Samuel Eto’o is one of Africa’s greatest ever footballers, having won the African Player of the Year award more times than anyone else.
The ex-Barcelona forward scooped the accolade on a record four occasions, including in three years in a row between 2003 and 2005.
The Cameroon legend is also now a spokesperson for his country. He was appointed as the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation in December 2021.
Upon his appointment to the role, he tweeted: “I’ll be remembering today as one of the proudest moments of my life. I’m deeply grateful [sic] to be elected as the new president of [Cameroonian Football Federation].
“Every vote represents the energy and ambition of our football family to take our beloved sport to a level we’ve never seen before.”
What has Samuel Eto’o said about AFCON and the World Cup?
From January 9, Eto’o will watch as Cameroon attempts to reclaim the African Cup of Nations. The country last won the tournament in 2017.
Before the tournament, the former striker has emphasised how much he believes that an African side can win the World Cup. A nation from the continent is yet to lift the trophy in its 92-year history. But his comments have sparked some controversy.
He told The Athletic: “Winning a World Cup is not impossible. I won, I don’t know how many Champions Leagues, all while being considered one of the best players of that generation.
“If others have done, if I could do it, I don’t see why an African country will not win a World Cup. It’s even one of the easiest things to do. It’s just a couple of football matches. Why would that be impossible?”
How have fans reacted to Eto’o’s comments?
The reaction to Eto’o’s statements has been mixed. In the r/soccer subreddit, one Everton fan refers to the Cameroon striker as ‘Samuel Owen’, in reference to the ex-Liverpool and England forward, Michael.
Another fan made a brilliant reference to Formula 1 in analysing Eto’o’s comments by writing: “If you keep Bottas behind, you are in P1.” For context, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc asked mid-race in which position he would finish the Turkish Grand Prix, to which he received the same response.
Other fans, however, pointed to the difficulty of winning the World Cup for any team. Another reminisced on Ghana’s run in the 2010 edition, when they were an Asamoah Gyan missed penalty away from the semi-finals.
What is the World Cup record of Samuel Eto’o?
Unfortunately for Samuel Eto’o and Cameroon, their recent record at the World Cup is poor.
Eto’o played in four World Cups for his country. That includes the 1998 edition when he was 17. Cameroon drew two and lost one of their group games that year, although Eto’o only played in the 2-1 loss to Italy.
Four years later, the nation qualified again. Their star striker, now playing for Mallorca, featured in a more important role. Cameroon were knocked out in the group stage again, but they did beat Saudi Arabia 1-0. Eto’o scored the only goal.
It was to be the last time the legendary forward tasted victory in a World Cup match. He scored twice in 2010, but the nation lost all three of their group matches.
In 2014, he captained Cameroon in their first group game. However, he failed to get on the scoresheet. He then missed the subsequent two matches, and his nation were again knocked out.
Following the tournament, Samuel Eto’o announced his retirement from international football. He ended his World Cup career with three goals and no knockout stage appearances.
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