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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Match-fixing allegations complete a week filled with scandal for Samuel Eto’o

It has been an eventful month in the worst possible way for Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) president and national icon Samuel Eto’o. At the beginning of the month Henri Njalla Quan, a club owner and vice president of FECAFOOT, was unceremoniously dismissed by Eto’o due to accusations of “usurpation of office and corruption” concerning the influencing of referees in a Cameroonian regional division overseen by Njalla Quan. The resulting aftermath saw Njalla Quan  forced to withdraw the club he owned from competing in Cameroonian football and also fined 10 million FCFA (about $17,000).

Njalla Quan hosted an explosive press conference where he accused Eto’o of unilaterally changing the term limits of the FECAFOOT presidency from four to seven years and also accused him of using his influence to harass Njalla Quan by having him followed. The former vice president called out Eto’o for “stifling the stars of the national team” and having a domineering influence on the affairs of the Cameroon men’s national side by being present at all team activities. An example Njalla Quan cited was the exile of former national team goalkeeper André Onana who retired from the Indomitable Lions after a dispute led to him leaving the team during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Now at the end of this week yet another accusation has come out against Eto’o regarding match fixing with allegations that are ironically similar to the ones levied against Njalla Quan. Cameroonian football news outlet Camfoot published the transcript from a conversation between Eto’o and a president of Cameroonian second tier club Victoria United named Valentine Gwain indicating that Eto’o and Gwain conspired to get Victoria United promoted by influencing the referees.

The recorded conversation was from the beginning of 2023 when Gwain contacted Eto’o after a refereeing decision went against Victoria United in a defeat back in December 2022. Eto’o promised to have the referee suspended and three points awarded to Victoria United while also discussing ways to meet with Gwain discreetly to avoid unwanted attention. Victoria United did gain promotion to the top tier of Cameroonian football following the season.