisers had written in down, black on white, in the leaflets: ‘We kick off the race with a calm sprint stage…’ but apparently we didn’t read the fine print. What should have been a fairly simple drag to the finish line became mayhem early on already. When leaving Massagui, the riders would first follow the coastline for about fifty kilometres before turning right (or north, if you prefer) and moving inland across the plains. All flat and all straightforward, if it weren’t for a nasty southwestern wind coming from over the waves. The riders hadn’t properly tested their gears yet when it blew in heavy and smashed the group to pieces.

An excellent opportunity for some teams to put others to the test and the Denkarice - Expa riders took up the occasion. Yattara and Abalo did the heavy lifting to form a group of approximately twenty guys whilst the others turned to smithereens: a group of six even got so far behind that they had to abandon the race. Most of the favourites for the general classification did make it across, however, with a few notable exceptions. Teteh Koanda couldn’t hold the line and had to look in frustration how his former teammates turned the gap into minutes and the 57 kilograms from Serge Senaya did not protect the small climber, he went overboard as well and can already cross out his chances of the GC. The biggest tragedy was for Sambegou Wome - the old fox even let some of his mates contribute to the Denkarice effort but got a flat near the end of the wind section. Despite some valiant efforts from his teammate Balogou, he lost seven minutes.

At some point, the first bunch was nearly nine minutes ahead but as they approached Dembana, the pace dropped bit by bit, not in the least as the big engines who had dragged the group were empty and had to let them go. The remaining fifteen contained a lot of leaders and nearly no domestiques, which led to a nervy game of attacking, catching up and dropping the pace. Both Bissouma and Diabaté tried to make a difference, but it’s clear that the Cyclaro and Denkarice teams have found a match in one another. As they reached the streets of Dembana, lined by spectators, it was Credit Complet that set the pace and got their plan together spectacularly. Moussa Some did his bit for the team spirit and disallowed any idea of a late attack, after which Wassiou Sankoh pulled.

The pace of Sankoh was perfect, meaning that sprint ace Zakaria Boussari only had to come out of his wheel at one hundred to grab the stage victory. From behind, Victor Conteh managed to clinch the second spot whilst Sankoh completed the success for his formation. “Some say it’s a cliché to thank the team,” Boussari proclaimed, “but today it’s the simple truth.” He wasn’t the only one who looked satisfied at the finish line. Demba Kaba lauded the strong team effort whilst Bissouma seemed relaxed over his own form, “the legs are there”. The opening stage immediately left all teams with much to think about, but Credit Complet with the red leader jersey.

Stage 1 *** Massagui - Dembana

1 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 4:24:01
2 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
3 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet)
4 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta)
5 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa)
6 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes)
7 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa)
8 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD)
9 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes)
10 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
11 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
12 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur)
13 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa)
14 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal)
15 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta)
16 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 4:27:53
17 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal)
18 Cheikh Tchagouni (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
19 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur)
20 Amara Balde (Selection Interieur)
21 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes)
22 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 4:31:08
23 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD)
24 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
25 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
26 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
27 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet)
28 Demba Balogou (Diallo Construct - LPD) 4:31:17
29 Cedric Keita (Selection Coastal) 4:35:18
30 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal)
31 Mo Asante (Selection Sakoy)
32 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy)
33 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa)
34 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur)
35 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta)
36 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy)
37 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes)
38 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers)
39 Mamadou Yattara (Denkarice - Expa)
40 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes)
41 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 4:43:40
42 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta)
43 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
44 Ocansey Toure (Samba Sneakers)
— Kodjo Moussa (Selection Interieur) DNF
Banou Kouassi (Selection Coastal) DNF
Lassina Moutari (Selection Sakoy) DNF
Herve Boussari (Selection Ngta) DNF
Issoufou Tchalla (Diallo Construct - LPD) DNF
Moctar Balogou (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) DNF

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 21

It’s not everyone’s favourite event, an individual time trial like this across an open territory. Had the wind been in their favor for the final part of yesterday’s stage, now it came annoyingly from the side as they traversed between two major cities from the Ngta valley. A test like this requires a big engine and a lot of durability, as 34 kilometers on a huge gear weeds out the weak and keeps only the strong on board. Although yesterday was far more explosive than anyone could have foreseen, this was truly the first big test for the guys with GC ambitions.

But first those further down the classification would take the road. Libambani Kouyate dove below 49 minutes early on, a surprising but splendid performance from the young talent. As the lesser heroes came and went, only Senaya came close with a comforting ride - quite fine for his skillset and a reassurance that even if he might be out for the GC, he will play his role. The time from Kouyate eventually was broken by fellow Samba Sneakers rider Habib Akoto. Although primarily a sprinter and potentially more concerned about the stage tomorrow, he knew his team could use a bit of a boost after a rough opening day and went full out - even Dah and Wome couldn’t go below his time.

It stood for a while, but then the big names turned up. Sa Diabate took the hot seat over, even if it was only by two seconds. Not bad from the young Denkarice man but Moussa Some quickly did better - half a minute in the advantage of the Credit Complet man. The next leader was even more surprising but not undeserved: Ali Fatoukouma rolled in with an amazing time and even Demba Kaba could not reach that. With Wome far back in the classification, Diallo Construct will now put all their money on the elegant 22-year old. However, it was not the end of the drama.

Already early on, it became clear that two men were above the others in this discipline. On each of the intermediary points, the gap between Fabien Bissouma and Togaba Kourouma was a matter of seconds. Kourouma is the most underestimated of the three Denkarice GC men, but with this result, he shows he goes toe to toe with anyone. Nonetheless, the winner and new leader is Fabien Bissouma who kept his outer ring going to keep it by eight seconds: little but enough. Red jersey Boussari did a valiant effort but he too could not match the big GC names: their circle of candidates tightens to six, it seems, or can one of the lesser-known elements surprise? It won’t be Issiaga Cissé who caught the attention for his Liqueur Bato team in the first stage, easily recognised by the horrendous yellow-and-purple combination. Cissé broke a brake cable and a tooth, and came to the finish bleeding and last.

Stage 2 *** Dembana - Bogourma

1 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 47:35
2 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 47:43
3 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 48:04
4 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 48:05
5 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 48:21
6 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 48:51
7 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 48:53
8 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 48:55
9 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 48:59
10 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 49:06
11 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 49:07
12 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 49:11
13 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 49:14
14 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 49:28
15 Amara Balde (Selection Interieur) 49:39
16 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 49:44
17 Demba Balogou (Diallo Construct - LPD) 49:45
18 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta) 49:47
19 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 49:48
20 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 49:53
21 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 49:53
22 Ocansey Toure (Samba Sneakers) 50:07
23 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 50:17
24 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 50:33
25 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 50:45
26 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 50:46
27 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal) 50:46
28 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 50:47
29 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 50:56
30 Cheikh Tchagouni (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 51:06
31 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet) 51:12
32 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet) 51:13
33 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 51:23
34 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 51:27
35 Mo Asante (Selection Sakoy) 51:56
36 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 51:58
37 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 52:16
38 Mamadou Yattara (Denkarice - Expa) 52:20
39 Cedric Keita (Selection Coastal) 52:37
40 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 52:37
41 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 52:43
42 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 52:50
43 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 53:18
44 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 53:38

General Classification

1 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 5:11:06
2 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 0:08
3 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 0:29
4 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 0:30
5 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 0:46
6 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 1:16
7 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 1:31
8 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta) 2:12
9 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 2:13
10 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 3:10
11 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal) 3:11
12 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 3:21
13 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet) 3:38
14 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 3:48
15 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 5:12
16 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 5:33
17 Amara Balde (Selection Interieur) 5:56
18 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 6:03
19 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 6:50
20 Cheikh Tchagouni (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 7:23
21 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 7:44
22 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 8:25
23 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 8:39
24 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 8:43
25 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 9:16
26 Demba Balogou (Diallo Construct - LPD) 9:26
27 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet) 10:44
28 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 12:22
29 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 13:10
30 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 13:35
31 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 13:35
32 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 13:59
33 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 14:28
34 Mo Asante (Selection Sakoy) 15:38
35 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 15:40
36 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 15:58
37 Mamadou Yattara (Denkarice - Expa) 16:02
38 Cedric Keita (Selection Coastal) 16:19
39 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 16:19
40 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 16:25
41 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 21:03
42 Ocansey Toure (Samba Sneakers) 22:11
43 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 22:51
44 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 25:22

At last, some of the promised quiet opener of the race with a short ride along the Ngta towards Lanyaré. In this season, with the spring flowers showing their best, it’s a lovely ride for any enthusiast and as the sun had come out, the crowd was present in huge numbers as they rode the final, local, laps in the streets of Lanyaré. It seemed as if the fine weather dissuaded the riders to try anything funny or maybe the first two stages had already strained them more than anticipated, especially with what lies ahead.

As such, it was only late in the race that the fireworks started. As could be expected, it were some of the local riders who attempted to make the most of it. The selection from the Ngta valley tried to show its colours and instigated a few piercing attacks. Especially a combined effort from Kalifa Ndour and Ernest Boussari, aided by Tall from the Sakoy selection, showed some promise. With ten kilometres left, they were nearly a minute ahead and the alarms were blazing red for the other teams if they wanted to make something out of this stage.

Credit Complet and Samba Sneakers joined forces to bridge across but needed to go full out to do so, a dangerous tactic as every man burned could cost them in the ultimate kilometres. Nonetheless, it was the bunch who had timed it to perfection this time around. First they caught Boussari and next Tall, which left a strong Ndour in a hopeless attempt. With the banner of three kilometers approaching, they finally got the local hero as well but just as the front of the group passed him by, things went awry. Salim Akoto looked across his shoulder to find his brother but didn’t see Ndour, exhausted from the raid and falling back quickly. The two clipped together and crashed heavily - as by wonder only Dah and sprinter Seck were caught up as well.

However, the group was split and the chaos was complete now. Amidst the confusion, Teteh Koanda tried to profit and jumped away on the other side of the road. In theory a hopeless case but he had a seizable gap by the time someone got organised. Unfortunately for Koanda, Credit Complet could gather some numbers and came creeping closer. Just when we thought that Koanda might make it after all, it wasn’t Boussari who made use of the work of his teammates, but Habib Akoto who jumped out of nowhere. Despite his team going down, Akoto had chosen the right wheel and caught a disappointed Koanda in the last decameters. A great win for Samba Sneakers, who already got what they came here for and can now go into the remainder of the Tour with some clarity.

Zakaria Boussari picked up third in the end, just ahead of Omar Abalo but the latter was not the Denkarice rider who caught the most attention. Demba Kaba had been held up behind the Ndour crash and saw himself forced to chase back. However, none of the riders in his group offered to do any bit of the work and as such, he had to do it all on his own with a long tail of sandbags. The star rider was fuming after the finish line, having lost over half a minute and complaining how none of his teammates had dropped back to help: Diabate and Kourouma were taking care of their own classification whilst Yattara was leading out Abalo for one of the rare sprint chances. The first cracks are appearing in the formation of Denkarice, which is only in the advantage of the man still in the coveted red jersey, Fabien Bissouma who had a calm day in the saddle.

