Coach wants captaincy seized from Eto’oBy YUH TIMCHIA in Yaounde | Monday, July 16 2012 at 10:55
Cameroon national team Indomitable Lions coach Denis Lavagne wants to strip Samuel Eto’o of the captain’s armband when his suspension from the national team ends.
The four-time African footballer of the year was handed an eight-month ban last December, after he led a player strike in protest against unpaid bonuses, minutes before a friendly with Algeria.
His suspension ends in next month.
In one of three letters addressed to Cameroon’s FA and recently leaked to the local press, the Frenchman said it is imperative that a new team captain be named before the final round of qualifiers for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
"After reflecting, the coaching staff and I believe it is necessary that we deal with the senior national team captaincy issue before the crucial games in September and October,” he said.
Cameroon would have to beat the Cape Verde Islands in September and October to go through to the finals in South Africa.
Failing to qualify
In another missive, the coach expressed his dissatisfaction and demanded clarifications on the non-payment of his annual salary of $245,000.
A contract he signed with the country’s football governing body Fecafoot and the Sports ministry on June 3 stipulates he had to be paid the entire sum on May 31, at the latest.
Lavagne, who received a warning letter from the federation on June 20 for disrespecting Sports minister Adoum Garoua, was appointed last year after Cameroon ditched former coach Javier Clemente for failing to qualify the Lions for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations finals in neighbouring Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Sources close to the national team say Lavagne wants current goalkeeper Idriss Carlos Kameni, to replace Samuel Eto’o while midfielder Stephane Mbia would be his deputy.
Observers say handing the captaincy to some other player would only add more crevices to the fragmented team that has been struggling since 2010 and deepen the feeling of resentment fans currently have for Lavagne.
Fans who have been yearning for a return to the heydays of Cameroonian football think Lavagne is contemptuous and unqualified.
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