columnBy John Vianney Nsimbe
The moment URA FC landed in Cameroon for their first leg tie against Coton Sport in the Caf Champions League last weekend, they were faced with a huge dilemma: To play a defensive game (park a bus), try to nick a goal on the counter or simply avoid defeat.
With the consideration of an away win out of the question, at least the tax collectors managed to secure the latter with a creditable 0-0 draw on Sunday February 17.
In the process, URA has been lavished with praise for being gallant, as they appear to have the advantage now going into the second leg on March 2. But is it indeed the case?
Inevitably, for any team that goes away first for a two-legged tie and registers a draw, there is a sense of satisfaction for the milestone reached. In fact, even the level of belief is heightened because under normal circumstances, while at home, they expect the home support to rally behind them, which morale helps most home teams to get the needed result.
Against that, URA must be feeling quite bullish and that Coton Sport without their fans here will be at a disadvantage and less confident to perform. URA will hope to ride on that and the newfound spirit that even in adversity they were able to do well.
However, URA can only get carried away at their own peril. Their biggest problem of late is the fact that goals have been hard to come by. And yet, they will need to outscore Coton Sport to qualify for the next round. In the Fufa Super League, they have scored 23 goals and conceded 17 goals in 16 games.
With 1.4 goals scored and 1.06 goals conceded per game in the league, a better balance must be done and Nkata said as much upon return. "I think we can open up their defence and score but we must also play well defensively," said Nkata.
Hard as it is to make a conclusion on those statistics, URA will now have the pressure being at home to show impetus against Coton Sport. But it is only one goal unanswered that URA need to progress. But to get it, they have to show the initiative from the word go.
And in order for this initiative to make an onslaught on the Coton Sport goal to be successful, URA must be good in transition, something they have been short on lately. In essence, it is one thing playing away from home and concentrating on being behind the ball and it is another striking a balance between attack and defence.
Any goal by Coton Sport means that URA has to score twice and that will be the strategy the Cameroon side will have at the back of their minds.
The last time Coton Sport were here in 2007, they secured the result they needed. Unless URA bettered their 3-0 first leg win, they stood no chance against the Cameroon side. That said, in five home Caf Champions League ties URA has hosted, they have only won two.
That is a record that will leave you asking whether it is indeed advantage URA FC after the goalless draw in Cameroon.