Stage 3 *** Bokandé - Lanyaré

1 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 3:39:12
2 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal)
3 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet)
4 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa)
5 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta)
6 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy)
7 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD)
8 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa)
9 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet)
10 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes)
11 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
12 Amara Balde (Selection Interieur)
13 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet)
14 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
15 Mo Asante (Selection Sakoy)
16 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
17 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes)
18 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa)
19 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
20 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur)
21 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes)
22 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD)
23 Ocansey Toure (Samba Sneakers)
24 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers)
25 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes)
26 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur)
27 Mamadou Yattara (Denkarice - Expa)
28 Cheikh Tchagouni (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
29 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers)
30 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
31 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 3:39:37
32 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal)
33 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta)
34 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa)
35 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal)
36 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur)
37 Cedric Keita (Selection Coastal)
38 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet)
39 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 3:40:45
40 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 3:41:19
41 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 3:49:16
42 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta)
43 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes)
- Demba Balogou (Diallo Construct - LPD) DNF

General Classification

1 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 5:11:06
2 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 0:08
3 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 0:29
4 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 0:46
5 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 0:55
6 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 1:16
7 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 1:31
8 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 2:38
9 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 3:10
10 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 3:21
11 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal) 3:36
12 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet) 3:38
13 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 3:48
14 Amara Balde (Selection Interieur) 5:56
15 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 5:58
16 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 6:50
17 Cheikh Tchagouni (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 7:23
18 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 7:36
19 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 8:09
20 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 8:25
21 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 8:39
22 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 8:43
23 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 9:16
24 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet) 10:44
25 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta) 12:16
26 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 13:10
27 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 13:35
28 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 13:35
29 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 13:59
30 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 14:53
31 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 15:16
32 Mo Asante (Selection Sakoy) 15:38
33 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 15:58
34 Mamadou Yattara (Denkarice - Expa) 16:02
35 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 16:19
36 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 16:25
37 Cedric Keita (Selection Coastal) 16:44
38 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 17:47
39 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 21:03
40 Ocansey Toure (Samba Sneakers) 22:11
41 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 22:26
42 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 23:16
43 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 25:22

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Fri Apr 10, 2020 6:32 am

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 4

That’s where the going gets tough and, evidently, where we’ll see the tough guys surface. The fourth stage had a marvellous landscape in store for the spectators but a horrific ride for the peloton. Mkabia up north is nearly abandoned with arid lands, high temperatures and, probably most annoying, not a stretch of flat road in sight. In this scenery, the organisers have set out the longest stage of this Tour with an endless string of hills which have, one after another, a worse surface than the next. Although the middle section should allow for a bit of a breather as they follow the D9, the last fifty kilometers have four more hard hills in store.

And maybe it was that deadly final section which kept the riders from exploding the race straight from the starting gun. Confident in their red jersey, Fabien Bissouma, the Cyclaro team controlled the pace and tried to keep everything grouped together. There were a few attempts but only a naive flyer from Amara Balde went somewhere. To be more exact, it went to the exit as Balde rode in front of the group for two hours before being caught and left behind on the spot… He would never see N’Goba. Most of the others were satisfied with hiding behind the broad shoulders of Dah and Yattara who set a pace that was not immediately exhausting but dissuaded most from an attack.

Nonetheless, when we approached the long Mazemba Hill, it became clear that the legs were softened already. Denkarice tried to take over the command but got mixed results out of it. Although many riders had to let go, they burned quicker through their men than anticipated: Abalo suffered from a bad day and Yattara missed a turn in the descent, making him abandon the race. The remaining seventeen riders were spread across various teams, inspiring some to try something different. Even if Sambegou Koffi was not considered a real candidate for the title, his attack was guarded closely. A second attempt by Abdou Bakary and Kei Mamah got more leeway as the numbers from the bunch diminished.

With only the four kilometer climb up Gnura Road and the quick descent to N’Goba left, Denkarice tried to force red jersey Bissouma to an action. Their third man, Kourouma got away whilst Kaba and Diabate ogled the actions from Bissouma, only saveguarded by Sere at this point. Togoba Kourouma did get two riders along, a well cooperating Some and little sandbag Senaya, laboured hard and threatened the leaders jersey from Bissouma. When Sere got shelled, many expected that Fabien Bissouma would close the gap on the leader, the other favorites hanging in his wheel. Notable exception to that rule was youngster Fatakouma, who suffered from the distance.

In the front, the trio Kourouma, Some and Senaya caught and dropped Bakary and Mamah and got nearly a minute on Bissouma with the top approaching. Only at that point, Kaba and Diabate realised they dug a hole for themselves: upon their first attack, they distanced an exhausted Bissouma. “I just didn’t have the legs,” the race leader explained, “but it could have been worse.” Most definitely as his biggest rival, Kaba, only moved out with seven kilometres left in the race. In the front, Some kept the pace up till the finish line, putting Kourouma and Senaya in the sprinting position. Neither are exactly aces in that domain, but if you mistime it like Togaba Kourouma, then it’s an easy win for Senaya. The Denkarice man nonetheless got consolation in taking over the leaders jersey.

And so Kaba and Diabate put over a minute in a worn out Bissouma, making it three Denkarice riders in the top four - the kind of position one shouldn’t be allowed to waste. Still, the win is not assured with Some handling the climbs better than expected and Bissouma limiting the damage to remain within two minutes. Further down the classification, Ali Fatoukouma falls back to sixth after a difficult day whilst some lesser-known names manage to surprise: Selection Coastal can count on a strong duo in Bakary and Koanda and reward themselves with a top ten spot and the Ngta selection showed up in numbers.

Stage 4 *** Lanyaré - N’Goba

1 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 5:24:24
2 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa)
3 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
4 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 5:24:56
5 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa)
6 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet)
7 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 5:26:17
8 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes)
9 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 5:26:50
10 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal)
11 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
12 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 5:28:45
13 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 5:30:08
14 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD)
15 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta)
16 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta)
17 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
18 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 5:33:30
19 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur)
20 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
21 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 5:34:38
22 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes)
23 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur)
24 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 5:36:58
25 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers)
26 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet) 5:42:21
27 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes)
28 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal)
29 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers)
30 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
31 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
32 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta)
33 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
34 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
35 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet)
36 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 5:50:11
37 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet) 5:57:29
— Mo Asante (Selection Sakoy) DNF
Cedric Keita (Selection Coastal) DNF
Ocansey Toure (Samba Sneakers) DNF
Cheikh Tchagouni (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) DNF
Mamadou Yattara (Denkarice - Expa) DNF
Amara Balde (Selection Interieur) DNF

General Classification

1 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 14:14:48
2 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 0:38
3 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 1:19
4 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 1:40
5 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:45
6 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 6:05
7 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 6:22
8 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 8:14
9 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 10:24
10 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 10:27
11 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 11:34
12 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 12:46
13 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 13:10
14 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 13:27
15 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 14:19
16 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 16:56
17 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 18:43
18 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 19:20
19 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 19:35
20 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 20:32
21 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 20:59
22 Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal) 21:25
23 Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet) 21:27
24 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 24:56
25 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 24:59
26 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 25:25
27 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 26:01
28 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 26:14
29 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 28:52
30 Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta) 30:05
31 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 31:24
32 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 33:05
33 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 33:29
34 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 34:20
35 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 40:15
36 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 43:26
37 Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet) 43:41

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 5

From hard and heavy to well, not short and sweet, that’s sure. Although there were only 127 kilometres between the riders and the finish line, the last half would be gruesome with two long and tiring climbs on the menu. The sixteen kilometres to Col Lugabu form a horrible drag that wears out the best whilst Mount Ndemi is one of the most feared in the nation. Eleven kilometres, but with long stretches approaching or even over 10%, it’s one on which legends are born. The riders knew very well that these fireworks would be tiring enough and kept it calm till the foot of Col Lugabu.

The big question ahead of this one would be which decisions Denkarice would take. With three men at the top of the table and the red jersey amongst their ranks, the opposition could await their moves and react accordingly. But the wealth also had a major downside as only one domestique was left. Omar Abalo set the pace up the opening kilometres of Col Lugabu, but many wanted to test the quality of his work. A visibly nervous Teteh Koanda, who lost so much time in the opening stage but excelled since, tried to get away but his former teammates were having none of that. An attempt from Salif Mawuena didn’t go far either but the continuous changes in pace did get their victims, with helpers getting shelled and Koffi, number eight in the rankings losing touch with the group with Mount Ndemi yet to come: he dropped out of the top ten by the time we reached Garo.

Halfway up the second major climb of the day, Credit Complet took over with Mamadou Sou doing excellent work and surprisingly, this caught leader Kourouma off balance. The red jersey slipped back, encouraging Cyclaro duo Bissouma and Senaya to join in. Quickly a group formed with Sou, Some, Bissouma, Senaya and Fatoukouma, who had recuperated well from the day before. The two remaining Denkarice’s were left with a dilemma: help the leader in the classification or choose for themselves. Kaba didn’t hesitate and joined immediately, Diabate waited a little longer and nearly got presented with the bill for that - only a strong counter from the 23-year old got him back with the leaders.

The cohesion in the front group, or rather the alliance against Kourouma, was very fruitful. Mamadou Sou did perfect work before going overboard, after which Serge Senaya took over till the summit. Behind them, a second group had formed with Koanda, Mawuena, Wome and Bakary, but without the red jersey. Abalo had shortly returned for support to the leader but had given his best already and Kourouma suffered from his efforts the day before. A lonely Kourouma passed Mount Ndemi five minutes behind the six leaders, where his teammates tried to salvage the loss. Diabate tried to attack in the downhill and Demba Kaba went full out as they approached the outskirts from Garo, but Senaya and Some were having none of that and caught the GC favorite just in time to ensure a sprint of a small group.

In that sprint Ali Fatoukouma got the first, but probably not last, success of his young career. With a cat-like jump, he pushed his wheel ahead of Diabate’s to take his win, adding insult to injury for Denkarice as they awaited the arrival from Kourouma. The former leader lost seven minutes and is out of the battle for GC, which now gets lead by Moussa Some. Many expected him to struggle on this day but the even pace on the last climb and good team work helped the 28-year old to hold on. With three more riders within a minute and a bit, nothing is said yet for the Credit Complet rider but he will play his role till the finish line, that’s sure.

Stage 5 *** N’Goba - Garo

1 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 3:19:04
2 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa)
3 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes)
4 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
5 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa)
6 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 3:19:21
7 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 3:22:17
8 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur)
9 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD)
10 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal)
11 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 3:26:05
12 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
13 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet)
14 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 3:29:27
15 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa)
16 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta)
17 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
18 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 3:31:52
19 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes)
20 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 3:32:57
21 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta)
22 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 3:34:25
23 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy)
24 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 3:43:20
25 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes)
26 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
27 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
28 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy)
29 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
30 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes)
31 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
32 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers)
33 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 3:45:46
— Kalifa Ndour (Selection Ngta) DNF
Tidjani Mawuena (Credit Complet) DNF
Demba Yatabare (Selection Coastal) DNF
Wassiou Sankoh (Credit Complet) DNF

General Classification

1 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 17:34:30
2 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 0:41
3 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 1:02
4 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:07
5 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 5:27
6 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 6:23
7 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 12:45
8 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 12:49
9 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 12:59
10 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 13:02
11 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 15:21
12 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 17:57
13 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 21:18
14 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 21:29
15 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 25:37
16 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 29:06
17 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 30:17
18 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 30:44
19 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 35:48
20 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 37:47
21 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 42:05
22 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 42:58
23 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 43:13
24 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 44:05
25 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 46:07
26 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 48:34
27 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 49:04
28 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 49:53
29 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 51:03
30 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 56:43
31 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 57:07
32 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 58:09
33 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 1:03:54

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 6

A stage only few riders looked forward to, this time trial up Mpete Peak presented itself as a mixed bag. After a flat opener out of town, the riders would climb eleven kilometres on a mountain that never allows you to find your rhythm. On top of that, the sun was out ahead and scorching the bodies that dragged themselves along. The Garoans, however, had come out in numbers on this Thursday and lined the mountain with cheers, flags and bottles of fresh water, not afraid to give the weaker elements or the fan favourites a little push in the right direction.

As is usual in this kind of event, the lesser riders rarely make a sharp time. Issiaga Cisse managed to be the exception to the rule as he got below fifty minutes as first one. The lanky Liqueur Bato rider seems to have recovered from his nasty crash in the previous time trial and grinded out a time which many couldn’t better. Dissa surprisingly got close but it wasn’t until rider twelve in the classification, his teammate Kei Mamah, that someone did better. His notorious moustache being a fan favourite, this late bloomer seems to get better with every uphill day and presents a difficult nut to crack at first: guys such as Bakary and Mawuena failed.

The riders now started two minutes apart, adding to the suspense. When Sambegou Wome came out of the final corner, it was clear that he did better than Mamah but just seconds after his arrival, his dreams were shattered again. In his trail, keychain sized Serge Senaya had pulverised the best time and nearly made up the two minute gap to Wome. In the hot seat, Senaya could see how one after another, they struggled. Sou, Kouroma and Fatoukouma did decently, but formed no danger for the best time, which left the big four of this Tour de Mkabia out on the road.

Fabien Bissouma is known as a strong time trialist but a race like this is not exactly his preferred terrain. Nonetheless, he kept a good pace and only lost a minute to his teammate. Time would tell that that was a formidable result as the Denkarice men came to the finish line. The slender Sa Diabate looked good, standing on the pedals but still lost fifty seconds on Senaya. That was nonetheless half a minute better than Demba Kaba, who might have blown up a little in the end. But the loser from the day was, as feared by himself, Moussa Some. The leader is too heavy on the shoulders for this work and had to go full out to limit the damage to three minutes.

