Official candidate for the presidency of Fecafoot, Samuel Eto'o sees his main competitor, Seidou Mbombo Njoya, blocking his path. The chances of being elected are very slim for the ex-Indomitable Lion.
Two months after having announced that he was running for the presidency of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot), Samuel Eto'o formalized his candidacy last Wednesday. Former captain of the Indomitable Lions, the selection of Cameroon, the ex-footballer enjoys a certain aura in the middle of the round ball. But between the lawns of the stadiums and the offices of Fecafoot, there is a gap. That Eto'o hopes to cross. But is he even likely to gain political support?
To say the least, however, Eto'o is as determined as he is on the pitch. Already, the former Barcelonan says he wants to "start the reconstruction of our football". The ex-footballer told future voters his “love of Cameroon”.
A battle between ex-allies
The election of the new president of Fecafoot is scheduled for next December, just a few days before the African Cup of Nations (CAN), which will take place in Cameroon between January 9 and February 7, 2022.
The campaign is starting off with a bang. Samuel Eto'o has also found his favorite target: the current president of Fecafoot, Seidou Mbombo Njoya. Eto'o is "disappointed" with the latter's mandate. Among the charges against the interim president of Fecafoot, the national championships. Because of a conflict with the president of the League, Pierre Semengue, the Cameroonian competitions are at a standstill: justice has not yet decided on the approval of the final result of the last championship. On the financial side, Seidou Mbombo Njoya is also in the eye of the storm: the president has, in just five years, spent 930 million CFA francs (nearly 1,5 million euros) on the various trials involving Fecafoot .
And if Seidou Mbombo Njoya is contested - his election was annulled last January by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after being elected in December 2018 - at the national level, he enjoys support at the international level. Especially from FIFA, which kept him temporarily at the head of Fecafoot. He is also a member of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and maintains good relations with the current president, Patrice Motsepe.
FIFA and CAF do not support Eto'o
As for the Cameroonian presidency, it has also made its choice. If Samuel Eto'o supported Paul Biya and the president of Cameroon likes the player, he seems to have sided with Seidou Mbombo Njoya. Biya had already slowed down Eto'o's enthusiasm, when the latter wanted to run for the presidency of CAF. For his part, the current president of Fecafoot obtained the support of the ruling party, the Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People (RDPC) and of the opposition in 2018.
Still, Samuel Eto'o does not intend to let it go, although he seems today to be in a weak position. After having supported his future rival, Eto'o claims to have joined "the opposite camp", which he openly threatens. "I will be the next president of the federation despite all the cheating," he warns.
Except that the dice seem loaded. And that ex-footballers sometimes find it difficult to take the reins of national authorities. Even if Eto'o can boast of having the support of his ex-teammates. This was the case for Joseph Antoine Bell in 2018, struck down by Seidou Mbombo Njoya. Like Didier Drogba in Côte d'Ivoire, despite his popularity, Eto'o sees the road to the presidency of Fecafoot completely blocked. There was even talk, in the middle of the year, of banning him from running by providing for an electoral law refusing the candidacies of binationals or people who have not lived in recent years on Cameroonian territory.
After having done everything to remove the former secretary general of the body, Didier Banlock, by filing a complaint against him, Seidou Mbombo Njoya intends to win the game against Samuel Eto'o. The son of Sultan Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, ruler of the Bamoun people in western Cameroon, will do everything possible to finish first in the election. A month and a half before CAN, the atmosphere within Cameroonian football authorities is tense. And in December, the election is also likely to take place under high tension ...