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Governing Bodies

Cameroon football crisis gets messier as  Eto’o and coach get in angry exchange

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President of the Cameroonian Football Federation and former professional footballer Samuel Eto'o speaks on the day of the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha,/File Photo

Cameroon football was plunged deeper into crisis on Tuesday when a meeting between football federation president Samuel Eto’o and the country’s new Belgian coach Marc Brys turned into an angry showdown.

It was the first time Eto’o was meeting Brys, who was appointed by the country’s sports ministry in early April without any input from the Cameroon Football Federation, setting up a standoff between the two.

Brys had been invited for a “working session” by Eto’o as Cameroon prepare for World Cup qualifiers next month, but several of his support staff, also appointed by the sports ministry, were refused entry to the FECAFOOT federation building in Yaounde.

Video circulating on several social media sites (@AllezLesLions), filmed by reporters, show Eto’o welcoming Brys but their exchanges quickly turned into a melodrama.

First Eto’o angrily kicked out a ministry official who wanted to attend the meeting, and then he had a fiery exchange with Brys, who left immediately.

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A statement is expected later from FECAFOOT, who had expressed a willingness to work with the Belgian despite initially slamming his appointment as a unilateral decision by sports minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombito.

Normally, the football federation would appoint and pay its coaches but in some African countries this is done by the government, especially when federations are cash-strapped.

Former African Footballer of the Year Eto’o, who had a storied career playing in Europe, has tried to assert some independence but has also had to tread carefully in a country where matters around the football team are high priority for the government.

Long-standing Cameroon president Paul Biya has often weighed in on team affairs, famously demanding that 38-year-old Roger Milla be included in the squad for the 1990 World Cup.

The veteran striker went on to score key goals as Cameroon became the first African country to reach the quarter-finals.

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Cameroon have qualified for eight World Cup tournaments, more than any other African country, making the Indomitable Lions one of the country’s major assets.

They are due to play the Cape Verde Islands in Yaounde on June 8 and Angola away three days later in their latest qualifying games for the 2026 finals in North America.

They beat Mauritius at home and drew away with Libya in their opening two Group D qualifiers last November under Rigobert Song, whose contract was not renewed after Cameroon went out in the last-16 at January’s Africa Cup of Nations final

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Governing Bodies

Tinubu backs Amaju’s FIFA Council re-election bid

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick has secured the backing of Nigeria’s President,  Bola Tinubu in his bid to get another term in office as one of Africa’s representatives in FIFA Council.

The 37-member FIFA  Council is the main decision making body of the organisation in the intervals of FIFA Congress. 

Pinnick is the third Nigerian to ever sit in the FIFA Council after Oyo Orok Oyo (1980-1988) and Dr. Amos Adamu (2006-2010).

Pinnick was elected into the council on 12 March 2021. He is bidding for re-election in 2025 when the current term lapses.

According to a media release from the State House and signed by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity,

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President Bola Tinubu expresses strong support for Nigeria’s bid for re-election into the FIFA Council

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Governing Bodies

Save Our Soccer, African Sports Journalists plead with Motsepe

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

An SOS has been sent by the International Sports Press – Africa (AIPS -Africa) to the President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Dr. Patrice Motsepe to save the soul of African soccer.

 The sports writers’ body has written an open letter to Motsepe on the need to do more to save African football.

The letter, written Monday in Dakar, is premised on the recurring scheduling problems that “have made CAF a victim of collateral damage from the “war” between UEFA and FIFA.”

Continuing in the letter signed by AIPS-Africa President, Abdoulaye Thiam, the sports writers’ body noted that UEFA contributed to overloading of the international calendar with the creation of the Nations League, which is played on FIFA dates

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Owing to the congested international calendar, football competitions in Africa have been major victims.

AIPS wrote: …”the stuttering and uncertainties surrounding the programming of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) leave many wondering about the future of our continent’s most prestigious competition, which is struggling to find a place in the international calendar.

“Added to this, the external influences and the overload of the international calendar, modelled on the European interests, increases the scepticism surrounding the survival of CAF’s most lucrative and economically viable tournament.

“As a result, therefore, it is rare, if not impossible, for an African team to find a European team to spar with, except when they share the same group in a World Cup draw every four years.     

“As for FIFA, in addition to the Arab World Cup, it has also created the Club World Cup. Worse still, it decided to stage the latter competition from June 15 to July 13, 2025, a period initially chosen by Morocco to host the AFCON 2025. In fact, Cairo’s dependence on Zurich enabled FIFA’s latest competition to happily shake up the 67-year-old African Cup of Nations.”

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Also affected by the global football calendar are the scheduling of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and African Women’s Champions League.

The journalists recalled that the changing of AFCON tournaments from the even-ending years to the odd  was to avert situations of clashing with World Cup years and to avert exhaustion on players.

The situation is such that scheduling of tournaments in Africa is now determined by compromise reached with UEFA and FIFA.

AIPS averred that “it is important to deconstruct the image of Africa as a prominent stakeholder in the global game with huge voice of 54 member associations and votes being presented as an electoral cattle-tank, to be adequately given their fair share during debates and dialogues with FIFA, by offering constructive solutions with a view to accelerating a reform of the international calendar.

“It is therefore expected from CAF leaders to ensure respect for African Football which is full of great administrators and players alike…Mr. President (Motsepe), you claim to be a disciple of Nelson Mandela and a well respectable man. A man of principles. So do kindly refuse and remain our inspiration than anything else.”  

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Governing Bodies

Breaking! CAF’s axe falls on Eto’o

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Confederation of African Football (CAF) has imposed a fine of $200 thousand on Samuel Eto’o Fils, a former international footballer and President of Fédération Camerounaise de Football (‘’FECAFOOT’’).

  The fine is imposed on the FECAFOOT president for violating the principles of ethics, integrity and sportsmanship as provided in Article 2  paragraph 3 of the CAF Statutes.

He is found to have violated the said article by signing a Brand Ambassador contract with the company 1XBET in exchange for remuneration.

 He however escape sanction in a bigger allegation of match fixing and manipulation.

Eto’o faced charges of alleged manipulation of football matches and violating the principles of ethics and integrity.

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The Disciplinary Board ruled that there was insufficient proof to find him and Valentin Nkwain guilty of match manipulation.

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