Yaounde — The Confederation of African Football, CAF, is investigating accusations of inappropriate conduct by the president of the Cameroon football federation, Samuel Eto’o Fils.
CAF said in a press release it had received reports of alleged inappropriate conduct by Eto’o, four-time African footballer of the year, by “stakeholders” from Fecafoot, Cameroon’s football federation.
The continental football governing body did not provide details of the alleged offences, but desribed them as serious.
It added that Eto’o would be presumed innocent until a judicial body concluded otherwise.
“CAF will make no further announcements while the investigations are underway and will only make public statements when the proceedings are concluded,” it said.
The probe comes against the backdrop of increasing complaints alleging that Eto’o’s tenure at the top of football governance in the country lacks accountability, and that it’s riddle with scandal.
An 18 July audio alleges match-fixing between Eto’o and the president of a tier-two club favouring the club’s promotion to the top-tier championship. Both Eto’o and the club president deny the authenticity of the audio.
In July, an association of Cameroonian amateur clubs lodged a complaint against Eto’o with the ethics committees of Fecafoot, CAF and the world football governing bosy Fifa alleging match-fixing, aggravated corruption, match manipulation, incitement to hatred and violence, attacks on moral and physical integrity and the propagation of false information.
Eto’o has also been accused of destroying the international careers of some national team players including Manchester United shot stopper Andre Onana.
Onana was asked to leave the Cameroon national team during the World Cup in Qatar, allegedly for disrespecting the directives of the coach, but many believe it was Eto’o who forced the keeper out of the den.
“Onana’s call up to the national team depends on the president of the federation. I asked Eto’o a formal question about André’s future, he replied that his international career was over,” said former Fecafoot vice president Henry Njalla Quan, who fell out with Eto’o after questioning his management style.
‘Lack of transparency’
In a June 23 confidential letter to Eto’o, Quan also complained that despite being vice president of Fecafoot and chair of its marketing commission, he was left “in the dark” concerning the federation’s financial transactions.
“There seems to be no transparency in the circulation of information relating to financial and administrative operations,” Quan complained, adding he wasn’t privy to information about Fecafoot’s sources of income and how that money was spent.
Quan also complained about reports of “overbilling scandals” involving staff of the federation, saying it was paradoxical that Fecafoot still owed money to many service providers that supposedly inflated their bills.
He said the media reported on debts owed by the federation following “abusive and unilateral” termination of contracts, particularly the case involving our former equipment suppliers Le Coq Sportif.
“This is another case where I feel particularly helpless,” Quan said in his letter to Eto’o. “While you made clear your intentions to terminate this contract, you also promised to give us (vice presidents) copies of this contract to study and give you feedback in order to aid your decision-making.”
Eto’o has denied any wrongdoing, describing Quan’s allegations as lies. He suspended Quan from Fecafoot’s executive committee.
As a footballer, Eto’o had a glittering career. He was named African player of the year on four occasions, won three Uefa Champions League titles and represented Cameroon 115 times, winning two Africa Cup of Nations with the Indomitable Lions.
He also holds the record as Cameroon’s all-time greatest scorer, but as the person now managing the country’s football, that glitter appears to be losing its shine.