Queiroz criticises Eto'o for rabble-rousing ahead of semis
Egypt's coach says he is disappointed with the Cameroon Federation president, who told his players to treat the AFCON semi-final "like a war".
For Samuel Eto'o, the Africa Cup of Nations occupies a special place in his heart - he won it twice as a player (in 2000 and 2002), ended as the top scorer in 2006 and 2008 and remains the tournament's all-time leading goal scorer - by a long way. Now, as President of Cameroon's Football Federation, he is eagerly looking forward to Thursday's semi-final against seven-time winners Egypt.
Apart from a 1-1 draw against Cape Verde in the final group game, Cameroon have won all of their matches at AFCON 2021, including knockout game against Comoros in the Last 16 and Gambia in the quarter finals.
Eto'o tried to motivate Cameroon's players with a stirring speech - but not everyone was happy about it... "Everything that you have achieved up until now you must finish off on Thursday - with the same mentality. Prepare yourselves because it is going to be war. That is how you must play - as though it was a war," Eto'o said. "We cannot let an opportunity like this slip, it's impossible".
Queiroz not impressed
The FCF president's words didn't go down well with Carlos Queiroz, who will be trying to steer Egypt to Sunday's final - where the winners of the other semi-final between Senegal and Burkina Faso await.
"That's a very unfortunate way of looking at it, and a bad message for Cameroon as a nation. I think he may have forgotten that a number of Cameroonians died a few days ago at a football stadium. Making those kinds of declarations before a game says to me that he didn't learn anything during his career as a professional player. It was an unfortunate thing to say, football is not a war, it is something to be celebrated, it's about enjoyment and happiness," Queiroz said.
The Egypt coach added that the African Football Confederation (CAF) will be looking into Eto'o's comments but as far as he is concerned, it's a "straight red card".
He concluded, "I ask him to correct himself, because that's not the way to play football, this isn't a war. War is to protect people who die at the gates of stadiums, people who are dying of hunger - that is war".