African Nations Cup

Samuel Eto'o boycotting Cameroon

August 28, 2012
By Press Association

Cameroon coach Denis Lavagne expressed his surprise and disappointment at Samuel Eto'o's decision to reject a return to the national team.

Eto'o, who plays soccer for Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, was named to Lavagne's squad for the African Nations Cup qualifier against Cape Verde in September after serving an eight-month ban -- imposed by the Cameroon Football Federation (CFF) -- for his part in a player strike over unpaid bonuses.

Eto'o Our national team continues to dwell in an environment characterized by amateurism and poor organization not compatible with professional sports.

-- Samuel Eto'o

But the 31-year-old is now in self-imposed exile as part of a protest against "amateurism and poor organization" within the CFF.

"I counted on him after his eight-month suspension. He would make us better because he has huge talent," Lavagne told Jeune Afrique.

"I'm surprised, but I have no choice but to take note of his refusal."

Sparta Prague striker Leonard Kweuke has been drafted as Eto'o's replacement but he is not of the same caliber as Eto'o, who has scored 54 goals in 109 appearances for the Indomitable Lions.

Eto'o insists he is taking a stance for the good of the team, and the country, but admits he is not sure it will be perceived that way.

In an open letter to the CFF, which was published on his personal website, Eto'o wrote: "Our national team continues to dwell in an environment characterized by amateurism and poor organization not compatible with professional sports.

"I doubt if supporters of the Indomitable Lions will understand my move aimed at attracting attention to the imperative necessity to make the team professional.

"The team is a veritable institution that has contributed much to the nation and from which much is still expected."