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Sep 27, 2012

Eto'o set to return to Cameroon fold

Cameroon superstar Samuel Eto'o appears set to end his international exile after the country's prime minister intervened to facilitiate a return to action for the Indomitable Lions.

Eto'o, 31, has been embroiled in a number of public disputes with the Cameroonian Football Federation over the past year, with relations between the Anzhi Makhachkala player and the country's governing body turning sour.

In January, the former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker - widely regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time - was banned for eight months for his role in organising a players' strike in a row over late payment of appearance fees and then refused to play for the national team when his suspension ended in August, announcing his retirement from international football in an open letter to the CFF.

"Our national team continues to dwell in an environment characterised by amateurism and poor organisation not compatible with professional sports," Eto'o wrote. "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."

However, with Cameroon in danger of missing out on African Nations Cup qualification for the second tournament in a row - for what would be the first time since 1980 - Prime Minister Philemon Yang has reached out to Eto'o and urged him to return for the Indomitable Lions' crunch second leg against Cape Verde next month.

Cameroon coach Jean Paul Akono told Super Sport: "The head of state has taken the situation personally and has given us instructions. We then met in a working session to pave the way forward and all is fine.

"For now he's ok but he can be could still miss out because of injury. We will keep our fingers crossed and await the final days leading up to the game."

Cameroon lost the first leg of their African Nations Cup qualifying play-off 2-0 Cape Verde and must overturn the deficit in Yaounde on October 13 if they are to reach January's tournament, which will be held in South Africa.

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