Lions AFCON poor outing: Eto’o stages resignation drama at FECAFOOT Executive meeting.

President of FECAFOOT, Samuel Eto’o Fils

The President of the Cameroon Football Federation, FECAFOOT, Samuel Eto’o Fils, is said to have staged what is now being described as a resignation drama. 

The country’s football governing body, in a release, said Executive Committee members rejected the 'resignation' of its president, Samuel Eto’o Fils.

FECAFOOT, in the statement signed by its Secretary General, Blaise Djounang, stated that the President of FECAFOOT, Samuel Eto’o Fils, had tabled his resignation to members of the Executive Committee on Monday February 5. 

That was during a committee session in Yaounde. Eto’o, the release claimed, asked members to do same during the session, but they objected. 

The FECAFOOT scribe, in the statement, went further to reveal that at the end of the session, members of the Executive Committee “unanimously rejected the President’s resignation, thereby renewing their confidence in him to continue with the same spirit of reconstruction and development of Cameroon football at all levels”. 

The FECAFOOT Executive Committee members met to evaluate the performance of the men’s national football team at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON.

Cameroon exited the Cote d’Ivoire tournament in the round of 16, after being eliminated by arch rivals, Nigeria. Indomitable Lions' poor showing at the competition stirred a lot of controversy and left tongues wagging.

Football pundits are now suggesting that the supposed resignation of Eto’o Fils, which never was, could have been a well-rehearsed staged drama intended to manipulate public opinion. 

The Member of Parliament, MP, Aboubakar Ibrahim, reacting to Eto’o’s wish to resign, said: “It’s a way of distracting people. You are voted by a General Assembly and you table your resignation to the Executive Committee”.

According to some football pundits, FECAFOOT is rather chasing the shadow. Since Cameroon was eliminated from the 2023 AFCON, the federation has not issued an official statement on the state of the national football team. 

Fans have also expressed concerns that no adequate measures have been mentioned by the federation to remedy such a debacle and avoid a repeat of such disastrous outing in future.

It is also muted that Song’s fate as the Lions manager was also reviewed, though no official statement about it has been made public.

Sources have however hinted that his contract may not be renewed, when it expires this month. 

Song’s appointment, sports analysts have stated, has not paid dividends. He has won just six of his 23 matches in charge of the lndomitahle Lions, with 8 draws and nine defeats. 


Questions raised over resignation

Observers have questioned the supposed rejected resignation of Samuel Eto’o. 

According to them, the FECAFOOT release did not mention the names of the Executive Committee members present during Monday’s meeting. 

Neither did it state whether Eto’o had formally presented his resignation letter before it was rejected or he merely voiced his wish.

Shortly after the release went viral, it is reported that the Fourth Vice President of FECAFOOT, Mbigha Felix, labelled the communiqué as “Fake”. 

A write-up by CRTV sports journalist, Rene Katche, published on his Facebook page, stated that according to Mbigha who was present during the meeting, no mention of Eto’o’s resignation was made during their deliberations.

Shockingly, the document, which Mbigha considers as fake news, is still on the FECAFOOT social media platforms.


Should Eto’o resign?

Football fans in the country are divided as to whether Eto’o should step down as FECAFOOT President or should continue to stir the affairs of the country’s football federation. 

Eto’o has come under heavy criticisms and is said to be investigated on issues linked to match-fixing, corruption as well as poor management.

Also, results of several national teams under his reign, since he became FECAFOOT boss in December 2021, are nothing to envy or write home about.

Poor results of national teams

Since taking over as FECAFOOT President, the men’s national football team has fallen down the perking order. Cameroon suffered a routine knockout stage exit at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite Eto’o’s repeated claims of their chances of winning the tournament.

The team also struggled to qualify for the 2023 AFCON, where they put up an aberrant shameful and chaotic outing. 

Eto’o has been accused of having an overriding influence on the senior men’s football national team, where it is alleged, he even dictates the choice of players for various competitions.

He is also said to play the role of coach at times with Rigobert Song and the other technical staff of the Lions relegated to the background.

There are claims that Eto’o has caused more division within the national team, which is affecting players and even the technical staff.

Apart from the Indomitable Lions, other selections, including the national women’s team, U23, U20, Intermediate Lions and even Cameroonian clubs in CAF competitions, aren’t faring well either. That is since Eto’o took over as FECAFOOT boss.


Alleged match-fixing, corruption, mismanagement

FECAFOOT President, Samuel Eto’o Fils, has also been embroiled in several scandals since taking over the FECAFOOT top job.

In August 2023, the Confederation of African Football, CAF, announced that investigations had been opened against Samuel Eto’o for ‘alleged improper conduct’.

In the report, CAF said it ‘received written statements from several Cameroonian football stakeholders to look into and investigate certain alleged improper conducts’ by Samuel Eto’o Fils".

The probe was announced a few weeks after the former Fourth Vice President of FECAFOOT, Henry Njalla Quan Jnr, opened the federation’s can of worms, accusing Eto’o Fils of match-fixing, mismanagement, and corruption.

Unfulfilled promises

Samuel Eto’o is said to have announced, after his election, that his administration will construct proximity stadiums in all 10 Regions of the country.

He had also promised to personally fund the construction of football stadia in some Regions of the country. 

However, no signs of works are being witnessed in most of the sites that were chosen to host these football facilities. 

In areas where work had started, the said construction are said to have been halted.


Success story

Players of the Cameroon domestic championship, especially those of the First and Second Division leagues, have been a priority for the Eto’o-led FECAFOOT administration.

Since his election to the top job, footballers and administrators are now enjoying a new lease of life. 

Players are now regularly paid considerate amounts, matches take place in well-constructed stadiums and are broadcast by State media.

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