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Soccer News of Tuesday, 13 September 2022


Africans must defend timing of Nations Cup - Eto'o

Samuel Eto'o Samuel Eto'o

Former Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o has urged Africans to defend the scheduling of the Nations Cup.

The African Cup of Nations which is mostly held in the middle of the European season often results in disputes between African players and their clubs as the clubs are compelled to release their players for national assignment at the peak of the season.

An attempt by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to move the tournament from January-February to June-July when the European season is in recess didn't materialize.

After the Egypt 2019 edition was between June and July, the delayed 2021 version of the biennial tournament which was hosted by Cameroon earlier this year switched back to the default calendar.

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis in a recent interview stated categorically that the Italian club will not sign any African player going forward unless the said player agrees not to represent his country at the AFCON, a comment which was greeted with a barrage of backlash.

Eto'o, who had successful stints in Europe with Barcelona and Inter Milan believes it is important for Africans to rise up and defend the continent.

"We are Africans - nobody else can defend our continent better than ourselves," the ex-Indomitable Lions captain told BBC Sports Africa.

"Before the Nations Cup in Cameroon, I said that it's important to play in January-February, something that obviously didn't please some other people.

"But this is a fact in Africa. We have the rainy season in June, July, August, even early September in our continent. It's just a matter of getting on the same page with others and explaining things."

"I am rather happy to see children of this continent being aware that nobody else will defend our continent for us."

Eto'o won the Nations Cup twice with Cameroon.

The four-time African Footballer of the Year now serves as President of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot).