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CAF’s verdict delivers blow to Samuel Eto’o amidst FECAFOOT dispute

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Samuel Eto’o, the iconic figure in Cameroonian football and current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT), faced a significant setback as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) intervened in the Geremi Njitap affair, undermining FECAFOOT’s authority and decision-making.

The dispute arose during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations when Geremi Njitap, former teammate of Eto’o and president of the Cameroon National Footballers’ Union (Synafoc), allegedly entered the national team’s locker room without authorization and was subsequently subjected to forceful removal by security personnel.

FECAFOOT, under Eto’o’s leadership, sought to impose sanctions on Njitap, including a five-year ban from football-related activities.

However, CAF swiftly intervened, asserting its exclusive jurisdiction over the matter and rebuking FECAFOOT for overstepping its authority.

In a directive issued to FECAFOOT, CAF emphasized that any disciplinary action regarding incidents during official CAF competitions falls under its purview.

Consequently, CAF instructed FECAFOOT to halt all proceedings related to Njitap and provide necessary documentation to CAF for further review.

The CAF ruling represents a significant setback for Eto’o and FECAFOOT, signaling a loss of autonomy in handling internal disciplinary matters.

Eto’o, who has been embroiled in a public feud with Njitap, viewed the disciplinary action as a personal matter, reflecting underlying tensions between the two figures.

The animosity between Eto’o and Njitap extends beyond the current dispute, with Eto’o’s camp accusing Njitap of being a government-backed pawn seeking to undermine Eto’o’s leadership.

Despite past support from Njitap during Eto’o’s candidacy for FECAFOOT, the relationship has soured, with Eto’o’s supporters questioning Njitap’s credibility and competence.

Jean-Bruno Tagne, former campaign director for Eto’o, highlighted Njitap’s positive reputation among footballers and his diplomatic relations with FIFA and CAF presidents.

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The rift between Eto’o and Njitap underscores broader tensions within Cameroonian football administration, with power struggles and personal rivalries complicating efforts to advance the sport’s governance and development.

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