Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o has challenged African journalists to back their own footballers to enhance their chances of winning international awards.

Incidentally, the ex-Barcelona, Chelsea, and Inter Milan forward made this comment during an interaction with journalists on Friday via Zoom from Qatar.

Eto’o is touring the Asian country that will host the 2022 Fifa World Cup following an invite by the tournament’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy as part of the preps to officially open the Al Rayyan stadium.

The 40,000 seater stadium is slated to stage the Amir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Arabi on Friday in one of the activities lined up by the host country exactly two years until the start of the tournament.

“Our journalists should have faith in African talent. If you cannot back them then there is little chance they will win awards such as the ballon d’or,” said Eto’o.

He spoke a day after Robert Lewandoski was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year 2020, and about a year after Senegal’s Saido Mane surprisingly emerged fourth at the 2019 ballon d’or awards ceremony.

For one reason or the other, African footballers have consistently been overlooked at the awards with George Weah the only player from Africa to have won the ballon d’or in 1995.

A smiling Eto’o, meanwhile, also confirmed he was faring better after suffering a road accident in his native country last month.

He also challenged African governments and football administrators to adequately prepare their national teams for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”

African players impress when playing in Europe because they are motivated,” explained Eto’o, who featured at 3 World Cups for the Indomitable Lions before announcing his international retirement in 2014.

“But it is a different story when they play for the national teams because they prepare well. You know the challenges (these teams face). I can tell you every player wants to play for his national team and some of them sacrifice alot. But how are the preparations like? That is where we need to work on if we are to progress to the latter stages of the World Cup.”

African countries have struggled to impress at the World Cup with Cameroon (in 1990), Senegal (2002), and Ghana (2010) the only teams from the continent to have made it to the quarter-finals of the tournament.

Kenya is among African nations gunning to qualify for this tournament for the first time.

The Harambee Stars have been pooled against Mali, Uganda, and Rwanda in the preliminaries with the qualification matches set to commence in March of 2021.

Eto’o also gave a thumbs up to Qatar’s preps and readiness ahead of the tournament, with almost a million visitors expected to tour the country during the 34-nation international sporting showpiece.

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