DOHA, Qatar – Cameroon Football Federation president and former star player Samuel Eto’o has apologized for being involved in a “violent altercation” with a man outside a World Cup stadium on Tuesday.
Eto’o had taken a break from Brazil’s 4-1 win over South Korea in the round of 16 to pose for photos with fans near Stadium 974. Footage circulating on social media showed him reacting to comments from a man holding a camera.
The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker was initially held back by people in his entourage, then cleared and appeared to aim a kick at the man, who fell backwards to the ground.
later on tuesday, Eto’o released a statement on Twitter and said: “Last December 5, after the Brazil-South Korea game, I had a heated altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter.
“I want to apologize for losing my temper and reacting in a way that doesn’t reflect my personality. I apologize to the public for this unfortunate incident.
“I promise to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian fans. In fact, since the match between Cameroon and Algeria on March 29 in Blida, I have been the target of insults and accusations of cheating without any evidence.
— Samuel Eto’o (@SamuelEtoo) December 6, 2022
“During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans were harassed and harassed by Algerians on the same issue. 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 appeals by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent courts have been rejected. I therefore call on the Algerian authorities and the federation to assume their responsibilities to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs.
“My wish for Fennec’s fans is that they find peace and are able to overcome the disappointment of a painful defeat that is now behind us.”
The man, Algerian social media personality Said Mamouni, later posted a video on YouTube in which he said he was the person who was attacked and that he was at a Qatari police station to file a complaint against Eto’o to submit.
“Samuel had a fight with me. He hit me and his companion pushed me. I’m here to file a complaint and he also smashed my camera,” Mamouni said.
He said Eto’o turned violent after Mamouni asked him if he bribed Gambian referee Bakary Gassama in a controversial World Cup qualifier between Cameroon and Algeria in March.
Cameroon won the second leg 2-1 in the final moments of the game and qualified for the World Cup on away goals.
The Algerian Football Federation filed a complaint with FIFA, the football governing body, demanding a replay of the match over alleged referral errors by Gassama. FIFA dismissed the lawsuit.
But Algeria’s complaint also carried over to the Cameroon team’s first official press conference in Qatar, a day before the game against Switzerland. A question from an Algerian reporter to Cameroon coach Rigobert Song about the “qualification bought” went unanswered.
Eto’o was in Qatar as president of the Football Association of Cameroon, who were eliminated in the group stage last week.
He has also represented the Qatar World Cup Organizing Committee as Global Legacy Ambassador since 2019 and is part of the FIFA Legends program, which uses former players to promote football.
It was unclear in what capacity Eto’o attended Monday night’s game. FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which oversees the World Cup, and its government did not immediately respond to questions about the incident.
Eto’o played for Cameroon at four World Cups between 1998 and 2014 and was elected president of their football association a year ago.
ESPN has reached out to the Cameroon federation for comment.
https://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/4826728/samuel-etoo-filmed-in-altercation-outside-world-cup-game Samuel Eto’o filmed in altercation outside World Cup game