In the ranking, however, this only adds to the suspense. On day six, the race gets its fifth different leader in Sa Diabate. At the tender age of 23, he managed consistency so far and looks better on every passing day. But will his Denkarice teammate and leader, Demba Kaba, be able to contain himself and support him or will he get his own chance to write his name in the history books with only eight seconds behind? And what about Fabien Bissouma who kept his loss limited on his worst day and might be best suited for the two remaining stages? Even Moussa Some is not out of the picture yet - even if today did not suit him, his form is excellent. Four names, one jersey.

Stage 6 *** Garo - Mpete Peak

1 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 46:47
2 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 47:37
3 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 47:44
4 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 48:06
5 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 48:38
6 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 49:17
7 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 49:18
8 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 49:23
9 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 49:32
10 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 49:54
11 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 49:54
12 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 49:56
13 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 49:58
14 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 50:10
15 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 50:29
16 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 50:41
17 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 50:55
18 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 51:19
19 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 51:54
20 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 51:55
21 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 51:58
22 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 52:02
23 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 52:02
24 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 52:03
25 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 52:11
26 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 52:26
27 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 52:40
28 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 52:43
29 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 52:43
30 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 53:18
31 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 53:38
32 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 53:55
33 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 55:08

General Classification

1 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 18:23:09
2 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 0:08
3 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 0:12
4 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 0:53
5 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 6:05
6 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 7:02
7 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 10:57
8 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 12:58
9 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 14:00
10 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 14:21
11 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 16:52
12 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 18:41
13 Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) 23:19
14 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 25:55
15 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 29:38
16 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 31:32
17 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 32:22
18 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 34:16
19 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 40:47
20 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 41:06
21 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 46:13
22 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 46:36
23 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 47:21
24 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 48:09
25 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 50:19
26 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 51:04
27 Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) 52:36
28 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 53:16
29 Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) 55:07
30 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 1:00:25
31 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:00:30
32 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 1:00:31
33 Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 1:05:58

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Mon Apr 13, 2020 10:09 am

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 7

This stage might go out of the way of the highest peaks south of Garo, but still provides a tough stage with a distinct lack of flat terrain as the road rolls from the short and sharp peaks to the rolling meadows. Even if the latter part of this one is quite acceptable, it contains a distinctive amount of climbs in the middle section. With the end of the drama getting closer and closer, quite a few riders and teams started to realise that their harvest had not been what they had anticipated so far and the opening kilometres were notably nervous with attacks back and forth. The Denkarice riders didn’t even have to push too deep as some internal rivalries played in their hand: each Selection refused another one to have the majority in the attack. Eventually, a group of five was considered all right for departure, with Conteh, Ernest Boussari, Dissa, Tall and Moussa.

This group went through Nzere, the hometown from the latter Yao Moussa, but he did not get much further as he crashed heavily a few kilometres later and had to be carried to a nearby hospital. The other four laboured on, as more and more riders had to let go in the peloton. The heavy days before had worn out quite some riders already and Denkarice started to raise the pace, well aware that despite a red jersey, they were still without a stage win. As the lead from the front four fell back to a minute and a half, the riders approached Korak Hill, the last big obstacle of the stage, forty kilometres away from the finish line.

In the front group, Victor Conteh decided to wave the others goodbye and try his luck for success, but the real spectacle was behind their backs. The version of what happened depends on whom you’ll ask for more. According to a disgruntled Sa Diabate, his teammate Demba Kaba had attacked him on an annoying climbing stretch in the headwind after a long pull from Kourouma. Kaba, however, swore that the initial attack came from Fabien Bissouma who considered this one of the last chances to regain the leader jersey. Fact is that the two experienced champions managed to get rid of everyone else. The sole one who stayed close was, quite surprisingly, Sambegou Wome who enjoyed these long open stretches at 5 to 7%.

Near the top, Kaba and Bissouma caught Conteh and immediately left him behind, as the Diallo Construct rider awaited his teammate Wome. The result was an interesting battle in the valley between the two duos which only had twenty seconds between them most of the time. But with fifteen kilometres left, Conteh cracked after a long day in attack and on his own, Wome couldn’t bridge across. Behind these four, Diabate found himself in a sticky situation. He tried to chase the virtual leader, his own teammate, but the few with him hesitated to pace along: Kourouma struggled to pace after Kaba, Fatoukouma knew Wome in front and Abdou Bakary, one of the revelations of this race, refused to waste his energy. Not amongst them was Moussa Some who suffered from a day off - if it weren’t for the hard work from Sou, not just his chance to win but also to reach the top five would have gone up in smoke.

In the tip of the race, Kaba and Bissouma cooperated well and some rumor that Kaba wasn’t too disgruntled at the latter grabbing his second stage win as he took over the leader jersey. Wome came in third and only after five minutes, an annoyed Diabate came in. We suspect that the dinner in the Denkarice hotel was less than amusing. We enter the decisive stage with two men in the front of the GC, only four seconds apart. Will the pre-race favourite Demba Kaba take his win or will underdog Bissouma climb up St Krwa the fastest?

Stage 7 *** Garo - Songto

1 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 4:16:18
2 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa)
3 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 4:18:05
4 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 4:21:37
5 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
6 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal)
7 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa)
8 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD)
9 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 4:23:07
10 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 4:24:24
11 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
12 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 4:25:36
13 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
14 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes)
15 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta)
16 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
17 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
18 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur)
19 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
20 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 4:31:49
21 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur)
22 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa)
23 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy)
24 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy)
25 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 4:43:30
26 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet)
27 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal)
28 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
29 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes)
— Yao Moussa (Selection Interieur) DNF
Salim Akoto (Samba Sneakers) DNF
Sambegou Koffi (Selection Ngta) DNF
Henri Segbefia (Samba Sneakers) DNF

General Classification

1 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 22:39:35
2 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 0:04
3 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 5:11
4 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 8:59
5 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 11:16
6 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 12:13
7 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 15:37
8 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 19:32
9 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 20:07
10 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 21:58
11 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 26:02
12 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 27:51
13 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 39:27
14 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 40:42
15 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 47:45
16 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 50:16
17 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 52:59
18 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 56:18
19 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 56:31
20 Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) 56:42
21 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 57:19
22 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 59:29
23 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:01:59
24 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 1:06:27
25 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:07:11
26 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 1:13:17
27 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 1:15:48
28 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 1:20:20
29 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 1:27:35

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 8

There it is, the big one, St Krwa. This rock presides over the capital Djalenga with a certain flair and authority. Nearly four hundred metres above sea level, its road is lined with small statues of saints. The four and a half kilometres had been taken over by the local residents who awaited their heroes with unmatched enthusiasm, they too knew that there was history in the making. But only one could triumph atop of this hill, that was a fact.

With such a majestic ending, the peloton rode calmly through the opening kilometres. All expected these 29 to be those who ended the inaugural Tour, each and everyone heroes in their own right. Alassane Yattara, however, touched wheels with one of the many motorcycles which zoomed around the peloton and crashed - as such disallowing Cyclaro the distinction of being the only team to finish completely. The Denkarice riders led the way but did not need to put the pedal to the metal, although Diabate shied away from truly setting the pace. When the coast, left a week ago now, approached, there finally got some enthusiasm in the small bunch.

Two guys set off in attack with Seidou Djokou and red lantern Libambami Kouyate, one of the two remaining Samba Sneakers riders. The duo got a minute or three, but never looked like they would make it. Going into the city, which they would traverse before reaching the foot of the climb, the fireworks started. Whilst some with little interest in this finish decided to let go, Ali Fatoukouma tried his luck. The youngster impressed so far and showed that in a year or two, he might take the crown himself. Sa Diabate reacted, but as the two junior stars took off, it never evolved into a sticky situation for Kaba.

Bissouma had decided that his best shot was to force teammate Senaya to set a grueling pace in the opening slopes before taking off himself with three and a half kilometres left. Only the red jersey Kaba could follow him and could witness from the front row how Bissouma caught Kouyate first, then Diabate, next Fatoukouma and eventually an exhausted Djokou. The latter already hoped for a miracle but cracked when the steam engine Bissouma and his trailer Kaba surpassed him. But it immediately highlighted the problem from Bissouma: his pace was incredible but couldn’t shake off Demba Kaba.

Not everyone is a fan of Kaba but all have to admit that he showed consistency throughout the race and when he took off with three hundred metres to go, Bissouma had no reply. Demba Kaba gave his own GC triumph an additional bit of dash with a stage win, Bissouma has been an honourable opponent but had to bow his head on this mountain that crowns kings. The power of these two experienced riders, now confirmed as the best two in the Mkabian peloton, showed as it took Fatoukouma a minute and a half extra to crest the top - no one managed the successive stages as good as Kaba and Bissouma.

Stage 8 *** Songto - St Krwa

1 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 4:04:02
2 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 4:04:11
3 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 4:05:36
4 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 4:06:18
5 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 4:06:20
6 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 4:06:25
7 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
8 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa)
9 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
10 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 4:07:32
11 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers)
12 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 4:08:46
13 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
14 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 4:10:27
15 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes)
16 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes)
17 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 4:10:57
18 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 4:13:06
19 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
20 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 4:15:14
21 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet)
22 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy)
23 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
24 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta)
25 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
26 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta)
27 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal)
28 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 4:27:40
- Alassane Yattara (Cyclaro Bikes) DNF

General Classification

1 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 26:43:37
2 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 0:13
3 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 7:27
4 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 11:22
5 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 12:50
6 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 14:36
7 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 18:00
8 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 26:27
9 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 26:32
10 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 30:46
11 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 31:21
12 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 33:10
13 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 44:11
14 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 50:03
15 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 51:54
16 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 59:20
17 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 1:01:52
18 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 1:02:43
19 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 1:04:11
20 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 1:07:43
21 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 1:08:31
22 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:11:03
23 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:13:36
24 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 1:24:29
25 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy) 1:27:00
26 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy) 1:30:05
27 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers) 1:31:05
28 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers) 1:31:32

Tour de Mkabia
Season 2021 - Stage 9

The final Sunday of this race became a parade through the streets of the capital. The organisers had set out a flat circuit of three kilometres and a bit which the peloton had to traverse thirty times. Deep down, they had hoped for continuous attacks as one usually sees in these sorts of races, where after every corner an occasion to distance one from the peloton seems to lie. But today, it became a calm affair, despite the high pace - after eight days of intense racing, most riders seem worn out.

The press already had written their conclusions on this inaugural edition. Winner Demba Kaba was lauded as the most complete of them all - apart from the sprint finishes, he always ended in the top five. At 29, he is at the pinnacle of his capacities and could be up for a streak. However, it will probably be with a team in a different setup, as Sa Diabate showed his skills and seems ready to lead a squad on his own. Runner-up Fabien Bissouma also got his bit of the praise. At his age, 35, it is probable that he will never again be so close to success but his two stage wins made their mark on the history books. Combined with the successes from Senaya, this decides on four victories for the Cyclaro Bikes team.

Although many experienced riders confirmed their skill, such as the strong Moussa Some and the relentless Sambegou Wome, this edition also showcased some young talent. Few doubt that in time, Diabate and Fatoukouma will win their own Tour if all goes along their growth curve. Deeper down the classification, we’ve been impressed by ones who were still unknown before the first starting gun: Abdou Bakary who has a notable completeness at 23, Sambegou Koffi, Issiaga Cissé and Kei Mamah - 27 but only in his second year on the bike. This left only one open question: who would be the sprint king of this edition as Habib Akoto and Zakaria Boussari each had one win behind their name.

With the finish as flat as a pancake, the odds were in favour of Habib Akoto but he lost his sole remaining teammates in a skirmish in the last fifteen kilometres, as things were finally heating up. As many teams were down to only a few men, there was little organisation left in the bunch and in this chaos, there could have been an upset. Yahia Seck attempted from far out, got himself a gap and seemed on his way to an unlikely but deserved win when his chain fell off. In the final metres, Seck had to see how the others rolled over him, with a powerful rush from Boussari in front of the others. Zakaria Boussari grabs a second win for Credit Complet and bookends this Tour with stage victories. Omar Abalo, who worked hard all week long, is a nice second ahead of the unfortunate Seck and Akoto.

