Engaged in a standoff with the Minister of Sports following the appointment of Marc Brys as head coach, Samuel Eto’o, president of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot), has received an indirect but very clear message from his supervising ministry!

While Marc Brys was officially inaugurated on Monday and extended an olive branch to Eto’o, who has so far remained unresponsive, a meeting is scheduled between Fecafoot and Minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombi on Thursday at the Prime Minister’s office. Since then, observers have hoped for reconciliation, or at least an amicable resolution between the two stakeholders in Cameroonian football. Otherwise, we would be heading towards an unprecedented situation with the same team having two different coaching setups. As a reminder, Fecafoot has indeed asked its top official to choose his own staff parallel to Brys’.

“An almost suicidal attitude”
“Either Samuel Eto’o has decided to adopt an almost suicidal attitude, or he hopes to negotiate something with the Minister of Sports. But it’s not clear what his goal is, and especially who he could appoint,” commented a former member of Fecafoot who requested anonymity, as reported by Le Monde. Supported by the Cameroonian elite at his election, the former Barcelona player, renowned for his strong character, would therefore be shooting himself in the foot by pursuing his conflict with the state, as warned by Cyrille Tollo, technical advisor to the Minister of Sports. “(Eto’o) is free to do as he pleases, but appointing another coach would be a real defiance towards the state,” cautioned the advisor. “We continue to believe that he loves his country, respects its institutions, and will come to better sentiments,” he added.

Bell also warns Eto’o
Furthermore, Cameroonian goalkeeping legend Joseph-Antoine Bell, double African champion (1984, 1988), cautioned Eto’o against potential damage to his image. “I don’t see any coach, whether Cameroonian or foreign, who would accept such an offer and put themselves in a very uncomfortable position that could harm their reputation,” he told Le Monde. “Samuel Eto’o says he’s busy with his father’s funeral, which is commendable. When could he find the time to search for a coach? And above all, for what purpose? A coach has been appointed, this matter should be put to rest.”

At the ministry, they claim not to be overly concerned about Fecafoot’s sulking. “In 2007 and then in 2012, the institution, then chaired by Mohammed Iya, had refused to sign contracts for German Otto Pfister and Cameroonian Jean-Paul Akono, but that did not hinder their validation,” Tollo recalled to Le Monde.

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