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Ex-Barcelona star Eto’o joins list of football legends running federations

FOOTBALL By Odero Charles | December 13th 2021 | 2 min read
Former Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto'o arrives for The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony, on September 23, 2019 at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. (AFP)

Cameroon footballer great Samuel Eto'o was elected president of the national football federation (FECAFOOT) on Saturday, a month before the country hosts the African Cup of Nations.

The former indomitable Lions forward Eto'o, who played for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea, will take over the federation long tainted by infighting, mismanagement and allegations of corruption.

Soccer's global governing body FIFA has intervened several times to end wrangles among FECAFOOT officials.

The 40-year-old Eto’o won the election with 43 votes from members of FECAFOOT's general assembly. His rival, the current president Seydou Mbombouo Njoya, received 31 votes.

Cameroon will host the African Cup of Nations from January 9 to February 6. It was stripped of the right to host the tournament in 2019 because of delays in preparation and security concerns.

Eto'o is not the first former African footballer to vie and win national Football Federation president.

In 2008, Zambian former international footballer, Kalusha Bwalya (Great Kalu) was elected as president of the Football Association of Zambia before losing the seat to Andrew Kamanga in 2016.

Zambian Football Legend Kalusha Bwalya [Photo courtesy ]

Bwalya, who was named the 1988 African Footballer of the Year, first joined FAZ as vice president in 2004 before being elected president four years later.

The former Chipolopolo forward served as association president for two terms and was gunning for a third.

However, in 2020, former English Premier League star Didier Drogba's hopes of becoming the president of the Ivory Coast Football Association (FA) suffered a massive blow after he secured zero votes from members of the Association of Former Ivorian Footballers.

Ivory Coast former soccer player Didier Drogba addresses a news conference after the inauguration ceremony of a new school building constructed by the Didier Drogba Foundation at Pokou Kouamekro, Gagnoa, Ivory Coast, January 17, 2018. REUTERS

Drogba played for the Ivory Coast between 2002 and 2014 before calling time on his international career.

He is the country’s all-time top scorer with 65 goals after 105 games, the country’s third-highest tally of international appearances after Didier Zokora (123) and Kolo Toure (120).

He played at five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013) and three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014).

Former FKF Vice Chairman Sammy Sholei [Photo courtesy]

In 2020, former Harambee Stars player and Former Football Kenya Federation (FKF) vice-president Sammy Tiyoi Shollei declared his interest to vie for the presidency of the federation but lost to the embattled FKF Nick Mwendwa.


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