Cameroonian football legend, Samuel Eto’o has said that African players still do not get the recognition they deserve at the top level.
In an interview with AFP, the former Inter Milan and Barcelona striker said: “Western media dominate our media in Africa, so they definitely have an influence. People prefer to see a Lionel Messi goal,” Eto’o, 38, told AFP during a visit to Paris last month.
The former Barcelona star, once a teammate of Messi, believes that “African players are not respected” and are “not always properly appreciated”.
While George Weah, the former Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan striker who is now the president of Liberia, remains the only African player ever to have claimed the Ballon d’Or award in 1995, Eto has no regrets he never won the prize.
“No, because I won so many trophies, I made so many dreams and for me that is the equivalent of winning the Ballon d’Or. However, I do feel for my younger brothers who came along after my generation.”
Eto’o also attacked captains and coaches of 54 African national teams who shunned Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Egypt’s Mohamed Salah in FIFA’s The Best award to vote for other candidates in September.
“Why is there this hate between us Africans? Why the misplaced jealousy? If we don’t appreciate one another, others are not going to do it for us,” Eto’o said.
“It’s a shame. If all Africans voted for other Africans, we would have had several awards for the best player.”
“Africa needs to show how strong it is. We are lucky to have these good players, who scored more than ten goals in the Champions League – we had the top three scorers in the English league (Mane, Salah, Aubameyang) but somehow these young guys don’t have our support,” Eto’o added.
“I want to accompany them as much as I can, defend them, protect them, because one day it will be their turn to pass on the torch.
“That is what we Africans have not always understood, at all levels, and that is why we are still trailing behind.”