Samuel Eto’o Fils (born March 10, 1981, Nkron Cameron), Cameroonian professional football (soccer) player who
is considered one of the greatest African footballers of all time.
Eto’s attended the Kadji Sports Academy in Duoula, Cameroon, and first to national prominence while playing for UCB Douala, a second-division club, in the 1996 Cup of Cameroon. At only 16 years of age, he caught the attention of Real Madrid- one of the top teams in Europe- who signed him in 1997, though Eto’o saw little playing time. Nor did he see much action after joining Cameroon when it qualified for the 1998 World Cup but filtered in the first round.
African Cup of Nations, also called the Africa Cup of Nations and African Nations Cup, the most prestigious football (soccer) competition in Africa. It is contested by national teams and is organized by the Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF). The competition’s format has changed over time, with the number of teams increasing from 3 in 1957 to 16 in 1996. Growing participation also led to the introduction of qualifying rounds in 1968, the same year that CAF decided to hold the tournament biennially.
The African Cup of Nations was first held in February 1957 in Khartoum, Sudan, where Egypt defeated the host nation in the final to win the Abdel Aziz Abdallah Salem Trophy, named after its donor, an Egyptian who was the first CAF president. That trophy was permanently awarded to Ghana in 1978 when it became the first country to win the tournament three times. The next trophy, known as the African Unity Cup, was awarded permanently to Cameroon in 2000 when that team claimed its third championship since 1978. In 2002 a new trophy called the Cup of Nations was introduced.
The competition has served as a showcase for the talents of African players. In the 1950s and 60’s the tournament’s attacking, entertaining style of play seized the imagination of African fans and attracted European talent scouts, agents, and journalists. Under the leadership of Ethiopian Ydnekachew Tessema, CAF president from 1972 until his death in 1987, the cup earned greater international prestige. Professionalism was allowed in 1980 and corporate sponsorships accepted in 1984. Among the cup’s greatest performers is Samuel of Cameroon, who holds the record for most career goals scored in the Cup of Nations (18), and Ivorian striker Laurent Pokou, who tallied five goals in a 6-1 victory over Ethiopia in 1970.
Beyond the boundaries of the playing fields, the Cup of Nations has been a conduit for the articulation of political values and ideals. Having inherited colonial institutions devoid of indigenous symbols of national football teams in order to elicit pride and build unity among their diverse populations. For example, with the enthusiastic support of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana won the Cup in 1963 and 1965. In winning the 1996 tournament at home, South Africa’s racially mixed team seemed to symbolize football’s power to bridge the gaping social and economic inequalities left by apartheid. In contrast, the Algerian government was unable to capitalize on Algeria’s victory in the 1990 Cup of Nations, as fans celebrated the team’s triumph in Algiers by chanting their support for the opposition Islamic Salvation Front. Political tensions violently disrupted as it traveled into the Angolan exclave of Cabinda on its way to the tournament; two teams officials and the bus driver were killed in the attack and the Togolese team withdrew from the 2010 Cup of Nations, which was held with 15 team field.