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Governing Bodies

Cameroon football crisis gets messier as  Eto’o and coach get in angry exchange

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President of the Cameroonian Football Federation and former professional footballer Samuel Eto'o speaks on the day of the 74th FIFA Congress at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, in Bangkok, Thailand, May 17, 2024. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha,/File Photo

Cameroon football was plunged deeper into crisis on Tuesday when a meeting between football federation president Samuel Eto’o and the country’s new Belgian coach Marc Brys turned into an angry showdown.

It was the first time Eto’o was meeting Brys, who was appointed by the country’s sports ministry in early April without any input from the Cameroon Football Federation, setting up a standoff between the two.

Brys had been invited for a “working session” by Eto’o as Cameroon prepare for World Cup qualifiers next month, but several of his support staff, also appointed by the sports ministry, were refused entry to the FECAFOOT federation building in Yaounde.

Video circulating on several social media sites (@AllezLesLions), filmed by reporters, show Eto’o welcoming Brys but their exchanges quickly turned into a melodrama.

First Eto’o angrily kicked out a ministry official who wanted to attend the meeting, and then he had a fiery exchange with Brys, who left immediately.

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A statement is expected later from FECAFOOT, who had expressed a willingness to work with the Belgian despite initially slamming his appointment as a unilateral decision by sports minister Narcisse Mouelle Kombito.

Normally, the football federation would appoint and pay its coaches but in some African countries this is done by the government, especially when federations are cash-strapped.

Former African Footballer of the Year Eto’o, who had a storied career playing in Europe, has tried to assert some independence but has also had to tread carefully in a country where matters around the football team are high priority for the government.

Long-standing Cameroon president Paul Biya has often weighed in on team affairs, famously demanding that 38-year-old Roger Milla be included in the squad for the 1990 World Cup.

The veteran striker went on to score key goals as Cameroon became the first African country to reach the quarter-finals.

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Cameroon have qualified for eight World Cup tournaments, more than any other African country, making the Indomitable Lions one of the country’s major assets.

They are due to play the Cape Verde Islands in Yaounde on June 8 and Angola away three days later in their latest qualifying games for the 2026 finals in North America.

They beat Mauritius at home and drew away with Libya in their opening two Group D qualifiers last November under Rigobert Song, whose contract was not renewed after Cameroon went out in the last-16 at January’s Africa Cup of Nations final

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Governing Bodies

CAF looking for hosts for CAF Awards, Women Champions League and youth tournaments

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After eventually fixing dates for Africa Cup of Nations 2025 and the 2024 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Confederation of African Football still have major hurdles to scale.

The confederation is looking for hosts for the CAF Women’s Champions League, the U-17 and U-20 AFCON as well as the CAF Awards 2024. Morocco were the hosts for the last editions of the CAF Awards and Women’s Champions League. The confederation which opened the bids hopes to get possible responses by the time of the 46th CAF Ordinary General Assembly in Kinshasa, DR Congo on Thursday 10 October 2024.

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Governing Bodies

CAF Executive Committee to meet on Friday

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CAF President Motsepe Fails To Confirm Dates For 2025 AFCON -

Plunged with myriad of issues especially concerning regular fixtures of the Africa Cup of Nations 2025 as well as the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2024 both of which are to be held in Morocco, the  Confédération Africaine de Football CAF Executive Committee  will hold a virtual meeting on Friday.

It is expected that the congested fixtures occasioned by the women’s football event of the Paris 2024 Olympics as well as the enlarged FIFA Club World Cup 2025 will be discussed.

Till now,neither hosts nor period has been allocated for the Women’s Club Champions League which is supposed to be an annual event.

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Governing Bodies

Samuel Eto’o apologises and reinstates Cameroon coach Brys

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Former Cameroonian star forward and now football federation president Samuel Eto’o apologised Thursday to national team coach Marc Brys, with whom he had been involved in a heated exchange this week.

The ex-Barcelona striker also confirmed Brys would remain in his position after it was announced the Belgian was to be replaced as head coach of Cameroon on Wednesday.

“I apologise because during our first unfortunate meeting, there was a lot of emotion… but the Cameroonian people are more important than us, and it is for them that we must work,” said Eto’o at a press conference.

Eto’o was referring to an incident captured on video during his first meeting with Brys, which was widely shared on social media Tuesday.

The pair were seen to engage in a heated argument, before Brys left abruptly.

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“Your mission is not an easy one, despite your qualities and experience, but you should know that you will have our support,” added the two-time Africa Cup of Nations winner.

Brys was appointed to the role in April by Cameroon’s sport ministry, much to the astonishment of the country’s football federation (Fecafoot) and its president Eto’o wrote to the ministry to denounce its “illegal” appointment of the 62-year-old.

Fecafoot said it regretted not being involved “closely, nor remotely” in the selection process for the new coach and his staff.

Belgian Brys will now oversee Cameroon’s next two crucial matches in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, against Cape Verde on June 8 and Angola three days later.

-AFP

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