“JI will remember this day with pride ”, reacted Samuel Eto’o on his Twitter account followed by more than 1.5 million subscribers. Long superstar of African football, Samuel Eto’o will start a new life: the former scorer of the Indomitable Lions was elected on Saturday 11 December president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot). The 40-year-old former FC Barcelona and Inter Milan player beat Seidou Mbombo Njoya, outgoing president who was acting at the head of Fecafoot. He was elected in 2018, but his election, contested by several Cameroonian football players, was canceled in mid-January by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Of the 74 votes of the members of the federation, 43 went to Eto’o, a very popular figure in his country, against 31 for the outgoing president.
An election that opposed four candidates
A total of seven candidates had declared themselves, but three of them withdrew a few days before the poll, supporting Samuel Eto’o, AFP said. At the announcement of his appointment in a hotel in Yaoundé, the 2000 Olympic champion and two-time winner of the African Cup of Nations with Cameroon exulted, raising his arms to the sky, according to images from CRTV, the television of State, while many of its supporters shouted their joy.
A candidacy against corruption
When submitting his candidacy, on November 17, Samuel Eto’o, also passed through Chelsea and Real Madrid before hanging up his crampons in 2019, assured that he would be the next president of Fecafoot “despite the cheating”. The two-time Champions League winner with Barça had explained that the outgoing team had offered him the post of vice-president, a position he had refused. “It is time to start the reconstruction of our football,” said the former international, focusing his campaign in particular on the development of women’s football in Cameroon or even the fight against corruption. In 2018, Eto’o had supported the candidacy of Seidou Mbombo Njoya but had subsequently expressed his “disappointment”: the promises made three years ago by the current president “seemed to me worthy of interest for the future of our country ”, he had justified himself.
Eto’o congratulated and supported by football stars
In the meantime, he was congratulated by Didier Drogba, himself a former Ivorian and African football star, who is currently running for the presidency of the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF).
Former Cameroonian legend Roger Milla had supported him, as, in a short message posted on social networks, superstar Lionel Messi, his former teammate in Barcelona.
Eto’o facing major challenges
“Samuel Eto’o will have many challenges to meet, in particular restoring the image of Fecafoot after corruption scandals”, underlines Émile Zola Ndé Tchoussi, journalist and specialist in Cameroonian football, interviewed by AFP. The outgoing president, Seidou Mbombo Njoya, took note of his defeat and congratulated on Twitter Samuel Eto’o, to whom he “wished every success”. The new president of Fecafoot already has a major appointment on his agenda: in less than a month, Cameroon will host the final phase of the African Cup of Nations from January 9 to February 7, 2022.