Samuel Eto’o and his Cameroon teammates have been sensationally accused of treason by a national paper in Africa, after they staged a strike over the money they will receive from their World Cup appearances.
According to Yahoo Sport the fact that Eto’o is said to have been the ringleader of the squad which delayed its flight to Brazil as the players demanded more money for their participation in football’s biggest tournament, has not gone down well at all in Cameroon, despite his status as a national icon. Daily publication Mutations has reportedly branded the incident an act of “high treason”, and the acting president of the Cameroon Soccer Federation, Joseph Owona, has publicly condemned it.
Of course it’s not the only time Eto’o and Co. have angered their nation recently, as the people of Cameroon are said to be furious with the fact that the team refused to receive a symbolic national flag from their prime minister Philemon Yang, at the end of their last pre-World Cup warm-up game against Moldova. The German coach of the side, Volker Finke was forced to accept it instead.
‘A player who goes to the World Cup is a soldier at the front. If he does not want to board that is high treason that deserves punishment!’ were the words written in Cameroonian newspaper Mutations, whilst Owona said: “What they did on Saturday, it is a shame to the nation, a total contempt for the government and people who came to watch them and say goodbye. If they do not respect the emblem of this country, can we still support them?”
The diassarry will not bode well for Cameroon fans ahead of what is likely to be Eto’o’s last World Cup as a player. The Indomitable Lions share Group A with Mexico, Croatia and hosts Brazil, and so will have to be at the very peak of their powers if they stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds.
As for Eto’o personally, aside from being threatened with high treason he’ll likely be vying to use the tournament as a platform from which to put himself in the shop window and find a new club. The 33-year-old was released this summer by Chelsea, having come to the end of his one-year deal, and is currently without a team. Interest has been registered in the ageing striker who, with 117 caps to his name, is Cameroon’s most senior player, but a good tournament would likely see concrete offers coming in.
Premier League giants Everton are said to have been monitoring his situation, and they could make a move as Roberto Martinez looks to fill the void left by the departing Romelu Lukaku - who is coincidentally moving back to Chelsea -, but the striker may want to continue playing Champions League football, and if that’s the case then offers from abroad could be more appealing.