4, February 2024
Former Cameroon international and football icon Samuel Eto’o, currently serving as the president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) has become the center of a controversial incident involving another legendary figure of the Indomitable Lions, Geremi Njitap.
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast, already marred by controversies surrounding the Cameroonian team and their eventual elimination, witnessed a shocking event that has added fuel to the fire of existing unrest within the team.
According to Camfoot, Cameroonian squad’s journey in the tournament was beset with challenges both on and off the field.
Reports of discord and friction among team members, the coaching staff, and federation officials were rampant, leading to an atmosphere of uncertainty and tension.
Speculations about such issues began surfacing right after Cameroon’s opening match against Guinea.
However, these were initially dismissed as baseless rumors by the FECAFOOT secretary-general, who labeled them “fake news.”
The situation, however, took a dramatic turn during Cameroon’s final group game against The Gambia.
Following the team’s narrow 3-2 victory, which secured their spot in the round of 16, a series of events in the dressing room revealed the depth of the problems plaguing Cameroon’s football governance.
As various delegates took turns congratulating the players, it was Geremi Njitap’s turn, a former star for Chelsea and Real Madrid, that ignited the controversy.
Geremi’s attempt to address the team was abruptly halted when members of Eto’o’s security personnel intervened.
Geremi’s response to the security was defiant: “Go and tell the one who sent you to come and carry out his instructions himself. What is he afraid of?” This confrontation highlighted the growing rift between two of Cameroon’s most celebrated football figures.
The situation escalated when Etienne Tamo, the head of Eto’o’s security, reportedly issued a stark warning to Geremi: “I received firm instructions from the president of FECAFOOT. Geremi must not enter the locker room. If you take one more step, I will box [punch] you.”
This incident left players and onlookers in utter disbelief, exposing the extent of the internal discord.
The roots of this clash can be traced back to the differing roles and perspectives of Eto’o and Geremi in Cameroonian football.
Despite both players having made over 100 appearances for their country, their relationship soured due to Geremi’s outspoken criticism of Eto’o’s tenure as FECAFOOT president.
Source: Pulse Sports