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Cameroon team 'amateur' says striking striker

HE CAN PLAY: Eto'o fights for the ball in the Russian league, but won't play for his country

FORMER BARCELONA and Inter striker Samuel Eto’o has refused to play for his national side Cameroon. The 31-year-old, who earns his salary at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, was called up to the Cameroon squad. In September the west African country are to play their African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Cape Verde Islands.

The African footballer’s rejection was due to his perception of the Cameroon Football Federation’s (CFF) “amateurism and poor organisation”.

If Eto’o were to take part, it would be his first international match since the CFF sanctioned an eight-month playing ban upon the forward for his role in a player strike regarding unpaid bonuses.

Cameroon’s coach Denis Lavagne expressed his exasperation to Jeune Afrique: “I counted on him after his eight-month suspension. He would make us better because he has huge talent. I'm surprised, but I have no choice but to take note of his refusal.”

In Eto’o’s absence, Sparta Prague forward Leonard Kweuke will get the nod to be in the squad.

Eto’o, reportedly earning £18 million per year at Anzhi Makhachkala, claims his apparent boycott is motivated to improve conditions for Cameroonian footballers, and further the chances of future generations.

The player issued an open letter on his official website to explain his logic in not playing. It read: “Our national team continues to dwell in an environment characterised by amateurism and poor organisation not compatible with professional sports.

“I doubt if supporters of the Indomitable Lions will understand my move aimed at attracting attention to the imperative necessity to make the team professional. The team is a veritable institution that has contributed much to the nation and from which much is still expected.”

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