Saturday, 17 July 2010

Tonnerre Kalara Club de Yaoundé (Cameroon)

Tonnerre Yaoundé were briefly among the top club sides in Africa, and despite having a decent track record, and a list of famous ex-players as long as your arm, currently languish in the second level of Cameroonian football, after suffering relegation in 2008. Formed in 1974 in the mountainous capital city of Yaoundé, their glory days came to them pretty soon, but didn't hang around for long.

The 1980s saw them win a string of five league titles - the sum total of their tally. Their biggest success came though in their debut year, when they won the Cameroon Cup, and went on to lift the very first African Cup Winners Cup the following year, hammering Stella Club d'Adjamé from the Ivory Coast 5-1 in a two-legged final. They went on to win the Cameroon Cup five times in total, but their last win was way back in 1991. After such a strong start to their footballing life, their fans must have been sorely disappointed, as they haven't won a single thing since.

Omnisports Ahmadou-Ahidjo Stadium - also home to the Cameroon national side - has seen many of the biggest stars of African football grace its playing surface. African Player of the Century Roger Milla scored an incredible 69 goals in 87 appearances for Tonnerre, before he was spotted by scouts from the French club Valenciennes in 1977 and whisked away to Europe, while the much travelled Cameroon international Rigobert Song started his career here. Former FIFA World Player of the Year, the Liberian George Weah was also scalped by AS Monaco after his brief stint here, and the club has since been a nursery for a host of Cameroon internationals ever since.

So let's hope they soon bounce back and relive the glory days, and drag the black and white stripes back up to the top of the Cameroonian league.

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