Stage 9 *** Djalenga - Djalenga

1 Zakaria Boussari (Credit Complet) 2:23:20
2 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa)
3 Yahia Seck (Selection Sakoy)
4 Habib Akoto (Samba Sneakers)
5 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta)
6 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD)
7 Maklibé Niang (Selection Sakoy)
8 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 2:23:27
9 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy)
10 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes)
11 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal)
12 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD)
13 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet)
14 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)
15 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta)
16 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa)
17 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes)
18 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa)
19 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa)
20 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD)
21 Moussa Some (Credit Complet)
22 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 2:23:51
23 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur)
24 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 2:24:19
25 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 2:26:23
26 Salomon Dah (Cyclaro Bikes) 2:28:40
27 Libambami Kouyate (Samba Sneakers)
28 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama)

General Classification

1 Demba Kaba (Denkarice - Expa) 29:07:04
2 Fabien Bissouma (Cyclaro Bikes) 0:13
3 Sa Diabate (Denkarice - Expa) 7:27
4 Moussa Some (Credit Complet) 11:22
5 Ali Fatoukouma (Diallo Construct - LPD) 12:50
6 Togaba Kourouma (Denkarice - Expa) 14:36
7 Sambegou Wome (Diallo Construct - LPD) 18:00
8 Abdou Bakary (Selection Coastal) 26:27
9 Serge Senaya (Cyclaro Bikes) 26:56
10 Salif Mawuena (Selection Interieur) 31:10
11 Kei Mamah (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 31:21
12 Mamadou Sou (Credit Complet) 33:10
13 Victor Conteh (Diallo Construct - LPD) 44:04
14 Seidou Djokou (Selection Interieur) 50:55
15 Togaba Dissa (Selection Ngta) 51:47
16 Madou Tall (Selection Sakoy) 59:20
17 Omar Abalo (Denkarice - Expa) 1:02:36
18 Issiaga Cisse (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 1:07:05
19 Teteh Koanda (Selection Coastal) 1:07:07
20 Ernest Boussari (Selection Ngta) 1:07:43
21 Adekambi Dossama (Liqueur Bato - Vacarama) 1:08:31
22 Kondo Sere (Cyclaro Bikes) 1:11:03
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Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:08 am

Mkabia Basketball League 2021

After the success from the previous season, commissioner Hassane Nakoulma could present a second edition with a certain pride in his explanation to the press. Although a few had initially struggled to make ends meet, all twelve sides would return and a new deal with broadcaster Tele5 made more funds available for all.

The key change would be a prolongation of the regular season by two weeks with an expansion in the number of games played. Instead of competing in sixteen duels in eleven weeks, the teams would now have to plan for twenty-one games in thirteen weeks, a concession to Tele5 but something the teams had mixed feelings abouts. This means that they’ll meet their Conference opponents three times a year whilst meeting up with the other clubs once. This also causes an off-balance on home and away games, but the profits of the opening game would be split evenly in twelve. The guaranteed 48 hours of rest between games stands, but Tuesday games become an option.

Nothing changes about the concept of the play-offs or the all-star game.

Mkabia Basketball League 2021

An interesting diddle in the rulebook mentioned the following about the draft.

"At the start of each year, a list is compiled of players not active in the league during the previous year who show interest in joining. By lottery, the non-play-off teams will have a first chance of procuring the services of a player, subsequently the semifinalists, conference finalists and national finalists. The player will receive a predetermined wage in his first season, but the length of his contract and wage in subsequent seasons can be variable."

More than ever, this would be an interesting occasion to pick up quality players. Quite some strong amateurs had looked at the opening year from the sideline but considering the success of the league, they looked forth to joining. In addition, some excellent university graduates had expressed their interest in joining the MBL whilst even some younger elements dared to put their name on the list. In the end, the MBL management had to trim the group to forty-two aspiring prospects.

Aiglons were the lucky ones to pick up the best berth and they did not hesitate for half a second. Many teams had ogled Sekou Amadou, a lanky but powerful guard who had captured the attention of many in the university circuit. A real goal machine, he presents himself as a direct addition to the roster and with an unmatched potential. A first pick according to all the rules of the game. The other big college talent, Issoufou Kambou, stayed in the roll a bit longer as Lanyare surprisingly chose a local name over more established ones and Inter Garo, anticipating the departure from Tamboura and direct need for a new point guard, opted for a star from the amateur circuit, Panga Lingani.

Other interesting names which will now appear at the top level are Harouna Doumbia, a prospect on the guard position with a notorious shot who reinforces Etoile. Aziza Songto tried their luck on Daré Bah who comes straight out of high school - a diamond, all agree on that, but one that will require quite some polishing. And we all were much intruiged by powerhouse Djalenga Titans picking up Rabo Mara on a one-year minimum contract. Mara is a phenomenon in the amateur leagues as a comically tall centre and rebound king, but a mediocre ball player at best. He will now join the best club in the nation as the back-up for talent Daouda Condé.

Pick 01 - Djalenga Aiglons               Sekou Amadou       21y
Pick 02 - Lanyare Diables Noirs Drissa Diouf 22y
Pick 03 - Inter Garo Panga Lingani 26y
Pick 04 - Jeunesse Massagui Issoufou Kambou 21y
Pick 05 - Etoile Tangbou Harouna Doumbia 19y
Pick 06 - Massagui Dragons Djibril Mlapa 22y
Pick 07 - Aziza Songto Daré Bah 18y
Pick 08 - Garo Leopards Alhassane Kargbo 22y
Pick 09 - Kada Rebels Fabien Tassembedo 27y
Pick 10 - Yourougou Royals Teteh Bundu 24y
Pick 11 - Kouarou Gold Souleymane Koanda 22y
Pick 12 - Djalenga Titans Rabo Mara 31y

Mkabia Basketball League 2021
Trading Season

At the start-up of the competition, the teams had been forced to sign their players, or at least the better ones, on long-term contracts so there were no free agents of note on the market. However, that did not mean that they couldn’t attempt to improve their starting five one way or another. The Djalenga Titans had the key in hand to the market as they saw themselves facing a sticky situation in terms of wages. On one hand, they wanted to further develop their squad and tackle their Achilles heel, strength in the guard area. But apparently, they had given their star youngsters Condé and Asante contracts with progressive growth in payment, forcing them to cut costs elsewhere. Eventually, they set their mind on Salim Tamboura, the point guard from Inter Garo and part of the IBC national team.

But first, they needed to make room in the selection. The choice fell, much to the dismay of the fans, on Kanfory Mawuena. Despite often residing in the shadows of big star Coulibaly, it is agreed across the land that there is no better small forward in the nation. However, the 27-year old weighs in on the budget and presented itself as the most tradeable. The sides lined up for him yet it were the Garo Leopards who made him the best offer. Quite a bold move from the Leopards who had to release Yabré to make ends meet now. The start of a trade cycle as there ever was one: Yabré joined the Aiglons, who in turn let go of big Papa Koroma as they also got Mazougi, a second string Titan with potential for more than a sixth man. The sight of the hulking centre Koroma, only twenty but already a bulldozer, was enough for Inter Garo to let go of Tamboura.

Less high-visible but still very influential were the decisions from the Interior Conference champion Kouarou Gold. They decided to invest in the future and set their eyes on Chérif Tchangai, a 19-year old talent and the sole reason why any Lanyaré fan would bother to show up in their arena. The Diables Noirs understood that the ambition from Tchangai reached further than trying to grind out a few wins in the regular season and used the leverage to pick up Korodowou from Gold and Abouta from the Dragons - two quality players from play-off level who should lift the overall presence of Lanyaré. To drag the Dragons into the equation, Kouarou Gold had to commit fully to its strategy of rejuvenating the squad, offering them 31-year old centre Abdou Boni. It leaves three happier parties as Dragons add a national team player whilst Kouarou looks weaponized for the future.

Preview MBL 2021
Coastal Conference

Aziza Songto

Whilst many sides try their luck on the transfer market, Aziza Songto decides to hold onto the same recipe. Even more, veteran Kouamé gets an additional contract year, so these five will still be on the books next season as well. But the management knows very well why they do it. The Titans might have shoved them aside in the conference semis, the team itself showed a good click in the regular season and got a positive win-loss balance despite being in the more competitive side of the table. Aziz Kanu shows he can be a key player at this level as well, as has been confirmed in the all-star game. Kompaoré is not the most reputed from the wave of young, powerful centres but definitely showed his improvement in the regular season. Their bench with Ndiaye and 18-year old Bah is strong enough to withstand the extra games required, which should allow them to not only make the semis, but also get a better draw than the Titans.

Starting Five

#17 PG Sambegou Ouedraogo 29y
#02 SG Aziz Kanu 31y
#29 SF Ibrahima Kouamé 33y
#19 PF Apollinaire Akakpo 25y
#75 C Wilfried Kompaoré 21y

Djalenga Aiglons

It was a season with mixed feelings from the Aiglons - they were less the cannon fodder everyone expected them to be but when the season was done and dusted, their early successes weren’t as valuable anymore as they didn’t even make the play-offs. With that in mind, they decide to aim a bit higher with a bit more consistency. The gifted but eccentric Papa Koroma was released to release some pressure off the dressing room, but Mamadi Yabré combines the same talent with madness. If he can keep his outbursts off the court, Yabré should be a guide for this team. Potentially, this could click well with old-school centre Nibombe and little gem Sekou Amadou - the top draft pick for good reason. The Aiglons want to harvest and there are plenty of reasons to think why they might do it now.

Starting Five

#82 PG Paul Adjamossi 25y
#30 SG Sekou Amadou 21y
#03 SF Soumbeila Bamogo 24y
#89 PF Mamadi Yabré 27y
#99 C Mustapha Nibombe 29y

Djalenga Titans

We can try to beat around the bush for a while but the truth is quite simple: the Titans start the season with the best and most talented starting five. Hervé Coulibaly had a slow start to the season but was monumental in the play-offs: at 33 he still is the main figure of the league. Around him, he sees a group with incredible potential. Condé, Asante and Tamboura are modern players who rack up the big points and possess the physical skill required at this level. No wonder they’ll figure on the IBC. It’s difficult to come up with reasons why they will not prolong their title, but we’re going to give it a go. Apart from these four giants, the depth of the squad is limited. And exchanging Mawuena by Koita on the SF position is not just a downgrade but a drop by three levels: if Coulibaly didn’t have his day or just didn’t feel like contributing, Kanfory Mawuena could pick it up and nothing would be wrong - this won’t be possible anymore. Losing him might be a valid long-term strategy, it could be a short-term disaster.

Starting Five

#12 PG Salim Tamboura 24y
#19 SG Sekou Asante 20y
#25 SF Moussa Koita 22y
#33 PF Herve Coulibaly 33y
#75 C Daouda Condé 22y

Jeunesse Massagui

The lovable second side from the cultural capital of Mkabia knew a dream start last season with victories against Kouarou and city rival Dragons before pushing the Titans to a buzzer beater. It concealed the fact that afterwards, they were quite poor and not ready for the battle in this Conference. Now it seems as if Jeunesse has not just accepted but embraced that role of bottom fan favourite - but it could be a perfect example of playing the long game. Ousmane Suma convinced and played an impressive all-star game, Womé developed well and college prodigy Kambou adds to the dynamic, fast playing style. The management hopes that these youngsters learn something from former Titan Daré Kouma - not too much of a stretch. The result is a side which will have its ups and downs but might focus on learning over results.

Starting Five

#24 PG Daré Kouma 29y
#22 SG Ibrahima Womé 20y
#38 SF Kaba Tchomogo 27y
#05 PF Issoufou Kambou 21y
#13 C Ousmane Suma 21y

Kada Rebels

Mbane and Kourouma, the wealthy duo behind Fish & Friends and the Rebels make no secret of their ambitions - they’re in it to win it. Last season, they struggled to turn their Fab Four into success in the regular season, recovered a bit before crashing hard in the Conference Finals. Intriguingly, they didn’t make huge alterations but offered Dumbuya and Bandé prolongations on their contract and decided to labor on with the same weapons. It seems as if they saw the same as most observers: there’s more in this side than what came out. Abdou Sangaré had a strong season and targets the MVP position this time around whilst Bourama Maiga turned from a Djalenga reject into a national team member. Dumbuya and Yago, on the other hand, will have to step up. If youngster Bandé can keep up with their pace, they will go far.

