Samuel Eto’o apologises for ‘violent altercation’


Former Cameroon and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o has apologised after admitting he had a “violent altercation” with a football supporter at the World Cup in Qatar.

VIdeo emerged of Eto’o, who is now the president of Cameroon’s Football Federation, appearing to attack a man after Brazil’s 4-1 victory over South Korea on Monday night. In the footage, Eto’o appears to knee the supporter in the face after he was approached when leaving the Stadium 974 in Doha.

In his statement, Eto’o said the fan was “probably an Algerian” and claimed Cameroon fans have been “harassed and pestered by Algerians” since the two African nations met in a controversial World Cup play-off in March.

Eto’o apologised for “losing my temper” and said he has been the subject of “relentless provocation and daily harassment” from Algerians while he has been in Qatar, but the former striker insisted he will “continue to resist” them.

Eto’o also warned the Algerian authorities to “put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs”.

Cameroon defeated Algeria to qualify for the World Cup after a last-second goal in the play-off second leg, with Algeria then appealing to Fifa for the result to be overturned because of a series of “disgraceful refereeing” decisions.

Fifa rejected Ageria’s appeals and Eto’o claims he has been the “target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence” since the match.

A statement from Eto’o, which did not include a direct apology to the supporter he appeared to attack, read: “On last 5 December, after the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter.

“I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.

“I pledge to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters. Indeed, since the Cameroon-Algeria match on 29 March in Blida, I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence.

“During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans have been harassed and pestered by Algerians on the same subject. I would like to mention that the scenario of Algeria’s defeat was cruel but perfectly in line with the rules and ethics of our sport.

“All the appeals made by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent jurisdictions have been rejected.

“I therefore call on the Algerian authorities and Federation to take their responsibilities to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs.

“To Fennecs’ fans, I wish that they find peace and manage to overcome the disappointment of a painful defeat, now behind us.”

Eto’o is also in Qatar as World Cup 2022 legacy ambassador. A former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker, Eto’o was named African Footballer of the Year on four occasions. He also played in Qatar.

During his career, he scored 56 goals in 118 games for Cameroon and represented his country at four World Cups before retiring in 2019.

The Independent has contacted the Cameroonian Football Federation for comment.

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