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Four-time African Footballer of the year, Eto’o retires from professional football4 min read

He is slated for a major role in the Confederation of African Football where he has vowed to fight corruption

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Cameroonian former footballer Samuel Eto'o holds the Africa Cup of Nations trophy

Cameroon’s four-time African Player of the Year Samuel Eto’o announced his retirement on Saturday at the age of 38, declaring “I need a rest”. “The end, towards a new challenge,” the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker posted on Instagram. “Thank you all, big love, adrenalin.”

“In a few months you’ll see me doing something new,” Eto’o, who has campaigned relentlessly against racism during his playing days, later said on the margins of an economic forum in DR Congo. “I need a rest, I’ve been running for 19-years,” he added light-heartedly in Kinshasa.

He stands alongside Liberia’s current president George Weah and Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba as a great of African sport and cuts a mythical figure in his homeland where he is close to national president Paul Biya.

Samuel Eto'o gives a press conference, on June 17, 2014
In this file photo taken on June 17, 2014, Cameroon’s forward and captain Samuel Eto’o gives a press conference, on June 17, 2014, in Manaus on the eve of their Group A match against Croatia at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. – Cameroon’s four-time African Player of the Year Samuel Eto’o announced his retirement on September 7, 2019, at the age of 38, declaring “I need a rest”. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP)

Pay Attention: FIFA bans ex-Nigeria football coach for match-fixing

He is slated for a major role in the Confederation of African Football where he has vowed to fight corruption to ensure funds go into infrastructure. CAF president Ahmed Ahmed says Eto’o would take up a key role in the African game. “Samual Eto’o will take charge of relations between the federations and CAF,” the Madagascan said last month.

The most memorable period of his club career includes five hugely successful seasons with Barcelona from 2004 to 2009. Despite an unfortunate knack for ruffling feathers, a return of 108 league goals from just 145 matches in five stunning seasons with Barcelona pays testament to his talent.

At his peak, he enjoyed electric pace, impeccable touch and instinctive shooting to make him one of the most feared centre-forwards in the world. He won a pair of Champions League titles and three La Liga crowns before departing under a cloud for Inter Milan after rowing with Ronaldinho leading to Pep Guardiola showing him the dressing room door.

He then spearheaded Jose Mourinho’s charge to a never to be forgotten treble with Inter of Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia titles in his first season in Italy. He led Cameroon to an impressive four World Cups in 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 and enjoyed huge success at the Africa Cup of Nations as the Indomitable Lions won in 2000 and 2002.

  • Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto'o arrives to attend a press conference after signing a one year contract to play for Qatar Sports Club
  • In this file photo taken on May 27, 2009 Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o runs with the ball during the UEFA football Champions League final
  • Chelsea's Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto'o runs with the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match
  • Cameroon and Antalyaspor forward Samuel Eto'o waves during the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony
  • Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto'o attends his presentation after signing a one year contract to play for Qatar Sports Club
  • Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o (C) arrives on Goree Island off the coast of Dakar on January 7, 2019, ahead of the CAF 2018 awards

Read: Eto’o appointed Qatar 2022 Ambassador

He was part of a golden generation that featured Rigobert Song, the late Marc-Vivien Foe and Geremi as Cameroon also won the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, with the emerging Eto’o both scoring and converting a penalty in the shoot-out win over Spain in front of a blockbuster 114,000 crowd.

His pace left him as his career slowed down with low stints at Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea and Everton in the Premier League. Last year, after a short spell with Turkish side Konyaspor, he joined Qatar league side, Qatar Sports Club, his last club.

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East Africa Sports News

Kenya set to host second Copa Coca-Cola Africa Cup

The teams will play a total of 20 matches with the best two teams in each group qualifying for the quarterfinals and knock-out stages

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Kenya set to host second Copa Coca-Cola Africa Cup

The second edition of the COPA Coca-Cola Africa Cup is set to take place in Thika, Kenya from December 2-5, 2019. The hosts and the inaugural champions, Kenya, will seek to defend their 2018 title, won at the games held in Nakuru, Kenya. The country claimed both the boys’ and girls’ titles last year.

The tournament format comprises twelve teams and four groups. The participating teams in 2019 include Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Namibia and the hosts, Kenya.

The teams will play a total of 20 matches with the best two teams in each group qualifying for the quarterfinals and knock-out matches, thereafter.

According to Coca-Cola, more than 500,000 teens across Africa aged 13-15 take part in domestic Copa Coca-Cola tournaments each year and is a showcase of skills and talent aimed at developing young footballers into the next generation of soccer stars.

“The COPA Africa Cup is a platform that will go a long way in ensuring the students are the next generation of soccer stars. The array of stars the tournament has provided to the national football teams of the participating teams is a testament of the crucial nature of the games,” said Mr. Evanson Ndungu, Coca-Cola Marketing Manager, The Coca-Cola Company, Kenya.

