When one door is closed, another opens . . .
Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter
CAMEROONIAN forward Albert Eonde reckons the experience he got in Zimbabwe will propel him in his journey to self-actualisation after he was unveiled by Ghanaian giants, Hearts of Oak.
Eonde, who was recently released by Dynamos, spent five years in Zimbabwe. He won two Castle Lager Premier Soccer League titles with FC Platinum before he joined the Glamour Boys in 2020.
However, due to Covid-19 disruptions, the striker only played one season with DeMbare before he was caught up in a massive clearance that was conducted last month by new coach Herbert Maruwa.
But for Eonde, the disappointment opened another door for him to redeem himself at an even bigger stage, after joining the former African champions and record 21-time Ghanaian titleholders.
The 24-year-old Cameroonian forward penned a three-and-a-half-year deal which runs until 2026.
“It’s a great feeling for me as a player and a person joining such a big team is always an amazing feeling for a player. I’m really happy,” said Eonde from his new base in Accra.
The 24-year-old has already started training with the club after he was unveiled on Tuesday.
Hearts of Oak said in a statement they were excited to beef up their attacking options as they continue their chase for a record 22nd Ghanaian league title.
Founded in 1911, the club is the oldest surviving football club in the West African nation. They are also regular participants in continental football and have won the CAF Champions League in 2000 and the CAF Confederation Cup in 2004.
“We have strengthened our attacking options with the inclusion of Eonde Albert on a three-year deal,” said the club in a statement.
Hearts of Oak are heavily involved in the 2022-23 Ghana Super League title race. They have amassed 24 points from 14 games and are just one point behind log leaders Aduana Stars, with the campaign drifting towards the halfway stage.
“I’m here to help the team the best I can and to give my best to meet the team’s objectives. Together we can come out with something positive.”
Eonde was among the 13 players released by the Glamour Boys last month following the expiry of his two-year contract. He played bit-part roles in DeMbare’s campaign, which saw the Glamour Boys finishing third in the race under Tonderai Ndiraya.
He encountered frustrations as he had to spend most of the campaign on the bench and contributed a single league goal during the season. But then, upon reflection, the big striker feels he could have achieved much with the Harare giants if the technical team had trusted him more.
“To be honest, I wish they had a little trust in me. I’m sure I could have come out with something. Unfortunately, such is football.
“As footballers, we need to adapt to some situations. Every football player wants to play as much as he can. But Dynamos is a fantastic team. I’ll always respect and carry the name with me,” he said.
“My stay in Zimbabwe was always fantastic in all aspects. Zimbabwe for me today is my home, a peaceful country. I really enjoyed my stay in Zimbabwe. It’s my home, there are lovely people there. The football is good and there are talented players.
“I enjoyed football there with FC Platinum, with whom I won two championships and a (Castle) Challenge Cup and (won the President’s Independence Cup) with Dynamos too. I really enjoyed playing for those two big teams,” said Eonde.
A former Cameroon youth international, Eonde started his professional career at the age of 16 years with lower-tier side Vipère de Ndiki, where he scored 17 goals in 20 appearances in the 2014-15 season.
He then joined Cameroonian giants Coton Sport Garoua, where he also excelled before moving to rivals Canon de Yaounde. This was followed by a short stint in Thailand where he played for second-tier clubs Pattaya United FC and Rayong FC.
Eonde arrived in Zimbabwe in 2018 with a lot of expectation. After joining FC Platinum together with Shadreck Mayembe from Zambia, there was pressure on the two expatriates to make a difference but the bar was always high.
He won two league titles with the Zvishavane side and also had the privilege of playing CAF Champions League football. However, his two-year contract was not renewed by FC Platinum and DeMbare pounced just before football was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
But when the game resumed, the Cameroonian forward found himself spending more time on the bench as the DeMbare forwards struggled to assert themselves.