[CAMEROON] There's a reason no African team has won the World Cup. Meddling is commonplace, as evidenced by former Cameroonian star Roger Milla's claim that the Indomitable Lions' current star, Samuel Eto'o, has done nothing for the national team.
The exchange between Milla and Eto'o became an affair of state.
The Cameroonian government sent its minister of sport to calm Eto'o, who threatened to pull out of the World Cup.
The Cameroonian soccer federation pleaded for unity.
"Following statements made in the media by some major figures of our soccer disturb the serenity of our national team, the Cameroon soccer federation invites the public to remain united around the athletes of the Indomitable Lions," said Cameroon federation president Iya Mohammed on Sunday.
It's only the latest episode in a long history of internal problems that have beset Cameroon and involved Milla.
Milla has often worked behind the scenes to get coaches hired or fired, most recently German Otto Pfister. Nor are Milla's remarks critical of the national team and its players anything new. He blamed the problems during the Pfister era on Eto'o and other veterans Idriss Kameni, Geremi Njitap and Rigobert Song -- the so-called 1984 club for their numbers.
Milla became an international celebrity when he scored four goals for Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup, where it reached the quarterfinals, and became the oldest player to score a goal at the World Cup four years later at the age of 42.
Milla said that Eto’o had “brought lots to Barcelona and Inter Milan but never anything to the Cameroon team.”
Eto'o laid into Milla for his comments.
“People should respect me and they must shut up, really shut up, because playing in the World Cup quarterfinals is not the same as winning the World Cup,” he said. “It is always before tournaments that bitter people wake up."
Eto'o added that he didn't need the grief and threatened to sit out the World Cup.
He was finally included in French coach Paul Le Guen's squad for the World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Guy Roland Ndy Assembe (Valenciennes), Carlos Kameni (Espanyol), Hamidou Souleymanou (Kayserispor).
Defenders: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham), Sebastien Bassong (Tottenham), Gaetan Bong (Valenciennes), Aurelien Chedjou (Lille), Geremi (Ankaragucu), Stephane Mbia (Marseille), Nicolas Nkoulou (Monaco), Rigobert Song (Trabzonspor).
Midfielders: Achille Emana (Real Betis), Eyong Enoh (Ajax), Jean Makoun (Lyon), Georges Mandjeck (Kaiserslautern), Joel Matip (Schalke 04), Landry Nguemo (Celtic), Alex Song (Arsenal).
Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Coton Sport), Eric Choupo-Moting (Nuremberg), Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan), Mohamadou Idrissou (Freiburg), Achille Webo (Real Mallorca).