Samuel Eto’o Fils, one of Cameroon’s most venerated footballers came into office as the President of the country’s football governing body, FECAFOOT with promises to break away from the past. He would restore Cameroon football to its former days of glory, unite the Cameroonian people around the values of football, introduce transparency in the management of the Federation, and be accountable to the Cameroonian people.
“These are values I believe in,” says Jean Bruno Tagne, a journalist who campaigned alongside Eto’o, as his campaign manager.
“That is why I took up that role and campaigned for him,” he says.
Once in office, Samuel Eto’o has become a very controversial figure; he has multiplied diatribes and spectacular speeches against his predecessor, Seidou Mbombo Njoya whom he accuses of having embezzled funds, of having signed lucrative contracts in the dark.
Paradoxically, Eto’o himself went ahead to cancel a 2019 contract linking the French equipment manufacturer Le Coq Sportif and the Cameroon National Football Team, the Indomitable Lions. Eto’o replaced it with One All Sport.
Jean Bruno Tagne says Eto’o did this unilaterally.
“I do not know if there is a Cameroonian today who can say when this contract was signed, with whom it was signed, where it was signed and how much it is worth. All we hear is that the clauses are confidential.”
Tagne said such opacity does not tie in with his values and does not reflect the values on which Eto’o ran for President.
He said the FECAFOOT boss was gliding into autocracy, citing the fact that Eto’o had hardly been in office for a year that his General Assembly decided to modify the statutes of the FECAFOOT board from four years to seven years.
“There is an authoritarian glide that I can’t accept. I can’t support someone to become a tyrant or a dictator,” Tagne said.
“I can’t accept that because it’s contrary to my values,” he added.
He said it was embarrassing that Eto’o and his henchmen consider anyone who disagrees with the way the Federation is currently managed as one engaged in hate or jealousy.
“Criticizing Eto’o and the current FECAFOOT is now considered a declaration of war,” Tagne said.