Samuel Eto’o: ‘Africans have a lot of talent than Europeans’

Samuel Eto’o, who is the current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation, discusses the state of African football as the AFCON approaches in an interview.

“Africans have to know how to come together for the continent’s development,” he says.

“Others will never do it for us. It is really important that we know this. You can see what happens in the world. When the world comes to do business in Africa, they are happy. When Africa comes to Europe (for help), we have problems.

“So to improve things, you need more than money, you have to have ideas and a vision.”

“I take Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as examples. Three of the Premier League’s main goalscorers come from Africa,” ex-Barcelona and Inter Milan forward Samuel Eto’o said in an interview with The Athletic.

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“It has to be said that everyone has their opinion, that’s certain, and that will always be the case, but everyone’s interests must come first, ahead of the individual’s. That’s how other continents develop. We have to know how to do it here.

“Africans have a lot of talent, Europeans a bit less. But the Europeans have understood something: education. Education is the magic of every success.

“In Africa, we don’t know how to educate ourselves, and to educate you have to have patience. What you educate today will bear fruit in 10 years’ time. We don’t have that patience.

“On the other hand, in Europe people don’t stop educating themselves. You go and see someone in France and they say, ‘I’m going to do a course on this’. But why does he do that when he has a job?

“Because the people have understood that to improve you have to educate yourself. And that’s what we Africans have to do — educate Africans and not stop. And then we will have the chance to win the World Cup.

“Take one example. Today, when Africa plays in the youth categories, we are a lot stronger because naturally, physically, we are gifted with other things.

“But seeing that the Europeans and the rest of the world continue, for them it’s an educational programme, when they turn 18 they become a lot stronger, because they have educated themselves. As the years go on, what we have naturally diminishes.”

The spotlight is on Africa now, with the African Cup of Nations due to start in a few days’ time. African teams undoubtedly have lots of talented players — and there are even more players with African heritage who shine on the world stage but choose to represent European countries.

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