Samuel Eto’o, legend of world football and current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation, received last week the French international William Saliba, born to a Cameroonian mother. He took the opportunity to express regret for the world champion and captain of the Blues Kylian Mbappé.
“I always have a lot of regret when I receive players of this level who play for other nations. Imagine for a moment if our national team had players like Saliba, Mbappe, (Gerzino) Nyamsi and (Evan) Ndicka. You can imagine the level we must have had. This forces us to work at the local level” thus declared the former goleador of Barça, in a statement to the media at the end of this meeting.
The Cameroon team, currently 42nd in the FIFA rankings, is regularly present in major competitions. At the last CAN, in 2021, she won the bronze medal at home. At the World Cup last winter, she was eliminated in the first round despite a notable victory against Brazil (1-0) in the first game. But it is true that it could be even more successful if it could count more dual nationals in its ranks, in particular those cited by Samuel Eto’o.
William Saliba 🤝 Samuel Eto’o this week. 🇨🇲
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) May 19, 2023
Regrets to qualify
Although the contribution of binational players such as Saliba, Mbappé, Nyamsi and Ndicka could have strengthened the national team, it is essential to highlight the work of development and talent detection at the local level. Cameroonian football has a solid training structure which continues year after year to produce talented players ready to defend the colors of their country.
It is also important to qualify the regrets expressed by the former gunner of the Indomitable Lions (118 selections, 56 goals) because the players mentioned did not necessarily grow up in the country and their choice to represent another nation can be motivated by a set of personal factors such as sporting opportunities, family ties, individual aspirations and personal circumstances. Each player has his own story and his own reasons for choosing to represent one selection rather than another.