Former Super Eagles captain, Sunday Oliseh
Former Nigeria captain, Sunday Oliseh has advised Cameroon not to make the same mistake that plunged Nigerian football into its present depths following reports of the long ban on Samuel Eto’O and his teammates.
Oliseh told SuperSport.com that “Cameroon is making the same mistake because at the time in 2002 when Nigeria toed the same path, there was no social media and for the most part, it was the version of the Football Association that was known to the public and the media. It's a lot different now and in time, a lot will emerge and the loser will be Cameroon football.”
“They have a precedent in front of them and they have to be smart about it. My advice is that they can still reverse the decision and try to find a way to unite the team and the country behind the tam because this will not serve to instil anything positive on the team.”
Oliseh pointed out that Samuel Eto’o is a model pro and a living legend and a pride to not only Cameroon but the entire continent for his uncommon patriotism which has seen him play for more than a decade at the highest level, so he believes that Eto’o cannot be unpatriotic overnight.
“You don’t ban a Legend for seven games. He is the most decorated player on the continent. They are doing themselves a disservice. Eto’o is still one of the best strikers in the world despite his recent move to Russia.”
He added that “Eto’o gave them respect by coming for the hearing personally to present his case and this was a sign for commitment. Even if he is wrong, there are a lot of less dramatic options to resolve it and a heavy fine would have been in order.
“Over the years, it has been very well documented and it’s no secret that Eto’o has been motivating his teammates with financial and other incentives including offering to buy them expensive wrist-watches if they qualified for the World cup at a time when they were hard-pressed.
“African football needs Cameroon and all the big teams to put their house in order to be able to mount a serious challenge at the next world cup after the recent failures at Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, made worse by their failure to even qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of nations.”
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Football Federation at the request of the Nigerian Sports Ministry banned several members of the Super eagles including then captain, Sunday Oliseh and vice-captain, Finidi George en-route the Korea-Japan 2002 World Cup after similar disagreements preceding and during the Mali 2002 Nations cup.