Thursday Oct 17, 2019. 19:00
Etienne Eto’o’s dreams of representing Cameroon at the 2019 FIFA Under-17 World Cup have hit a major snag over an obscure presidential decree from five years ago that has resurfaced.
The Spanish-born son of Indomitable Lions great Samuel Eto’o plays for Real Mallorca, but was called into the preliminary squad for the World Cup by coach Thomas Libiih, along with five other players based outside of Cameroon’s borders.
He had spoken from training of his joy at potentially being part of the team at the finals in Brazil, but there remains a question over whether he is eligible.
That is because there remains in place a 2014 decree from the country’s President Paul Biya that says only players who take part in competitions organised by the national association, FECAFOOT, are eligible for the Under-17 side, effectively excusing any player who is based outside the country.
The others effected are Enzo Tchato (Montpellier), Aurel Tiki Joel (Lyon), Jordan Konango (Monaco), Dani Barel Fotso (Roma) and Bryan Djile Nokoue (St Etienne).
Samuel Eto’o and Biya are very close friends, so there remains the possibility of an exception being made, but with the tournament starting in nine days, something would have to happen soon.