Eto’o has hope for Africa
“I came to test the waters, listen to the authorities and see if I can invest here as I have done elsewhere because I believe Africans can win the Fifa World Cup someday but we must have a foundation,” Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o told reporters during his state visit to Guinea last weekend.
The four-time African Footballer of the Year was given a heroic welcome in Conakry by thousands of fans before meeting President Alpha Conde and a number of ministers behind closed doors.
The Anzhi Makhachkala striker later visited the newly-constructed 50,000 seater Nongo Stadium in the northern district of the city and made a brief stop at a technical centre near the facility, where aspiring athletes take courses.
During a press conference at the Guinea Football Federation (Feguifoot) headquarters, Eto’o said he came to the West African nation to negotiate a deal for the construction of a football academy to help young Guineans.
The former Barcelona and Inter Milan star runs a football academy already operational in his homeland Cameroon and in Gabon, which offers free tuition to pupils.
The Indomitable Lions’ 16-year-old forward Fabrice Olinga of Spanish La Liga side Malaga is a product of the fledgling soccer institution.
“Europeans learn football in schools, but we Africans, we roam the streets before ending up in big stadiums,” Eto’o said.
“I am convinced that Africa has the potential to win the World Cup tomorrow, but if we must get there we have to start building infrastructure and learning football from the grassroots in well-equipped centres.”
Guinea boasts of very few football training centres, which most families cannot afford for their young boys.