Football - Cameroon - André Onana case: Eto'o faces the court of history

Andre Onana et Samuel Eto'o
Football - Cameroon - André Onana case: Eto'o faces the court of history

Pushed into retirement after numerous conflicts with the leaders of the Fécafoot, Samuel Eto'o had the support of the state to return to the selection in October 2013. Ten years later, history could repeat itself with Andre Onana, this time in dispute with a Fécafoot led by Eto'o.

Cameroon's government is pushing for a return of Andre Onana to the national team. The 27-year-old goalkeeper (34 caps) had announced on December 23, 2022 that he will no longer wear the colors of his country, after being suspended by the Fecafoot for "indiscipline" during the World Cup in Qatar.

However, the great performances of the Inter Milan goalkeeper, especially in the Champions League where he is the best in his position with 6 clean-sheets and 40 decisive saves, do not leave the leaders of his country indifferent. On April 19, 2023, the Cameroonian Minister of Sports wrote to the president of the Nerazzurri. Narcisse Mouelle Kombi requested that André Onana be made available for a possible call-up to the Indomitable Lions.

Political maneuver
This is indeed not the first time that the Cameroonian politician is committed to bring a player out of international retirement. In 2013, Samuel Eto'o had already received the same attention, a month after announcing his withdrawal from the Indomitable Lions for "personal reasons". Then 32 years old, the Chelsea striker had explained early October 2013, that he was returning to the national team at the request of Cameroon's president, Paul Biya.

"The most important person in the country wants me to return to the national team so that we can qualify for the next World Cup [2014],"
Eto'o had told Reuters. So I will do everything to join my teammates. At the time, the Fécafoot, with whom he was in permanent conflict, did not have anything to say. Eto'o, who believed that footballers "as Cameroonian citizens" have "a certain duty to the nation", joined the team for the 2014 World Cup play-offs against Tunisia [0-0 on October 11 in Rades and 4-1 on November 15 in Yaoundé].

Nearly ten years later, history could repeat itself with the case of Andre Onana, but with the difference that the Fécafoot with whom he is in dispute, is headed by a certain ... Samuel Eto'o. What to expect possible complications in the case of his return? "It is to be hoped that there has been a consultation between the executive of Fecafoot and the minister. Otherwise, knowing the huge ego of the leaders of the Federation, we must expect a completely rotten atmosphere in case Onana, imposed by the ministry, returns, "says Jean Bruno Tagne, journalist and former campaign manager of Samuel Eto'o.

A conflict between the State and Fécafoot in sight?

The signs of a possible conflict between the Minister of Sports and the Fécafoot are, in any case, already perceptible. The supporters of Samuel Eto'o consider the maneuvers of the Minister in the case Onana inappropriate. "The minister violates all the rules of propriety. He replaces the president of the Fécafoot or failing that, the manager of the Lions," said Francis Bonga, a journalist close to Samuel Eto'o. On the other hand, some analysts believe that the sports authority is within its rights, given the fact that four months after the World Cup, the Fécafoot has not attempted any mediation with André Onana.

"When we see the amateurism with which the file Onana was treated by the Fecafoot, we can understand that the government, through its Minister of Sports, decided to take the lead to bring the prodigy home, "said Jean Bruno Tagne. "The leaders of Fécafoot, he continues, by their notorious incompetence in this matter, are responsible for what, in a normal environment, would have been considered as interference. The eyes of Cameroonians are riveted on Eto'o.

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