Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Samuel Eto'o: glory and disappointments of the King builder

At 38, Samuel Eto'o is still playing football turf, now under the colors of Qatar SC. Sometimes considered egocentric by his outspokenness or his behavior in the field, the Cameroonian seems to show a completely different face outside as evidenced by the foundation that bears his name, created in 2006. Attached to the African continent, it uses its means and its influence to help Africa develop.Through his social commitment, the former Barca shows that he is "my only jugador".

The Samuel Eto'o Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates primarily in West Africa. Its mission is to help and care for the youth, present in this region of the world where living conditions are precarious. Indeed, education is often expensive and the lack of transport does not facilitate access. Sending your children to school is also a choice since it forces families to do without their child's workforce. It is to answer this problem that the Eto'o Foundation has opened several "Fundesport" training centers in Cameroon and another in Gabon to offer disadvantaged young people a free education, focused on both sport and sport. school. The organization did not want to leave anyone on the way as its actions in favor of the mentally handicapped and orphans testify.

A social action above all, to respond to the urgency of the situation

When we take stock of these 13 years of activity, it is clear that the results are at the rendezvous. Beyond the sports field, it is thousands of young Africans who have had the opportunity to develop socially, culturally through the work of the Foundation. Knowing that not everyone can become a professional sportsman, the Foundation ensures their professional integration by offering 80 scholarships each year to the best students of the University of Yaounde II. This makes it possible to encourage Cameroonian youth to emancipate themselves in studies, when sport has taken a back seat. For this, computer equipment has been brought for example thanks to the donations received by the Cameroonian organization. In addition, many children were treated, which was in some cases impossible before the creation of the Foundation.

To return to football, the training centers from the Eto'o Foundation offer free training in infrastructures including a reception center and a school also free. The leitmotif of these centers is to make everyone important and necessary whether on school benches or on the green rectangle. Each year, competitions are organized between the centers and the best are retained to participate in international tournaments, including those organized by Barça, the former Eto'o club.

The selection criteria are based on both the sports field and the school field to infuse that one does not go without the other. Twenty young Africans joined the ranks of FC Barcelona, ​​RCD Mallorca, Club Penya Esportiva Ciutadella, Gimnàstic de Tarragona and Torre Levante. Samuel Eto'o has thus fructified his relations acquired during his football career in Spain to create partnerships between his centers and Spanish clubs. Here again with the watchword of a permanent follow-up in the education of these young people.

The models Onana & Ondoa

The insertion initially wanted in Cameroon land has therefore moved to Spain where several players have been revealed. We can cite André Onana, trained at the Masia and today semi-finalist of the Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam or Fabrice Ondoa, Cameroon's keeper at the CAN winner in 2017. The latter is the example The same goes for the process set up by the Foundation since, after having made tournaments with the Yaoundé selection, it participated in international tournaments with the Fundesport selection. He was then spotted at a tournament in the Basque Country by Atletico Madrid and Barça before opting for the Catalan formation. In the Masia, he was able to benefit from an easy integration with the presence of several players already from Fundesport. Ondoa also recalled in an interview the help and follow-up provided by the Samuel Eto'o always present to help young people from his center in their adaptation to European life.

Nevertheless, the case of Ondoa also shows that the hardest thing remains to be done once in Europe. Despite the expectations placed in him at the Masia, he had to leave Barça against the advice of his leadership to be able to claim a place in the national team. He went to Tarragona in the Spanish D3, where he had a good season but wanted to see bigger after having reached the highest level during his Barcelona years. He joined the reserve Sevilla FC in 2017, which does not make him feel confident despite his good performance during the CAN. He decided to join Belgium and KV Ostende in the summer of 2018. There, the Cameroonian keeper realized with his club a half-hearted season with a sad 14th place out of 16 in the league but a beautiful course in national cup with a semifinal in the key. Clarence Seedorf, coach of the Indomitable Lions, nevertheless trusted him to include him in his list of 23 for CAN 2019 where he will face the competition of Kameni and ... Onana, another friend of the Eto'o Foundation.

Even if the career of the two Cameroonian goalkeepers seem to be on the right track, this is not the case for some of their companions who have joined Europe but are currently vegetating in the lower divisions in Spain or in obscure championships. Jean-Marie Dongou, passed by Barça and presented as the future Samuel Eto'o is currently on loan by Lugo CD (Spanish D2) Lleida Esportiu (Spanish D3) where he struggles to win. Samuel Eto plays Finnish D1 at FC Lahti and Armand Ella in the Ukrainian D2 at FK Inhulets. Others have even disappeared from the radars like Olivier Moussima, Bako, Tandasi Fombutu, Aboubakar Camara, Son Paul Tina Tina Patrice Sousia or Yannick Adamu. The next generation will come from 19-year-old Nelson Mandela Mbouhom, who is performing well with young people at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Conflicts of political interests harmful to the objectives of the Foundation

But some areas of shadows have tarnished the record of the Eto'o Foundation. In an investigation conducted by FIFA, FC Barcelona was convicted in 2014 of offenses relating to the transfer rules of minor players. Some of these players came from the Fundesport. This call to order has forced the Foundation and the Barcelona club to slow down their partnership. Suspicions of fraud have also been pointed at the finger, leaders of the Cameroonian organization would have directly received sums, up to 90 000 euros, from FC Barcelona for these transfers.

Moreover, the political situation in Cameroon, somewhat unstable, has slowed the growth of the activities of the former Interiste in his country. Mixed with a fight of interests within the central power, Samuel Eto'o could not as he wanted to develop his centers in Cameroon. This is why it opened in 2012, a training center in Gabon. Even if a presidential decree came to recognize its Foundation as public utility, Eto'o intends to make its aura and its investment in other African countries benefit from the image of its center project in Ivory Coast. This desire for expansion is reflected in his words, which wants to help Africa "to win a World Cup". Finally, whether on or off the field, Samuel Eto'o does not hide, takes responsibility and loves major challenges.

Source: furialiga.fr