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Football - Cameroon: Samuel Eto'o at the heart of FECAFOOT's dip

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 05: Samuel Eto'o with two FIFA delegates after the 69th FIFA Congress at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles on June 5, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)
Football - Cameroon: Samuel Eto'o at the heart of FECAFOOT's dip

The hypothesis of a candidacy of Samuel Eto'o for the presidency of the Cameroon Football Federation has created a crisis of confidence between the outgoing president of the body and the general secretary.

The rumor persists! Samuel Eto'o could indeed run for the presidency of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) next October. The best striker in the history of the AFCON has not yet officially declared himself, but the mere hypothesis of his candidacy has set fire to the relations between the outgoing president of the body and his secretary general.

Seidou Mbombo Njoya and Benjamin Didier Banlock, reputedly close to the former FC Barcelona striker, are no longer in good terms. The "divorce" between the two men was pronounced on Monday 9 August with the suspension of the secretary general by the president. Benjamin Didier Banlock is now under disciplinary proceedings. ''My contract runs until 2023," said Banlock. ''I am suspended as a precautionary measure. I am not dismissed, for the moment. So I am waiting'' said the disgruntled Banlock.

 

Suspended secretary general

"It is a disciplinary procedure, but an administrative one," explained the president of FECAFOOT. An interim general secretary has been appointed. It is the director of communication of the Federation, Parfait Siki. However, there is widespread confusion about the real reasons for this crisis. Multiple versions place the possible candidacy of Samuel Eto'o at the heart of the division between the two leaders.

"Samuel Eto'o played a key role in the election of Seidou Mbombo Njoya in December 2018. One can even say that it was partly thanks to him that the president was elected. And in the same way, it is also thanks to Samuel Eto'o that Benjamin Didier Banlock was recruited to FECAFOOT and confirmed as general secretary in January 2019," says a source close to the president of FECAFOOT.

However, according to this informant who masters the file, the boss of Cameroonian football and his former mentor are no longer on the same side. "It is said that Samuel Eto'o and Seidou Mbombo Njoya are no longer talking to each other in the president's entourage. Eto'o is said to have asked him to consider handing over the reins so that he or another candidate he could support could take over the helm of FECAFOOT. A proposal declined by Mr. Mbombo Njoya," he murmured.

 

The SG chose Eto'o
Even if he opted for silence, the outgoing president intends to run for another term. His previous election was annulled midway through by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) due to a number of irregularities. Seidou Mbombo Njoya does not intend to let his second chance pass. This stubbornness is seen as an affront by those who support the idea of a candidacy of Samuel Eto'o. And this is the case, we learn, of the secretary general.

"It so happens that President Seidou asked the SG to accompany him and him alone, in his re-election project. But the SG chose Eto'o, given that he and Mr. Seidou have practically become adversaries. All those who know the SG know that he is a man of principles, a loyal man," said a close friend of Benjamin Didier Banlock. The electoral commission of FECAFOOT was set up last Saturday. In the coming days, the candidates will have to officially make their intentions known to Cameroonians.

 

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