The COPA Coca Cola tournaments have a rich history on the continent. Since its inception in Zimbabwe in 1989, it has traversed continents and grown to become a global grassroots football initiative for young people.

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Springboks celebrate World Cup victory at legendary Mandela site

The Springboks’ final stop on their victory tour pounded home the message of unity in a country still nursing the wounds of apartheid

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South Africa’s rugby stars on Monday hoisted the World Cup before thousands of ecstatic fans at Cape Town’s City Hall, where Nelson Mandela made his first speech after his release from prison.

The Springboks’ final stop on their victory tour pounded home the message of unity in a country still nursing the wounds of apartheid a quarter-century after its end.

“Look how we are all different, different races, different backgrounds, and we came together for South and we made it happen,” Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first black Test captain, told thousands of fans.

“I’m saying to you today, just take a look around you, there is different races, different people with different backgrounds, but look how you are making it special for us.”

“It’s time for us South Africans to stop fighting, to stop arguing… and move forward as a country,” he said, to wild applause from fans in the vast square. 

It was in that same square in front of City Hall on February 11, 1990, that Nelson Mandela spoke to euphoric crowds hours after his release from 27 years in prison.

That was Mandela’s first major speech as a free man and a key moment in South Africa’s rebirth as white-minority rule crumbled.

The Springboks beat England 32-12 victory against England in Japan on November 2, earning their third world crown in rugby’s paramount tournament.

But this team broke new ground, being the most racially-mixed in a national sport which was once the preserve of the white elite.

‘Reach for the stars’

Earlier Monday, the Springboks visited anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who sported a green Springbok jersey.

“What this group of youngsters has achieved speaks, beyond rugby, to the possibility of what we can be. No matter where we come from, if we reach for the stars, we can actually touch them,” said Tutu in a statement.

Dwarfed by most of the squad, Tutu appeared particularly impressed by Trevor Nyakane and Tendai Mtawarira’s size — while scrum-half Faf de Klerk gave the archbishop a glimpse of his “famously patriotic underwear he revealed to Prince Harry after winning the cup” eight days earlier, said the statement.

The Springbok also met lawmakers outside the parliament building.

The speaker of the legislature, Thandi Modise, told the triumphant squad: “You have enabled South Africa to recall who we are”.

“You have again made us able to forget our racial tensions, to forget the gender-based violence and to focus on that which makes us great as South Africa.”

She urged them to “continue to unite this country.”

“If politics fails, our fallback is sports, because there… we understand the rules of the game, we understand who and what makes us a people,” Modise said

In a brief response to the members of parliament building, Kolisi said “we hope that we make you proud and we hope that we have inspired you”.

Team members wore yellow T-shirts with inscription “stronger together”. 

Three decades ago, the Springboks were widely viewed as a pawn or a symbol of the white-minority apartheid regime.

Their victorious homecoming tour, aboard an open-topped bus has taken them to Soweto, a township near Johannesburg where they were once reviled, and to the seat of government in Pretoria where they met President Cyril Ramaphosa.

They also took the trophy to Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, Kolisi’s home town.

Throughout the tour, thousands of South Africans, from all backgrounds, have come out to cheer the national team.

WATCH: Springboks Victory Parade and Siya Kolisi’s ‘Unity Speech’

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Court in Nigeria drops corruption case against FA boss, 4 others

The football bosses had been facing a raft of accusations including over the alleged theft of $8.4 million paid by FIFA

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Court in Nigeria drops corruption case against FA bosses

A Nigerian court on Tuesday dropped a high-profile corruption case against football federation President Amaju Pinnick and four top officials after the authorities withdrew the charges. 

The football bosses had been facing a raft of accusations including over the alleged theft of $8.4 million paid by FIFA for Nigeria’s participation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Judge Ijeoma Ojukwu said she had “no choice” but to order the case ditched after the prosecution asked to drop some of the charges. 

READ: Anti-graft agency seizes NFF chiefs’ properties in Nigeria

The government in September dissolved the anti-corruption agency prosecuting the case over its own graft scandal.

The case had been repeatedly adjourned since the football officials were charged in May as they failed to answer summons to appear in court. 

The ruling on Tuesday is not the end of Pinnick’s troubles as he is facing another potential trial for graft. 

Last month, the authorities seized a dozen properties from senior officials of Nigeria’s top football body, including Pinnick, in a fresh corruption probe.

READ: Nigerian court orders arrest of four embattled FA officials

Anti-graft agents took over 12 properties — half belonging to Pinnick, including a property in London — in the latest investigation to target senior football bosses.

Pinnick has remained at the helm of Nigeria’s football governing body despite the graft allegations.

He was sacked as Vice-President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in July.

READ: Nigeria FA officials charged with corruption

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