Cameroon in chaos as Eto’o accused of “treason”
Disputes between players and the Cameroonian football federation caused the squad to delay its departure to Brazil by almost 24 hours, reports The Independent.
The team also caused major controversy by appearing to refuse to accept a symbolic national flag from the country’s prime minister Philémon Yang. This action caused local daily newspaper Mutations to ask: “which country do Eto’o and his comrades represent if they go to Brazil having refused to accept this country’s most precious symbol, its flag?”
The Indomitable Lions’ German coach Volker Finke accepted the flag on the team’s behalf, and according to Sky Sports he has now sought to make light of the difficulties, confirming: "We have found a solution, and that is the most important thing. From my point of view, I see a team that is working very hard. For everything else, I say we have to step back and respect their ways.”
However, many others may not be so forgiving, with public opinion said to be turning against striker Samuel Eto’o, currently a free agent having recently been released by Chelsea, and his team mates. Joseph Owona, acting president of the Cameroon football federation said of the flag incident: “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.”
Eto’o’s influence on team affairs has been the source of controversy in the past, with pre-tournament disputes with the federation a regular feature of Cameroon’s past participation.
On the field, they face Mexico in their opening World Cup game today, and have been boosted by the news that Eto’o and influential midfielder Stephane M’Bia are fit and available for action.
Cameroon failed to collect a single point in exiting the 2010 World Cup at the group stage, and will hope for better this time.
Marseille defender Nicolas N'Koulou admitted: "We totally failed in 2010, but things are different now. We're a cohesive group and have a good mix of experience with some younger players. We're like a family. We're in good spirits and determined to give it everything to make the nation proud."
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