Starting Five

#27 PG Abdou Sangare 26y
#70 SG Mamoutou Dumbuya 31y
#14 SF Bourama Maiga 24y
#09 PF Ali Bandé 20y
#21 C Massadou Yago 28y

Massagui Dragons

Last year should have been a success for the Dragons but Kada Rebels exposed their limitations in the semi-finals - at times it seemed as if half the players had received a different playbook. The management made their conclusions and waves goodbye to Siry and Abouta whilst splashing cash for Abdou Boni. A feared presence under the ring and in his genre - heavy muscled centre - the best in the competition, but at 31 maybe not the long-term investment you might want to make. Still, all will depend on whether he can find the vibe with the confident/arrogant Francois Diabate who is most fueled by his ambition to push Coulibaly out of the limelight. If both stars rise, they can challenge any team.

Starting Five

#00 PG Titi Mlapa 32y
#92 SG Francois Diabate 29y
#15 SF Beiya Dagano 27y
#04 PF Soumbeila Tchomogo 21y
#90 C Abdou Boni 31y

Preview MBL 2020
Interior Conference

Etoile Tangbou

The Cinderella story of the year, with Adama Fornah as the pivotal figure. He still needs to take next steps but made the clever decision to do this for the club from the North - a protecting environment where the quiet talent feels at home. Tangbou remains true to its values, making the best out of every dime and giving first and second chances with a remarkable draft duo: Doumbia only played one year of college basketball but is dropped in the first row whilst Seck comes from the amateur game. He’s unknown outside of Tangbou, but good things are whispered about him. Yago, the man of the infamous Beaneatergate, stays on board for Etoile who in their own conference once more can stand up to anyone. An interesting outsider.

Starting Five

#17 PG Harouna Doumbia 19y
#00 SG Salim Sy 32y
#78 SF Lamine Seck 25y
#28 PF Adama Fornah 20y
#64 C Sotigui Yago 26y

Garo Leopards

In a way, the Leopards are the evident winner of the off-season. They exchange the volatile Yabré, who by the end had fallen out with everyone from the coach to the cleaning lady, with the mighty Kanfory Mawuena who is eager to show that he can do it without Coulibaly as well. A humble but motivated star who should lift the Leopards indefinitely above the level of city rival Inter. In theory, that should not be the end of the ambition for Garo - Chikoto was consistent last year and although he’s not on the shortlists of the big talents in the nation, Nii Moutari develops quite well. Still, we’re not convinced that they will get far this year. Kargbo lacks the raw class to make the jump from college to starting five and the bench aged poorly. All in all, this feels like a missed opportunity for the club from the people to build something more around Mawuena.

Starting Five

#39 PG Ibrahima Chikoto 29y
#18 SG Nii Moutari 23y
#04 SF Kanfory Mawuena 27y
#81 PF Alhassane Kargbo 22y
#05 C Amara Kouamé 25y

Inter Garo

Imagine you’re a big brewing firm who has a basketball side which gets described as ‘boring’ at best - what do you do? Apparently, the answer is offloading your biggest talent to the main club of the nation and bringing in a duo of players that will get their names in the press - although no one is sure how. Papa Koroma is hugely talented but an unguided rocket, he celebrated his transfer by giving money to random fans, of which Inter has not that many. Lingani is a trickster and an artist, but no one knows how he’ll handle the rhythm of the competition. Add to that an incredibly weak centre and that’s a lot of pressure on Fodé Sangaré to pull the ship ashore. Calm and reliable, he does not really match the rest of the setup of Inter Garo but his insight and infiltrations will make the difference between play-offs and a dreary season.

Starting Five

#96 PG Panga Lingani 26y
#69 SG Papa Koroma 20y
#03 SF Fodé Sangaré 31y
#92 PF Ocansey Guiro 29y
#21 C Saidou Atchou 24y

Kouarou Gold

Kouarou did everything as they should and got rewarded with the biggest honour that was realistically achievable last season: losing the finals against Djalenga Titans. The coaching staff could have sat back and basked in the glory, but decided to build upon this. In a long bidding war, they eventually prevailed and brought Cherif Tchangai, the sole nugget from Lanyare, to their arena. To make room for him financially, they bode goodbye to Abdou Boni, a phenomenon and a star but someone with an expiration date. It’s no surprise they got rid from the injury-prone Korodouwou in that same move. In terms of pure quality, it looks a bit less this season for Gold but there’s a plan behind it and in Sankoh and Diabaté, they can count on two cornerstones in their heydays. This is a mature side and that could make the difference in play-off games.

Starting Five

#28 PG Cherif Tchangai 20y
#11 SG Mamane Sankoh 28y
#33 SF Serge Bah 23y
#24 PF Germain Diabate 29y
#01 C Vince Ouedraogo 25y

Lanyare Diables Noirs

We are not sure what to think from Lanyare anymore. Last year, they were the bottom of the barrel in many aspects and it seems as if their low cash flow did not get better at once. The ugly duckling from the series did manage to convert one of the most wanted talents in the competition, Cherif Tchangai, into two decent players: Korodowou who won the Conference last season and Abouta who should be able to do something about the abominable rebound figures from last year. And just when you think this might develop into something, they rotate a little in their very poor bench and blow their fine spot in the draft to a player whose main selling point is that he went to Lanyare College and should attract these fans. The result of it all is a side that could change from at least comically poor to too poor to compete but not interesting enough to follow.

Starting Five

#01 PG Sory Korodowou 24y
#08 SG Mbaye Ndenga 27y
#03 SF Drissa Ouattara 24y
#25 PF Drissa Diouf 22y
#55 C Ocansey Abouta 28y

Yourougou Royals

As is dictated by the rules of the alphabet, we wrap up this overview with the Royals who start their second season in the MB with the exact same starting five as last year. Even more, apart from their frankly surprising draft pick, they just stick to the course and go with a complete carbon copy from 2020. For good reason as they came agonisingly close to the National Finals last year already and should only inch closer this time around. All in all, this looks like the right decision from the management. Aliou Bakary is a top-class player who functions really well in this environment, the other four are all players that one overlooks for a national team but who each are not just good players in their own right but who are eager to lift the level of their teammates. Can the Royals not just make history in the Conference but further? That’s a tough ask but if they get the engine running, it will take a side with just as much team spirit to stop them.

Starting Five

#16 PG Aliou Bakary 24y
#08 SG Wassiou Bakary 24y
#67 SF Gerard Sory 27y
#38 PF Jules Bangoura 26y
#99 C Issa Kambou 21y
Last edited by Mkabia on Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 48
Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:06 am

Mkabia Basketball 2021

Qualifying Round

Ouleux-Aminey Sapphires (KOR) 76–75 Kada Rebels (MKB)
Libertas Basketball (LIS) 77–66 Kouarou Gold (MKB)

The debut in international basketball befell the Rebels and Kouarou Gold who would have to battle their way through two rounds of qualifiers in order to make it to the coveted and lucrative group phase. A difficult challenge which placed them in a draw with various notable names of the sport and that proved to be, despite some best efforts, a bit too much to handle.

The Rebels came agonizingly close in their confrontation with the Ko-orenite number three, part of a competition that’s a consistent force in the IUBC. The Sapphires had travelled all the way from the Cote Austral and showed to be a tough opponent but one in rebuilding after losing its key player on retirement. The Fab Four showed its worth in the opening half and the efficiency from Sangare and Dumbuya pushed them forth to a lead of no less than eight points - which even got the neutral fans in the arena on their side. At that point, they should have pushed through but when they could make the gap double figures, they lacked a bit of coldbloodedness. A quality that hadn’t been lost on the Sapphires and in crunch time, the team from Ouleux-Aminey had just that bit more of class. Maiga and even Abdou Sangare missed that decisive shot, the Ko-orenites didn’t and qualified for the next round.

It didn't even get that close for Kouarou Gold who got an even tougher draw with Libertas Basketball. The Traditionsverein from the Lisanderian capital didn’t host the Gold in their majestic Nordland Metropolitano but nonetheless offered a warm welcome with a flying start: 26 - 12 after one quarter, powered by the forward duo containing the experienced Frièse and youngster Delagardelle. It was no comforting performance from the Interior Conference champions, with newcomer Cherif Tchangai visibly struggling to find his spot in the pace set by Diabate. With half-time approaching, Libertas led by twenty points and although Gold improved after the break, it wasn’t as fluent as we had hoped for. Mamane Sankoh downed a couple of threes to raise his international profile and balance the scales a little, but it was too little, too late: the Lisandrian opposition proved too strong for Kouarou.

Group Phase

Group C Pld W L PF PA PD Win % CCB ECW DjT CaR
1 Chinquin Copper Bullets (TAE) 6 5 1 476 426 +50 0.833 — 80–74 64–74 84–63
2 Eau Claire Wolves (DAR) 6 4 2 511 463 +48 0.667 82–91 — 80–62 92–83
3 Djalenga Titans (MKB) 6 3 3 447 453 -6 0.500 60–77 68–90 — 87–75
4 Casterwill Roses (LIS) 6 0 6 440 532 -92 0.000 73–80 79–93 67–96

With two confrontations falling to the advantage of the foreign side, the Titans were warned in advance as they got drawn into Group C from the lowest pot. If these adventures hadn’t woken them up sufficiently, the visit to Darmen definitely did. The Eau Claire Wolves are a household name in the established Darmeni Basketball League and a regular competitor in the IUBC. Led by Jovian Vargas, the Wolves dominated in their home arena and Djalenga was happy to escape unscathed. A visit from the Chinquin Copper Bullets delivered just more of the same, the perennial winner of the Taeshani BA and former IUBC finalist simply proved far too strong for the Titans. The display from Djalenga wasn’t necessarily poor, but youngsters such as Assante and Tamboura met a level they had not faced yet and came out of the equation poorly. It must be added that Daouda Condé showed some prowess under the ring but couldn’t push his team for more.

However, just as the Titans seemed en route to a blowout series, they locked horns in the Parc des Sports Comtesse Tarsille against the Casterwill Roses. The gold-and-navy opposition struggled on the day, which gave the Titans some much-needed confidence. Hervé Coulibaly in particular excelled, showing why he could have been an international level player if only Mkabia had joined the scene a few years earlier. Fact is that he scored a remarkable amount of 37 points, relieving his Titans from the feared zero. In the arena of the Titans, the Roses showed a better version of themselves and the Lisandrians kept up till the third quarter. Daouda Condé had been promising throughout the campaign but rose up and above for this particular occasion with some valuable rebounds and a decisive alley-oop to make that important ten-point gap.

Four games done and dusted, two more to come and suddenly there was a chance. The home arena was packed for what could have been a shock victory to see them through - although everyone was aware that not a regular, but a huge win was needed to overturn the H2H result. The opening quarter had glimmers of hope with Coulibaly doing his thing but bit by bit, the Titans fell apart and the Wolves dominated on the fastbreak. The Darmeni eventually managed a neat difference of 22 points, showing the Mkabians their spot in international basketball. As such, the final confrontation at the home of the Bullets was merely a dead rubber but Hervé Coulibaly ensured a bittersweet finish to the IUBC campaign. In what must have been one of his best career performances, he led out the troops to an unlikely, but marvellous win over the Taeshani. “If we remember the lessons learned,” he added, “that won’t be our last appearance here.”

Mkabia Basketball League 2021
Regular Season

Coastal Conference      Pld   W   L    PF    PA    PD     Pts
1 Djalenga Titans 21 17 4 1707 1492 +215 0.810
2 Massagui Dragons 21 15 6 1575 1528 +47 0.714
3 Kada Rebels 21 12 9 1684 1583 +101 0.571
4 Djalenga Aiglons 21 10 11 1498 1555 -57 0.476
5 Aziza Songto 21 7 14 1556 1620 -64 0.333
6 Jeunesse Massagui 21 6 15 1480 1642 -162 0.286

No major surprises along the coastline, in that the Titans continued their dominance in the competition with a splendid form. Contrary to last year, it seems as if the management got Hervé Coulibaly to bother about the little games as well. Newcomer Tamboura, who had been anticipated as a bit of a question mark, confirmed the prowess he showed last season and fits in nicely with Sekou Asante, of whom we tend to forget every once and a while that he’s still only twenty. The only spot on the record are the results against the Rebels and the Dragons, considered their main opposition for the title, with three losses. It ensures that despite the scoreline, this title still is anyone’s game.

