Eto'o calls for restructuring of women's football in Cameroon

By Njie EnowFootball Writer, Egypt
Samuel Eto'o
Eto'o played for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea, among others

Cameroon legend Samuel Eto'o says a competitive domestic championship must be established in his country for the national women's team to progress to the latter stages at future World Cups.

The Indomitable Lionesses went out of the 2019 World Cup in France in the round of 16, losing 3-0 to England in a controversial match and falling short of their last-eight target.

Eto'o was in the stands as Cameroon departed France 2019 and he believes their exit must now herald big changes to the women's game in his country.

"The girls were exceptional in France, they played well and made many Cameroonians proud" Eto'o told BBC Sport.

"One thing we saw is there is room for improvement. But for this to happen, we need to restructure the way women's football is run in Cameroon. We have to organise a good and competitive championship. There's also need for more investment.

Cameroon's women lost 3-0 to England in a controversial match at the ongoing Women's World Cup in France

"We need to sit down and reflect on the problems plaguing the sport in the country and come up with appropriate solutions," said Eto'o the four-time African Footballer of the Year.

This year's Women's World Cup final will be contested by USA and the Netherlands, with the Dutch side making the final for the first time.

It is a big contrast to Cameroon's exit from the global showpiece event. The reaction of Cameroon's players during their defeat to England is now being looked at by football's world governing body Fifa.

But 38-year-old Eto'o says there must be a strong resolve from football authorities in his country to improve the women's game in Cameroon.

"These ladies give us reasons to believe and be excited with their wonderful performances. I've spoken with Fecafoot's president Seidou Mbombo Njoya and I mentioned to him that this is something that can be done.

"It is possible to have a very good women's league in Cameroon. All that we need is good organisation and a concerted effort from administrators."

Samuel Eto'o
Cameroon's all time leading goal scorer Samuel Eto'o in action during the 2014 Fifa World Cup

Eto'o, Cameroon's leading goal-scorer with 56 goals in 118 appearances, is one of seven ambassadors of the ongoing maiden 24-team Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

The tournament's all-time top goal-scorer, Eto'o has backed the Indomitable Lions to retain their crown and secure a sixth continental trophy.

Cameroon continue the defence of their title on Saturday when they play Nigeria in the last-16.

The Qatar SC striker, who won the Nations Cup twice in 2000 and 2002, believes the Indomitable Lions coach Clarence Seedorf and his players have what it takes to extend their continental domination.

"I had the privilege to play for Cameroon and whenever I can, I try to watch games of the national team because for me it's always a joyful meeting," Eto'o said after meeting with the defending African champions in Ismailia.

"I am waiting for another Afcon win. We have a good team with experienced technical staff. Obviously we can only hope that the team gets to the final but this is football and a lot can happen along the line."

The second most capped player for Cameroon, Eto'o featured in six Nations Cups from 2000 to 2010, winning the event twice in 2000 and 2002.

The former Inter Milan player scored three goals in four World Cups from 1998 to 2014 in a 16-year career.

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