“I will defend it with all my energy” – Eto’o vows as European clubs push for AFCON postponement

The newly elected President of the Cameroonian football federation, Samuel Eto’o has vowed to defend with his “last energy,” that the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) will take place in Cameroon as earlier scheduled. His comment was in direct response to the growing campaign by European clubs, pushing for the postponement of the tournament for a second time.

The clubs have written a letter to FIFA arguing out three points as justification for the proposed postponement. These include the protection of the interest of the clubs because of impending competitive matches. This is based on the fact that, some of these European clubs depend heavily on African players. They also cited covid as a reason linked to the “safety” of the players.

This position faced criticism from Eto’o who said he does not see a “convincing reason to postpone the Africa Cup of Nations. The Euro was played during the pandemic with full stadiums … “They played in many cities in Europe, so why shouldn’t we play in Cameroon? If some think we should postpone the tournament, they need to give a good reason.”

In his recent interview, Eto’o said he “Will defend with the last energy the holding of this African Cup of Nations […] we are very clear about our commitment to make [the Africa Cup of Nations] a success in Cameroon. […] We will all be present in Cameroon in a few weeks.”

Eto’o further accused those behind the campaign to postpone the tournament of discrimination against African. “Why is the Africa Cup of Nations not being played? Give me only one valid reason! Or, we are being treated, as we have always been treated: we are less than nothing and we must always suffer.”

CAF President, Patrice Motsepe has also clarified that, the tournament will be held as scheduled. “One can appreciate the extent of the commitments made to ensure that the problems raised over the past few days are resolved … We will organize this CAN, in partnership with the government of Cameroon, the people of Cameroon, CAF and the new president of the Cameroonian Federation, Samuel Eto’o. It will be a successful CAN, the most successful of all!” he said.

The African Cup of Nations which was scheduled to take place last year was marred by the pandemic, forcing the authorities to postpone it to January.

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