And those Massagui Dragons definitely still count themselves in for glory. In the big clashes with the Titans, Francois Diabate seemed to have the upper hand - which will definitely earn him some MVP points - and Abdou Boni fulfilled his role with power, making it tough nights for Condé. Nonetheless, the Dragons need to bow their head in the classifications as six losses is just too much to win the regular season. Even if they seem to have better cooperation, there still are off-games where the opponent can find glaring holes in their defensive plan. The pressure is on manager Aruna to prove that he’s capable of guiding them to the Finals.

One step lower down the ladder, and further down than they had anticipated, we find the Rebels. A lot has been made of their Fab Four but on the road, we’ve seen them make ends meet in moneytime. With six losses by six or less points, there are two potential conclusions to draw. Or this side has been a tad unlucky and will unleash its full potential in the play-offs, with Maiga and Sangare just one step away from a genuine MVP performance. Or, and that’s the hypothesis from the critics, they lack someone who pushes the wagon when the going gets tough, a painful conclusion for Abdou Sangare who had aspired to eclipse the competition.

Just two victories down on them, the Djalenga Aiglons made the surprise qualification of the season and we have to say it as it is, it’s all down to one man. Mamadi Yabré shook off the reputation of bad boy and seems to blossom as never before in the more homely atmosphere of the Aiglons. His figures are off the wall but we must add that the whole team focuses on getting him in a scoring position. A tactic which has its limitations but pays off - Yabré down point after point and there’s a hot discussion going on whether he should be part of the national team at the IBC. As an additional win for the Aiglons, the focus on their eccentric star allowed draft pick number one Sekou Amadou to make a promising first season without too many flashlights on him.

Where there are surprise winners, there must be surprise losers, a two-minute old adagium claims. In theory, Aziza Songto had a perfect plan but when your star man struggles to hit the same heights as last season, it can quickly collapse. Aziz Kanu was not necessarily poor, but could not excel when the going got really tough. The loss in a direct confrontation against the Aiglons, where Kanu got dominated by Yabré, underlined that Songto leaves the season with a lot of question marks. Should they keep their faith in Kanu or bring in a new leader? Why didn’t Kompaoré make that next step as you would expect from a 21-year old? Was it too soon for Daré Bah to make an impact? In short - will they have patience?

Closing the row once more is Jeunesse Massagui which tells but there won’t be too many disappointed faces. Yes, they got three clear defeats in the city derby, with a blow-out to boot, that’s less comforting. And yes, Daré Kouma couldn’t bring as much on the floor as he did in the dressing room. But this little talent factory sees their young guns take another step on the ladder to success. Ousmane Suma gets bullied out of confrontations less and less and is technically the best in his position. Prodigies Womé and Kambou always make the highlight reels but have to convert that class into results now. If they can keep it all together one more year, this side will compete for the play-offs - but that’s a big if with everyone ogling Suma.

Interior Conference     Pld   W   L    PF    PA    PD     Pts
1 Etoile Tangbou 21 15 6 1666 1508 +158 0.714
2 Yourougou Royals 21 13 8 1638 1549 +91 0.619
3 Garo Leopards 21 10 11 1564 1546 +18 0.476
4 Kouarou Gold 21 9 12 1544 1549 -5 0.429
5 Inter Garo 21 9 12 1519 1548 -29 0.429
6 Lanyare Diables Noirs 21 3 18 1416 1727 -311 0.143

Had the Coastal Conference known an, all-in-all, fairly predictable final classification, it’s counterpart from the Interior decided to spin things around a little bit. The frontrunner in this surprise package was Etoile Tangbou, a side that came into the campaign as number four for the bookmakers. And still, many wondered in hindsight why exactly they placed them so low. Adama Fornah had shown his skills quite a few times already last year and now the 20-year (!) old decided to do it each game. Anyone who trains with him claims he’s a physical monster and his statistics back it up. But the main moment of the year came when his Tangbou stunned the Dragons to a loss - the Prince beating King Coulibaly, the headlines read. The guys around him did their utter best to keep up with Fornah but at times, weaknesses were visible. The question is whether the grueling pace of the play-offs will show them even more or if Adama Fornah can carry them all the way.

And so, the Royals are once more the side that looks the most consistent for the outsider but still fails to grab the first play-off berth. Not too strange as they went with the exact same formula again: Aliou Bakary calling the shots which works out great on most days but becomes a massacre when the opposition manages to keep him in check. Some praise though for Gerard Sory who is an utterly reliable player and was the only one who seemed capable to come up with a back-up plan. The much-lauded team spirit is still there with the team from Yourougou but we’ve reached a point where we must ask: is it enough to win the Conference?

Even their own fans were utterly confused: has this now been a successful or a mediocre season for the Leopards? They once again qualified for the play-offs and won two of the three duels against their bitter rivals Inter, always an important one for the supporters. But those who had aspired that the arrival from Kanfory Mawuena would suddenly boost their team to the inner circle were left behind disappointed. Mawuena still is a classy player and took many occasions to show that but critics will say that his sole weakness got exposed, as predicted: he’s a great player if he’s in someone’s shadow but vulnerable as a leader. The Leopards didn’t seem to click well enough, a major concern going into the play-offs.

But still, their fans will be far more satisfied than those from Kouarou. National finals after a tense but nice streak last year, both feet back on the ground now. A loss in the ultimate game even made it agonizingly close but as Inter dropped the ball as well, Gold nonetheless qualified by the flimsiest of margins to the play-offs. It had been a perfect ploy, theoretically but nothing materialised. Newcomers Tchangai and Ouedraogo struggled, Bah fell back in old mistakes - pictures with prostitutes included - and Germain Diabate exchanged great days for miserable ones, often within the same week. Even a Mamane Sankoh can’t do much more in those circumstances but there’s one comfort: all can be set straight in just a few weeks' time.

Let us start off with the good news - this has not been a terrible season from Garo. But let me follow up quickly by saying - they f’ed up the chance to make it a great season themselves. During the opening part of the season, Inter Garo looked like a genuine side: Sangaré leading the ship, Lingani adapting strangely fast to the pro level, Koroma making his direct opponents cry with his little flicks and tricks and centre Atchou being less shit than usual. Eight wins in thirteen games, that should have been a lock for the play-offs in the weaker conference. Should have. Was not. Suddenly, they even lost from Lanyare in a game marked by Papa Koroma hitting a referee and the remainder of the team scoring a lousy 48 points. They still got a shot on the last matchday but left the scene with a 82-54 loss. In a decisive game. Oh, Inter, …

And Lanyare sucked. Ok, what else to tell? We had feared that they had waved goodbye from being comically bad to regularly bad but they proved us wrong by losing their first eleven games. Ironically, things got slightly better after a nasty ankle injury for Korodowou, but they’re still miles away from the level from the opposition. We feel very sorry for Ocansey Abouta who did his utter best to bring some sort of basketball in this team but lacked the support to do much more.

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:17 am

Mkabia Basketball League 2021
Conference Semis

Game 1

Djalenga Titans 78–70 Djalenga Aiglons
Massagui Dragons 83–65 Kada Rebels

Etoile Tangbou 90–66 Kouarou Gold
Yourougou Royals 62–68 Garo Leopards

Everybody loves the glimmer of hope which the play-offs represent. Unless you’ve really been the bottom of the barrel in the regular season, you’re still in with a shot for glory - just a few games can change your destiny. Unless you are the Aiglons and you’re matched with the mighty Titans, of course - then you’re just f’ed. The capital city derby did nonetheless provide for a closer match than feared, not in the least due to a powerful Mamadi Yabré who picked up the glove and slammed it straight in the face of the Titans. These, however, looked with half an eye to their opposition, grinned and took it in the third quarter with a 27-13 sprint.

The other battle in the Coastal Conference got the bookmakers far more inflicted. The Rebels form a good block but Francois Diabate seems dead set on dragging his Dragons to the Finals this year. In their home arena, the infamous guard played a very present game, with enough clean shots to make the crowd go wild. By half-time, the Rebels were down by fifteen points and seemed to take it more like a friendly than anything else. Although Bourama Maiga claimed that “there’s no reason for discomfort, there’s still the Rebel Cave”, he seems to forget that a potential number three will be on the road as well. Either way, they’ll need a better form than this.

Etoile Tangbou has been the surprise package of the season so far and just kept on going on the same rhythm. Despite the complete lack of star quality - even the amazing Adama Fornah gets lauded by all sports fans but rarely captivates the public with anything off the court - they slowly earned the sympathy of the population. Not an easy thing to accomplish, considering the still existing tensions and prejudices towards people from the north. It must be the fluent yet efficient basketball, modern and totally no match for Kouarou Gold, where even after the departure from Boni it all looks too static.

But this opening game still had its shock result in store when the Leopards managed to rush the Royals. We could give a long explanation but there’s one common denominator in every analysis: Kanfory Mawuena was amazing. The talisman from the Leopards did it with an novelty triple double, managing ten steals out of a Yourougou that looked nervous and hesitant - the way Aliou Bakary got pushed out of the game by Mawuena and Chikoto should worry them now they are with their backs against the wall.

Game 2

Djalenga Aiglons 67–84 Djalenga Titans
Kada Rebels 82–58 Massagui Dragons

Kouarou Gold 66–82 Etoile Tangbou
Garo Leopards 67–74 Yourougou Royals

The tale of a predicted dry victory in Djalenga with the Titans taking it on the away court. It would be easy to oversee the form from Condé and Tamboura, who grew into this squad, but one man made the difference. A small yet packed hall saw how Herve Coulibaly delivered one of his signature performances. Those around him might average at about twenty-two years of age, he could even push a college team to the Finals. Currently, they are at a value less than double the price at the bookmakers and it’s plain to see for everyone out there why exactly.

Had the Rebels looked like dead fish a few days ago, now they sprung back to life with a top-notch game against the Dragons. Last year, they drew level against the exact same opponent in the exact same game but the way they did it greatly differed. Last year, there was “blood, sweat and tears”, now it just seemed as if they were supersonic. An amazing game from the Kada Rebels with a dynamic Abdou Sangare as the figurehead. It’s easily overlooked that he is still only 25 and should have a bit more left in the tank. Tonight he downed 14 points but most importantly, pushed all the starters to double figures. On the right day, this Kada has danger all over the court.

What a demise from Kouarou Gold. Last year, they made a valiant effort for an honourable 3-1 loss in the National Finals, now they are eliminated without any excuse two rounds earlier. It’s a harsh blow but confirms everything we have seen during the regular season. Even Mamane Sankoh looked stifled by the pressure. At a certain point they had to rely on rookie Souleymane Koanda to get some points on the board, a clear sign that things are collapsing for the Gold. While they have much to think off, Etoile Tangbou can move into the conference finals with confidence.

But who they will contest these against is not yet decided. The Royals overcame their home loss with a win in Garo but only after four quarters of struggle. It was not exactly an example of a game between gentlemen as the fans recalled the events from last year - Yourougou centre Issa Kambou might or might not have injured one of the Leopards back then to tilt the scales - and did their utmost to assure a toxic atmosphere. The players chimed in and the referees struggled to keep it all civilised. In the end, Yourougou looked more mature with the Bakary brothers a bit more decisive and precise in their actions.

Game 3

Massagui Dragons 79–82 Kada Rebels

Yourougou Royals 84–66 Garo Leopards

A decisive leg, a do or die and that can result in two types of games. Sometimes this means that both teams will bring their best basketball to the table. Dragons and Rebels did their best to win the fans by their side and played an instant classic with high-paced, modern basketball, a lot of rhythm and some exquisite combinations. When all was done and dusted, it became clear that this flavor of ball suits the Rebels a bit more. Their Fab Four might have had their mishaps in the regular season, tonight they showed up and under the guidance of Sangaré they knocked on the door to the Conference Finals. Dragons definitely will go down as one of the better sides but for the second year in a row, it doesn’t buy them a ticket for the Conference Finals - a painful conclusion for one of the most high-profile clubs. Boni got the blame as being a bit too static under the ring but if that’s what you want from a 2m14, 130 kg guy, it might have to do with something else.

We mentioned that there are two types of games, well, this was the second kind. Dirty. Sleazy. Nasty. A whole lot of things rolled up into one another but none of them positive. We’re not sure if the Royals were meaner or better tonight but their management tried to sell it as more mature. Not totally off - a frustrated Chikoto got sent off for shoving an opponent which opened the road to a Yourougou win. Focusing on this does not give the credit Gerard Sory deserves, a rarely highlighted player but the best man on the court today and one of the very few who kept his focus on the game.

