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Thursday, January 26, 2006
Eto'o is key for Cameroon cup quest, says Song

CAIRO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Record-breaking Cameroon captain Rigobert Song says striker Samuel Eto's will be the key to Cameroon winning the African Nations Cup.

'Samuel has shown his class at this event. Every time we play with him, we know he is going to make some magic,' said Song after the Barcelona player's fourth goal of the tournament on Wednesday against Togo booked a quarter-final spot.

'For us, he is one of the best in the world and we want him to continue like that,' added Song.

'We don't just want to get to the second round but to play in the final and to win the cup. We know it isn't going to be easy but we want to win, just win.'

The 29-year-old Cameroon captain, who has played at clubs in France, Italy, England, Germany and now Turkey, said he was thrilled to have reached 100 caps for his country in the tournament's opening game against Angola.

He is now also the holder of the record number of appearances at the Nations Cup finals.

'For me that's something very special. I'm very happy to have achieved that. I want to enjoy the achievement with my family and all the people who have shown confidence in me,' Song told Reuters.

'But I am not settling on 100 caps, I want to do more, to win something again and whenever the national team want me, I'm ready to give my best.'

The 2-0 win over Togo in Cairo marked Song's 101st international appearance and 25th game in the Nations Cup.

Song, who plays for Galatasaray, made his debut at the age of 17 in a friendly international against Mexico in Los Angeles in September, 1993.

He was one of the youngest players in World Cup history at the 1994 finals in the U.S. and competed in subsequent tournaments in France and Japan and South Korea.

Song, whose dreadlock hairstyle has made him one of the continent's most recognisable figures, captained Cameroon's Indomitable Lions to Nations Cup success in 2000, scoring the decisive penalty in the shootout in the final, and again in Mali in 2002.

Song is the seventh African to reach the milestone but the first from outside Arabic-speaking north Africa. There have been several other claimants for the 100-cap club but these have gone unverified in a region where record keeping has been poor.

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