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Aug 28, 2012

Eto'o rejects Cameroon call

Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto'o has rejected a call-up to the Cameroon squad, much to the surprise of national team coach Denis Lavagne.

Eto'o, 31, was supposed to be part of the squad to face Cape Verde Islands in an African Cup of Nations qualifier in September, which would have been the striker's first game for his country since the Cameroon Football Federation banned him for eight months in response to his part in a players' strike over unpaid bonuses.

But the former Barcelona man declined the offer in protest at the CFF's "amateurism and poor organisation".

Lavagne, annoyed at the loss of his key man, he told Jeune Afrique: "I counted on him after his eight-month suspension. He would make us better because he has huge talent. I'm surprised, but I have no choice but to take note of his refusal.''

Leonard Kweuke of Sparta Prague will replace the absent Eto'o in the squad, but he is unlikely to adequately fill his boots for the Indomitable Lions.

Eto'o claims his motives are to improve the standards for footballers in Cameroon, and to aid future generations of players in the country.

An open letter to the CFF was published on Eto'o's personal website to explain the motives behind him rejecting the call-up. It read: "Our national team continues to dwell in an environment characterised by amateurism and poor organisation not compatible with professional sports.

"I doubt if supporters of the Indomitable Lions will understand my move aimed at attracting attention to the imperative necessity to make the team professional. The team is a veritable institution that has contributed much to the nation and from which much is still expected.''

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