Mkabia Basketball League 2021
Conference Finals

Game 1

Djalenga Titans 77–80 Kada Rebels

Etoile Tangbou 80–67 Yourougou Royals

Stop the presses, the Titans lost! Many Djalenga fans had chuckled in delight when their eternal rival Dragons fell to the hands of the Kada Rebels - they saw the road to success already wide open. And then they failed to take the shot for open goal, it seems. We must say that Kada had not only done their homework, but managed to execute it to perfection. A very tight defence on Coulibaly, often on the edge of the admittable, forcing weaker elements such as Asante and Koita to make the difference. In response, the Rebels opted for the fly fast break with Dumbuya in the role of his life. In the closing quarter, the visitors got strong out and Djalenga inched closer but the final whistle came just a few minutes too soon for them.

Is this Cinderella story going all the way? It’s not impossible at the pace Tangbou keeps on accumulating these victories. Did we see a tight man marking in the other semi, then the Royals failed to keep Adama Fornah in check. He’s still awaiting his 21st birthday but what a majestic player. Some even claim he’s in the shortlist for MVP and if we see the way he bested Yourougou, we understand why. It’s too easy to say he does it all: Yago really stepped up, Seck is a consistent force and Haroune Doumbia shows unseen progress for a rookie. But it’s a fact that the force of nature Fornah disallowed the Royals to execute their plans.

Game 2

Kada Rebels 73–70 Djalenga Titans

Yourougou Royals 71–69 Etoile Tangbou

Drama in Kada! The Titans were on their way to rectify the mistake from the opening game, leading by nine points and having the play in their hands when Coulibaly, the driving force behind them so far, got entangled in an innocent duel in the third quarter. Last year’s MVP attempted to rise again, struggled and shuffled for a while whilst the lead dwindled. Only when the Rebels had taken over, the management dared to make the obvious decision and replace the injured Coulibaly. Without their leader, the Titans suddenly looked disorganised and the attempt to bring in the unhandy Rabo Mara as a second centre in the dying minutes was simply painful. It’s a bit unfair to bring back the Conference title from the Rebels to the injured Coulibaly, especially after their top class first leg, but it did definitely help them today.

In the other conference, it came down to a close clash between the Royals and Etoile. The Interior often gets mocked as the secondary of the two leagues but tonight they demonstrated that high-quality basketball is no privilege of the coastal boys. Had we come down on the Royals for the filthy basketball with which they had eliminated the Leopards, tonight they showed they’ve got more in the tank than just that. In a close game, Fornah and Bakary seemed to make it a personal mission to outdo the scoreline from the opposite star man but when the game was drawing to a close, the score was tied on 69 each. It was Jules Bangoura who decided the game with a perfect step-back fade away.

Game 3

Etoile Tangbou 78–79 Yourougou Royals

A cruncher for the Conference title and these two teams made it one for those with a heart disease. We got forty minutes of stellar play with Tangbou looking better in the first and third quarter whilst the Royals got their point in the second and fourth. If the gap is so close, it is the details that decide it all. Once again, the two sides were going into the final seconds with an even score, 77 each. Sotigui Yago, who had been strong so far, managed to create two free throws but missed his second for Issa Kambou to catch the rebound and launch Bakary on the break. A panicking defence brought him down and Aliou Bakary did not miss on the free throw line - 2 points and even a desperate half court shot from Fornah could not change that the courageous and strong Tangbou saw themselves denied a national final by the smallest of gaps.

Mkabia Basketball League 2021
National Finals

Game 1

Kada Rebels 95–94 Yourougou Royals

Not the final the people expected, but the opening game was better than we all thought. It seems as if both sides had saved up all their quality to poor it over in the last confrontation. Was this the best game played in the MBL this year? If not, it came agonizingly close. This confrontation shows that the reason why these two made it so far is the average level of quality. Yes, the most distinctive player in Coulibaly and Fornah did not make it, but the skill and speed of execution of number 5, 6 and 7 of the squad is nowhere better. The result was a game of attacking and attractive basketball, with razor sharp conversion percentages and continuously changing odds. Both sides had a shot at a clear lead at some point in the game but failed to push through. The Rebels came into the tailend with four points ahead and the Royals got no further than a three from Sory. This might be an important win in the long run.

Game 2

Yourougou Royals 92–84 Kada Rebels

That another classic as the opener was too much to ask came as no surprise, but Yourougou and Kada made it another spectacle, making everyone focus on who’s here rather than who isn’t. Kada, with Abdou Sangaré excelling once more had the upper hand for over thirty minutes but when the going got tough, it were the Royals who made it happen. When confronted with the fact that he was rarely named in the MVP debate, Aliou Bakary posed a few simple questions. “Who was your best player tonight? And is this game the highest stage of domestic basketball?” You and yes. In fact, if you think about it, it wouldn’t be that stupid an idea as he guided the side to a higher level tonight...

Game 3

Yourougou Royals 63–77 Kada Rebels

… one they didn’t reach in the next game. Or no one reached. Oh dear. After two rounds of perfectly exciting basketball, there was a collective day off. Maybe it’s moments like that which determine the big names as amidst the rubble and chaos, Abdou Sangare emerged as a decisive force. Whilst we saw too many turnovers to be happy, Sangare managed to bring some sort of line in the play from the Rebels: if only ‘give me the ball and I’ll fix it’. This way, Kada earned that much-wanted road victory with 27 points by their point guard. If the Royals want to recover from this, they’ll need a flawless record and that with two games in the stadium of the Rebels awaiting.

Game 4

Kada Rebels 81–91 Yourougou Royals

Some say the first cliff is the toughest but Yourougou sailed it without too many problems. Not that Kada didn’t ensure a strong wind with Abdou Sangare back at his high level and a lot more presence from the other members of the Fab Four. Some of the rushes from Dumbuya were truly magnificent and Maiga underlined why he got an invite from the National Team to join them in the Equestrian States in his letter box. But the Royals formed the toughest block with the Bakary brothers doing what they do best. Direct the game, confuse the opposition and sink those balls. That Issa Kambou, not the most reliable Yourougou player in these play-offs, managed to get under the skin of Yago and win the battle of the giants tipped the scales in their advantage: 2-2.

Game 5

Kada Rebels 81–66 Yourougou Royals

It all comes down to this one, a decisive confrontation to crown the new champion. And at times like this, the difference can be made by the big names - Abdou Sangaré played majestic and got named the Finals MVP for good reason afterwards. But it can also depend on the lesser names. Massadou Yago stayed out of the duels with Kambou and focused purely on the rebound itself, ensuring more possession from Kada. Tassembedo and Ngonge, the guys from the bench, played better than ever, giving the Rebels the chance to rest their key players without losing steam when a small gap was created. Yourougou had less opportunities like this, made a few costly mistakes and after the gap reached double figures in the second quarter already, they never really got back into it. Kada Rebels are your slightly surprising, yet deserving national champions!

MBL 2021
All Star Game


Coastal Conference Interior Conference
111 89
Starting Five

PG Abdou Sangaré (Rebels) 13 14 Aliou Bakary (Royals)
SG Francois Diabaté (Dragons) 16 14 Mamane Sankoh (Gold)
SF Bourama Maiga (Rebels) 9 10 Gerard Sory (Royals)
PW Hervé Coulibaly (Titans) 22 21 Adama Fornah (Etoile)
C Daouda Condé (Titans) 16 8 Sotigui Yago (Etoile)

Back-up Five

PG Salim Tamboura (Titans) 3 4 Harouna Doumbia (Etoile)
SG Mamatou Dumbuya (Rebels) 5 2 Wassiou Bakary (Royals)
SF Beiya Dagano (Dragons) 7 10 Kanfory Mawuena (Leopards)
PF Mamadi Yabré (Aiglons) 11 0 Jules Bangoura (Royals)
C Abdou Boni (Dragons) 9 6 Ocansey Abouta (Lanyare)


1 - Hervé Coulibaly Djalenga Titans 347.521
2 - Abdou Sangaré Kada Rebels 325.157
3 - Adama Fornah Etoile Tangbou 301.249
4 - Aliou Bakary Yourougou Royals 226.515
5 - Francois Diabate Massagui Dragons 153.218

Rookie of the Year

1 - Harouna Doumbia Etoile Tangbou 251
2 - Sekou Amadou Djalenga Aiglons 182
3 - Panga Lingani Inter Garo 67

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Founded: Oct 28, 2019
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Mkabia » Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:30 pm

Coupe de la Confederation 2022

The Atlantian Oceania Champions League. The Copa de Campeones. The Campionato Esportivano di Campeones. The Liga dos Vencedores. The multiverse of international football is littered with regional and multiregional competitions, usually with an intricate name and always with a fierce and enthusiastic battle to determine who gets the honours to call themselves the most astute team of the region. And now a chance comes for the various teams of our region to battle for a piece of silverware of their own… Without further ado, we present the Coupe de la Confederation.

For the inaugural edition, partition will be limited to eight teams, the champions of the eight member nations of our region. These teams will first compete in two groups of four to determine the semi-finalists and eventual finalists. As Mkabian FA president Isaac Ndiaye, a Garo local, has been the man at the steering wheel and a benefactor of the competition, the inaugural final will take place in the stadium of Olympique Garo, the Higher Ground. This location is destined to alter each year, with the specific intent to bring the joy of football across our region.

As time has been limited for teams and players to prepare, all games will take place for this edition after the winter break, in the second part of the season. The intention is to expand the tournament next year with a qualifying phase. During this round, a further to be determined number of clubs will compete for eight spots to the group phase. As such, there will be a group phase with sixteen teams and quarterfinals will be added to the competition.

May the best team win!

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Westhouck

Le Nacional                  Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Olympique Brayvorde 22 15 4 3 41 19 +22 49
2 Fleurbeke SC 22 13 3 6 37 23 +14 42
3 Ghyzele Sports 22 11 6 5 36 21 +15 39
4 Racing Quaedkercque 22 11 5 6 32 24 +8 38
5 Excelsior Rexpoede 22 12 1 9 31 25 +6 37
6 Cercle Wormschoote 22 12 1 9 35 38 −3 37
7 Robur Wannezele 22 9 6 7 30 26 +4 33
8 US Houtypre 22 8 4 10 29 32 −3 28
9 Azebrouck Sportive 22 5 6 11 26 37 −11 21
10 Athletique Zuydoucke 22 5 5 12 30 40 −10 20
11 Eeck Football 90 22 4 4 14 28 43 −15 16
12 Beille Entente 22 2 5 15 12 39 −27 11

Representative - Olympique Brayvorde

XI - Grondin * Delvoye, Vandendriessche, Cousin, Strappe * Walczyk, Somerlynck, Bourbotte, Viaene * Samyn, Lequattre
Star - Jean Samyn, a veteran of the team but a reputed goalgetter. Strong and powerful, he’s an assurance on goals who can find the net with both feet - if he doesn't head it in. Slows down with age but can’t be stopped.

Background - Olympique is a household name in the league, aiming for the title every other year and hasn’t fallen out of the top three in the last decade. Les Moutardiers, after the local business and the dark yellow outfits they sport, are currently hinging on a generation in their twilight years, but are still up for a last dance.

Season - Many had hoped for a tense season and halfway through, Ghyzele Sports did their utter best to provide this. But afterwards they suffered from the same irregularity as preseason candidates Fleurbeke and Rexpoede which opened up the road nicely for a tenth title in the history of Olympique Brayvorde. Credit where credit is due, Olympique was a country mile ahead especially at home, where they won 28 out of 33 points.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Ikurrin

Liga Premier                 Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Rojal Lexebarria 34 21 11 2 73 44 +29 74
2 SD Munikaitz 34 19 8 7 69 38 +31 65
3 Azkotarbe FC 34 18 8 8 55 43 +12 62
4 Deportivo Aikun 34 17 10 7 58 35 +23 61
5 Union Orrizabal 34 17 8 9 54 44 +10 59
6 Juventud Munikaitz 34 15 12 7 72 49 +23 57
7 River Zuxaia 34 12 14 8 52 45 +7 50
8 Berastano Futbol 34 14 8 12 57 56 +1 50
9 Sporting Batxeko 34 13 7 14 44 50 −6 46
10 Legurra KE 34 13 6 15 46 51 −5 45
11 Sociedad Ezkutza 34 12 8 14 47 47 0 44
12 Estado Atxarni 34 12 6 16 55 56 −1 42
13 Club Itzebar 34 10 9 15 48 52 −4 39
14 Rapido Aikun 34 9 8 17 39 54 −15 35
15 Deportivo Itzebar 34 10 5 19 42 61 −19 35
16 Grupamento Fornica 34 7 8 19 36 58 −22 29
17 Athletic Beintz 34 6 9 19 30 55 −25 27
18 Hondorriaga Club 34 5 7 22 32 71 −39 22

Representative - Rojal Lexebarria

XI - Muguerza * Iriondo, Gainza, Valdes * Irigorri, Munarriz, Arieta, Urribe, Etxebarria * Saiz, Larrazabal
Star - Andoni Urribe makes the man applaud and the women go wild - and at 25, the best could yet be to come. A jetset star with a babyface by night and a brilliant playmaker by day, he guides this team with elegant passing and unseen crosses.

