Cameroon's government is
monitoring the situation after the decision by the country's
football federation to suspend captain Samuel Eto'o for 15
The punishment, handed down on Friday after the federation
said Eto'o had persuaded team mates not to travel to Algeria
last month for a friendly, has led to widespread criticism in
the football-mad central African country.
Sports minister Adoum Garoua issued a statement calling for
calm and said the government was looking at the possibility of
bringing the various parties together.
Cameroon vice-captain Enoh Eyong was also banned for two
games for his part in the strike that led to the game in Algiers
being called off.
Former Cameroon international Roger Milla was among those to
criticise the country's football federation.
"It is very shocking and a disaster that a key player like
Eto'o be banned from the national team for 15 matches," said
Milla, who played in three World Cups.
"This effectively means a three-year ban, which is bad for
Eto'o, who is 30-years-old, and could result in his early
retirement from international football.
"Why should they inflict such a heavy punishment on one
player when it is the entire national squad that took the
decision? This is not fair," added the striker.
The president of the Cameroon footballers' trade union David
Mayebi described the sanction as "too harsh", and suggested to
reporters his organisation would consider possible action to
force a lifting of the ban.
"A player like Eto'o has done so much for our national
football team. If the federation does not go back on the
decision, we think the government should take strong action
against them," he said.
"We cannot sit back with our arms folded and watch the
federation destroy our national squad."
Mayebi said Cameroon had no chance of making it through the
2014 World Cup qualifiers starting in June without Eto'o,
four-times African Footballer of the Year.
But the federation's secretary general Sidiki Tombi a Roko
thought Eto'o's punishment was merited.
"Samuel Eto'o incited the national team not to travel to
Algeria and said he was ready to assume full responsibility for
any action that was taken," said Tombi a Roko.
The players were upset because they said they had not
received money promised for their appearance in a four-nation
tournament held in Morocco the previous weekend but Tombi a Roko
said his federation had never promised to pay any bonus money.
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