Former Cameroonian football star and president of the Cameroonian Football Federation, Samuel Eto'o (CR), looks on during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2024 group C football match between Gambia and Cameroon at Stade de la Paix in Bouake on January 23, 2024. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

Cameroon’s participation in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations was nearly disrupted by a reported fallout between the federation’s president Samuel Eto’o and goalkeeper Andre Onana. The disagreement led to Onana being dropped from the starting XI for Cameroon’s match against Gambia. Despite arriving late to the tournament due to club responsibilities, the 27-year-old player was benched and is expected to remain so for the upcoming match against Nigeria in the round of 16.

According to reports, Onana considered leaving the competition early after his altercation with Eto’o, which was described as an “aggressive exchange”. However, he ultimately decided to continue participating and was seen celebrating during Cameroon’s final group match. This incident followed Onana’s late arrival in West Africa, which had drawn criticism for disrespecting the Africa Cup of Nations. Additionally, his participation in the tournament had previously been uncertain after a fallout with the head coach during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Cameroon is set to face Nigeria in the last 16 on Saturday.

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