Background - Rojal resurfaced after a long drought and made it two in a row right away. Lexebarria is a historical town of which the population dwindled but the pride is still there. Their first golden generation, triple title winners, was a rock star quality collective that made them a cult club - at last they’ve got a group to match them.

Season - With only two losses in a whole season, there was little to be done against Rojal this time around. Their 3-5-2 with a lot of press on the opposition and crucial wingers has not been matched yet and during the second half of the season, they beat last remaining candidate Munikaitz in a direct duel to rush to the title. We could be up for a dynasty as Lexebarria seems to grow with every fleeting season.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Saint-Jacques

Ligue Royal                  Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Montplain Liberté 30 21 4 5 52 32 +20 67
2 Valcourt City 30 19 4 7 50 24 +26 61
3 AS Bellerivière 30 17 8 5 59 36 +23 59
4 Esperance Gardenbourg 30 18 5 7 54 33 +21 59
5 Gardenbourg Sportive 30 15 7 8 45 35 +10 52
6 Saint-Luc Union 30 16 2 12 54 43 +11 50
7 Montplain Impact 30 11 9 10 44 38 +6 42
8 Stade Pointère 30 12 6 12 45 44 +1 42
9 Fraternité Renques 30 10 7 13 41 36 +5 37
10 Canville International 30 10 5 15 36 47 −11 35
11 Club Brainard 30 9 7 14 32 43 −11 34
12 Association Saint-Hilaire 30 10 4 16 33 52 −19 34
13 Okun Soccer 30 8 6 16 30 40 −10 30
14 Sporting Baiedonc 30 7 6 17 23 42 −19 27
15 Athletique Perloui 30 7 4 19 23 45 −22 25
16 Etudiants Montplain 30 6 4 20 29 60 −31 22

Representative - Montplain Liberté

XI - Bruneau * Arcand, Leloup, Tremblay, Bohrman * Desjardins, R. Richard, L. Richard * Garneau, Smith, Dor
Star - Leon & Robert Richard, the phlegmatic duo who rule the midfield with youth friend Desjardins - it seems to be the stuff from children's novels but this iron trio seems to do it all: break down attacks and launch them whilst switching positions with their eyes closed.

Background - For long, this side lurked in the shadows of cross-city rival Montplain Impact, the institute when it comes to football in the capital, but at last the black-and-yellow got out of the shadows. Liberté speaks a bit more to the middle class north of town, with a smaller but very elegant stadium that overlooks town and gets the Impact fans envious.

Season - Few had put their money on Montplain Liberté but at last, it all clicked for them and the often mockingly called Hopeful finally got what they deserved. Initially, we seemed up for a long battle with hegemoth Valcourt and perennial frontrunner Bellerivière but a splendid February streak, with six consecutive victories from Liberté created a gap and they didn’t look back. They could be a one-hit wonder, but it is a beautiful song while it lasts.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Tikepua

D1                           Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Victoire Tautofa 20 11 4 5 32 25 +7 37
2 Royal Vaiteahupo 20 10 4 6 31 16 +15 34
3 Mo'ena Central 20 9 3 8 30 30 0 30
4 Papera Cosmos 20 9 3 8 25 27 −2 30
5 Stade Ha'ataia 20 8 4 8 23 24 −1 28
6 Jeunesse Papera 20 3 2 15 20 39 −19 11

Representative - Victoire Tautofa

XI - Tepa * Torohai, Revel, Zaveroni, Teriitau * Lahille, Outui, Tekurio, Brocque * Vaana, Antafaarere
Star - Loic Tekurio stands out amidst what is, in essence, a fairly mediocre team. A true number ten at heart, he has adapted himself to the guys around him and drops back just enough to keep the pace going whilst still popping up in the box every once and awhile.

Background - The D1 is the smallest competition in the region and usually runs on the duopoly of Cosmos and Vaiteahupo. That minnow Victoire Tautofa managed to get their foot in the door is the result of their lauded youth work, with coach Hantihata considered as an authority and respected across the land. The Shells could use it as the platform to grow from mediocre to something more.

Season - Don’t get mistaken by first impressions, this was the most interesting season in the D1 in ages. Royal Vaiteahupo saw star Teraku retire - to go directly into politics, no less - and striker Parelez struggle with the new responsability. Tautofa made the least mistakes along the road and with a remarkable form in the final stretch, they grabbed an unlikely title. The away win in Papera Cosmos, a 2-3 after an early goal against, showed that their strength of mind bested raw talent.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Kabilye

Le Ligue                     Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Moustakbel Yethab 38 26 6 6 76 34 +42 84
2 Nasr Oued Chenia 38 24 5 9 77 41 +36 77
3 Raed Chabab Belattar 38 22 6 10 77 56 +21 72
4 Harakat Djemaili 38 21 6 11 65 60 +5 69
5 Wydad Sayrane 38 18 9 11 63 45 +18 63
6 Medinat Touharia 38 15 13 10 56 45 +11 58
7 Renaissance Aouled 38 16 10 12 57 48 +9 58
8 AS Mers El Yebka 38 17 7 14 60 57 +3 58
9 USM Belattar 38 16 9 13 66 59 +7 57
10 Chabab Ahly Hassani 38 15 11 12 58 51 +7 56
11 Club Sportif Birdja 38 15 10 13 67 65 +2 55
12 Raed Sayrane 38 14 12 12 51 43 +8 54
13 Olympique Meggaz 38 13 11 14 43 42 +1 50
14 Union Sigdir 38 15 4 19 62 69 −7 49
15 Baladiat Meggaz 38 12 9 17 55 59 −4 45
16 Athletic Mohalia 38 12 8 18 61 72 −11 44
17 Entente Stira 38 8 10 20 47 72 −25 34
18 Robur Arthioua 38 8 8 22 52 77 −25 32
19 Rapide Mefsakh 38 7 7 24 33 71 −38 28
20 Jeunesse Frodj 38 2 7 29 21 81 −60 13

Representative - Moustakbel Yethab

XI - Bakkour * Chebal, Z. Zerdab, Saci, Djebaili, H. Zerdab * Maatar, Hardeche, Oudjane * Boughèche, Ferhat
Star - Youcef Bakkour managed to turn goalkeeping into an art. At the peak of his career, he combines artistic jumps and a bit of theatre between the stakes with incredible efficiency and notable

Background - Usually the bridesmaid, rarely the bride, the title from Yethab could come unexpected at first, especially after two crazy transfer seasons which saw nearly the whole squad renewed. But there is a method behind the madness and maybe manager Belhandi is the real star for molding these individuals into a sturdy, well-organised squad.

Season - Halfway through, Raed Chabab could count on the best papers with a four-point gap, a blazing striker in Mekhloufi and a loyal fan following. But the game on the pitch of Yethab, a hardfought 2-1 loss, turned the tables and the team from the coastal town rushed up and over as their opponents fell apart. In the end, tension had to come from up-and-comers Chenia but they delivered too little, too late.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Vinh Cai

Top Competition              Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 TP Dhu Ling 22 16 4 2 43 19 +24 52
2 Uong Di FC 22 12 5 5 42 31 +11 41
3 Rapide Go Nhon 22 12 3 7 32 26 +6 39
4 AS Thanh Yhen 22 10 7 5 34 24 +10 37
5 Sparta Chu Nguyen 22 9 4 9 33 28 +5 31
6 Tra Nang Delta 22 9 4 9 39 36 +3 31
7 En Avant Quang Thuy 22 8 6 8 30 32 −2 30
8 CLBB Ha Thao 22 8 4 10 36 35 +1 28
9 Ninh Lhoy Sportif 22 7 4 11 34 36 −2 25
10 US Bin Mai 22 6 5 11 21 34 −13 23
11 Jeunesse Tinh 22 5 4 13 31 43 −12 19
12 Cote Dhu Ling 22 3 4 15 19 50 −31 13

Representative - TP Dhu Ling

XI - Vinh Luong * Hien Hoang, Binh Su, Duy Sy, Van Minh * Phuc Hung, Duc Chung * Dhan Dai, Anh Quan, Tuan Cong * Vinh Duy
Star - Cong Duc Chung can barely be called an attractive player but the captain of this TP Dhu Ling is much more than an industrious midfielder. At 35, he’s the face of this club, the man who rallies the troops and who is the face of the superiority over every opponent.

Background - TP Dhu Ling could be called the plaything of Duc Minh Thao, a man who made his fortune in the clothing industry and turned a small workshop into a region wide concern. No wonder that when he went into football, he only did it to be the best. A relegation struggler from his native town was turned into a dominant ruler who captured eight of the last twelve titles.

Season - Did the opposition become weaker or TP Dhu Ling grow stronger? We’re not entirely sure either - although with the acquisition of Ahn Quan from Rapide and youngster Hien Hoang from Delta, they did weaken the number two and three from last year. Fact is that this machine ensured itself of the title with still four more games on the agenda and only lost their second game in an end-of-season dead rubber. The Top Competition could use a competitor, but it’s all Dhu Ling at the moment.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Portana

Serie Nacional               Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Pro Firaccio 28 19 4 5 54 32 +22 61
2 Fortis Ervione 28 17 7 4 53 29 +24 58
3 Societa Cargeniani 28 14 7 7 47 34 +13 49
4 Virtus Zicognano 28 13 2 13 41 38 +3 41
5 Associazione Calenzurri 28 10 5 13 41 37 +4 35
6 Alco Calcio 28 9 7 12 42 51 −9 34
7 Saleria Libertas 28 6 6 16 35 58 −23 24
8 Delfino Pentifao 28 3 4 21 25 59 −34 13

Representative - Pro Firaccio

XI - Lacuesta * Ziani, Cazes, Bracconi, Chezad * Guagnini, Molteni, Lamberti * Sodin, Cioni, Ceccarelli
Star - David Cioni is unreliable, lazy, slow and sometimes completely absent from the game. But when he is in the right mood, he’s a genius in boots. A goal machine with a marvellous first touch and a unique free kick, he’s the hero of the people.

Background - Pro Firaccio has been founded as a factory team in the docks of Firaccio, an industrial burrough at the outskirts of Alco, the main harbour city of Portana. Although the original company closed the books ages ago, it remained the representative of the common worker, the club of the people where the highs are always intenser, the lows always deeper and the middles always creamier.

Season - In a way, the 2020-2021 edition might have been one of the most thrilling ones to date of the one-to-youngest of the first divisions of the federation. Fortis Ervione and Pro Firaccio took the lead back and forth, all leading into the direct duel on the 27th match day. Running into a 1-1 draw, David Cioni once more showed why his manager leaves him on the pitch after a hapless game when he got a diving header in the top corner and won his team the title.

Coupe de la Confederation 2022
Qualifier - Mkabia

Premier League               Pld   W   D   L   GF   GA   GD  Pts
1 Stade Djalenga 22 13 6 3 41 24 +17 45
2 Olympique Garo 22 13 5 4 48 31 +17 44
3 Dragons de Massagui 22 12 4 6 30 23 +7 40
4 Etoile Bokandé 22 10 5 7 41 30 +11 35
5 Royal Garo 22 10 3 9 35 36 −1 33
6 Djalenga Foot 22 8 8 6 48 43 +5 32
7 Red Star Kalagouba 22 8 3 11 31 32 −1 27
8 Kouarou Golden Boys 22 7 6 9 27 32 −5 27
9 Union Kada 22 4 9 9 35 43 −8 21
10 Yourougou FC 22 5 5 12 19 29 −10 20
11 Dembana Star 22 4 8 10 18 31 −13 20
12 Falako Sports 22 3 8 11 24 43 −19 17

Representative - Stade Djalenga


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