Home » Cameroon: Embattled Eto’o engage in media intimidation amidst match-fixing scandal

Cameroon: Embattled Eto’o engage in media intimidation amidst match-fixing scandal

by Lesley Ngwa
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  • Samuel Eto’o has hired a special legal team to defend his image amidst the ongoing match-fixing scandal
  • The ex-Mallorca and Real Madrid forward has vowed to drag media organization to justice if need be
  • Eto’o is being investigated for conniving to cause the promotion of Victoria United FC to cause the promotion of Victoria United FC to Elite 1
  • The Cameroon police service is currently investigating concerned parties on the match-fixing network on instruction from the country’s presidency 

Samuel Eto’o Fils, the president of the Cameroon Football Federation (FECAFOOT) has issued a release threatening to sue media organizations and individuals who continue to make relevance of the allegations of his involvement in issues of match-fixing with officials of Victoria United FC.

Reports of Eto’o playing a major role in the alleged match arrangement scheme that hepled president Nkwain Valentine’s Victoria United FC graduate from the second tier of Cameroon football to the top-flight championship through the 2022/23 season surface this week after some football stakeholders wrote to FIFA and CAF to remind them of the need to take immediate actions against the 42-year-old ex-Barcelona and Inter Milan forward.

From every indication, the Eto’o camp didn’t take the accusations like every other criticism towards a public office occupant nor did they like the interest from the media.

On behalf of the former Everton finisher, Vey & Associe law firm hinted they could resort to legal actions.

“Samuel Eto’o has given us a mandate to take all legal recourse necessary to the preservation of its rights against people and media propagating false rumors about him,” the opening standza of the letter read.

It is the third in less than two years at the helm that Eto’o is threatening to sue the media – the Molina issue about players buying their way into the national team was also met by the reaction.

“Since his election as head of FECAFOOT, Eto’o has launched a series of sanitation reforms with the support of the vast majority of actors involved, both locally and internationally, as further demonstrated by the very favorable reception he received at the United Nations on September 25.”

The release attempted to put a finger on the cause of the backlash Eto’o is facing;

“Like any bold policy of change, it also gives rise to resistance from individuals ready to do anything to avoid losing their income from
corruption. For several months, these people have chosen to orchestrate a campaign of malicious attacks against Mr. Eto’o.”

Eto’o’s crew equally called out CAF because of their announcement an investigation against him last month.

“On August 9, false information knowingly spread by these individuals were relayed in a press release from the African Football Confederation

“This press release was distributed without any verification or compliance with the contradictory which is as surprising as it is harmful. More recently, this nuisance campaign took the form of an open letter addressed to the Presidents of FIFA and CAF, the defamatory content of which was widely reported by the media.”

“Beyond insulting comparisons and beyond remarks they make there, the signatories of this letter did not hesitate to resort to purely fanciful allegations against Mr. Eto’o with the aim of push him to resign,” they added.

The lawyers whose institution is appearing in the Cameroon football space also claimed information in the letter written to FIFA were manipulative and not all facts.

“Instrumentalizing certain facts, inventing others, these individuals try in vain to smear Mr. Eto’o in the stated hope of seeing him leave a position to which he yet was democratically elected on December 11, 2021.”

Eto’o became president of FECAFOOT two years ago, but now finds himself embroiled in controversy amid claims he has rigged matches. Allegations that he helped fix games in the Cameroonian second tier first arose in July following the leak of a supposed conversation between Eto’o and Valentine Nkwain, also known as Bobdidy, the president of Victoria United. However, Eto’o says he hasn’t been summoned about the matter.

“To date, Eto’o has never been summoned or notified of the existence of the any legal proceedings against him. In any event, if an investigation whatever were to be opened, Eto’o would have the vocation to constitute himself there as a victim and not as accused.

“With the determination that has always inhabited him, on the pitch as in his actions at the head of FECAFOOT, Mr. Eto’o intends to continue his fight for footballers and field players in Cameroonian and African football,” the legal team ended.

Whatever be the case, the Cameroonian police are now looking into alleged “abuse of authority and corruption” in a Cameroonian football match-fixing network involving 40 people.

Eto’o has been no stranger to controversy over the last year. At the World Cup in Qatar, a video on social media appeared to show him kneeing a man in the head outside Stadium 974 in Doha.

In addition, he has been criticized by a cross section of stakeholders for his aggressive approach and lack of tact in the process of implementation of policies at the Federation.

Greeted that Eto’o is innocent until proven guilty, it is safe to say he has the right to his defense before competent authorities while the media owe the public the access to verifiable information through this strange Cameroon football tale.

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