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Samuel Etoo: A brilliant and blemished international career

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Samuel Etoo: A brilliant and blemished international career
samuel-etoo-a-brilliant-and-blemished-international-career
Samuel Eto'o's Cameroon career will http://www.officialnflraidersjerseys.com/DAVE-CASPER-JERSEY-CHEAP.html be remembered as both brilliant and blemished. The 33-year-old made his debut for the Indomitable Lions in 1997, aged just 15, and announced his retirement from internationals on Tuesday. In the intervening 17 years - more than half of his life - he experienced the highs of winning titles as part of a toothsome and dangerous pride but also deep lows in recent times as Cameroon became a ragged outfit both on and off the pitch. As the Indomitable Lions fortunes have waned, Eto'o's reputation has taken some damaging blows - often self-inflicted as the striker's behaviour was frequently the antithesis of what was expected after he became captain in 2009. The new Everton striker's greatest international achievements came when he was surrounded by quality players in the Cameroon side: the likes of Patrick Mboma, the late Marc-Vivien Foe, Geremi Njitap, Lauren Etame Mayer and even Rigobert Song. In those halcyon days, the team mixed brute physical strength with tactical discipline and Eto'o's clinical finishing - he is his country's all-time leading scorer with 54 goals - helped clinch Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2000 and 2002. Eto'o went on to play at six Nations Cups, leaving his mark on the tournament by becoming its all-time top scorer. His 18 goals, four more than the next best total, is the benchmark that is likely to stand for some considerable time. And in between those back-to-back titles came a stunning Olympic gold medal as Cameroon beat Brazil on the way to the final, where they overcame a Spain side boasting Xavi and Carles Puyol. Eto'o played a major part in defeating Spain, scoring the goal that brought Cameroon back to 2-2 and forced extra-time, and then slotting home his kick to help his side win the penalty shootout. But as Cameroon's top talents fell away, Eto'o struggled to fill the void; not that one man, however talented, can carry a national side as Liberia's George Weah, the only African to ever be crowned Fifa World Footballer of the Year, can attest. Mboma himself told BBC World Service programme Newsday on Tuesday: "In our time, we had four to five leaders - Foe, myself, Raymond Kalla, Song - and when we left, Eto'o was almost alone in the team." But rather than any footballing David Ausberry Kids Jersey deficiencies it was Eto'o's squabbles with team-mates - he accused them of refusing to pass to him and he also had an ugly feud with Alex Song - that dented his legacy. "Under his captaincy, Eto'o did not help his team become stronger," added Mboma. "He wasn't negative to his team-mates, but he wasn't that positive. He was more for himself rather than the whole squad, which is probably the reason why Cameroon have not won a title for a long time." And there was little love lost between Eto'o and the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot). In 2011 the the former Chelsea man put aside his differences with his team-mates to lead a player revolt against Fecafoot - with the players so tired of receiving their payments late they refused to honour a friendly against Algeria. Eto'o's actions earned him a 15-match ban that was later reduced to eight months, yet he chose to remain in exile after his suspension ended as he railed against the "amateurish and poorly-organised" national team set-up. He was eventually rushed back into action after a meeting with representatives of the country's president but Cameroon failed to qualify for the 2012 and 2013 Nations Cups, an astonishing record considering that they had reached at least the quarter-finals at the previous seven tournaments. But the nadir of the four-time African footballer of the year's career came in the World Cup. At the tournament in South Africa in 2010 - the first edition to be held on African soil - Cameroon were the first team to leave the competition and Eto'o described their exit after just two games as the biggest disappointment of his career. He played in a total of four World Cups (a joint African record), after making his debut as a 17-year-old against Italy in the 1998 finals, but Eto'o never managed to help Cameroon into the knock-out stage. He did score the goal that secured their http://www.officialnflraidersjerseys.com/DONALD-PENN-JERSEY-CHEAP.html last group win, when beating Saudi Arabia in 2002, but Cameroon have since lost their last seven games at the finals. The last defeat came against Mexico at this year's World Cup, Marking Eto'o's 118th - and last - appearance, it did at least allow an African football icon to bow out on the sport's greatest stage.

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