Four-time African footballer of the year and Cameroon’s 54-goal all-time leading scorer Samuel Eto’o has announced his retirement from international football.
The 33-year-old, who joined Everton on Tuesday, has therefore ruled himself out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in January in Morocco if Cameroon qualifies.
The decision comes after he was dropped from Volker Finke’s latest squad and lost the captaincy to Stephane Mbia.
“I wish to inform you that I hereby put a definitive end to my international career,” he said on his Instagram page.
“On this occasion, I wish to thank all Africans in particular and all my fans around the world for their love and unconditional support.”
The former Barcelona, Inter and Real Madrid player made his international debut in 1997 during a 5-0 defeat to Costa Rica.
He went on to become an Olympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000, scoring in the final against Spain to take the match to extra-time and also slotting home his kick in the penalty shoot-out victory.
Eto’o is the leading all-time scorer in the Nations Cup with 18 goals and he appeared at four World Cup finals – 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 – playing in eight matches and scoring three goals.
His last match for Cameroon was the 1-0 defeat by Mexico at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Meanwhile, compatriot Jean Makoun also announced his retirement on Wednesday after more than a decade of playing for the Indomitable Lions.
The 31-year-old Rennes midfielder had also been left out of Finke’s latest squad.
He played 66 times for his country and scored five goals.
After his move from Serie A to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, former Roma defender Mehdi Benatia has indicated that it was the desire shown by coach Pep Guardiola to take him to Bavaria that saw him snub approaches from other European suitors.
Premier League duo Chelsea and Manchester United in particular were thought to be strong candidates for the Moroccans signature. However, when Bayern lost Javi Martinez to long-term injury they made their move and his departure from the capital gathered pace from that moment.
“I am delighted that the transfer to Bayern has been formalized,” Benatia told Sport 1.
“Guardiola wanted me strongly and I’m happy to be here.”
The 27-year-old was one of the star performers for the Giallorossi last season as the pushed Juventus hard for the title, but despite Rudi Garcia’s side expected to have an even stronger chance of wrestling the Scudetto from the Bianconeri this year decided to depart.
Bayern Munich have signed AS Roma defender Mehdi Benatia.
Benatia is joining Bayern on a five-year contract.
The Morocco international had been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Today Bayern released a statement confirming Benatia will put pen to paper on a five-year contract.
The fee is expected to be €26m plus a further €4m in performance-related bonuses.
Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o refused to take another swipe at Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as he was officially unveiled by as an Everton player on Wednesday.
Eto’o labelled the Chelsea boss as a “fool” and a “puppet” after the Portuguese made a comment questioning the striker’s age during his spell at the London club last season.
The 33-year-old former Real Madrid and Barcelona forward completed a move to Everton on a two-year deal after much speculation over his future and could make his debut against Chelsea on Saturday.
Eto’o was in no mood to start another row with Mourinho at a press conference on Wednesday, though, as he expressed his gratitude to his former manager.
“The only thing I have to say about Jose Mourinho is to thank him”, the Cameroon international said.
“It’s down to him that I had the opportunity to be accepted and integrated into the Premier League and I want to thank him for that.
“I’m not particularly concerned that it’s against my [old] team [on Saturday].
“The important thing is to integrate into my new team-mates’ way of playing and get ready for that match. If I don’t feature it’s just important to get ready.”
Eto’o revealed that he had many options after leaving Stamford Bridge, but Everton boss Roberto Martinez made the biggest impression on him.
“In the last 10 days I’ve travelled quite a lot and spoken with quite a few managers. I’m nearer the end of my career and I wanted to fit in where my contribution will be valued.” said Eto’o.
“Over the course of those travels the most inspiring and the person that said my contribution will be valued was Roberto.”
West Ham United striker Modibo Maiga has joined FC Metz.
Maiga has joined French side FC Metz on an initial season-long loan deal with the option to buy next summer.
The Mali international moved to the Ligue 1 club on Thursday and could make his Les Grenats debut at home to Lyon on Sunday.
Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is looking forward to seeing Nigerian winger Victor Moses in action tonight.
Hughes will play Moses, who has arrived on a season-long loan from Chelsea, from the start in tonight’s Capital One Cup clash with League Two Portsmouth.
He said: “Victor’s one that I’m looking to give game time to.
“I think it’s important he gets a shirt on and starts playing again. That’s just what he hasn’t done in the last couple of years.
“He hasn’t had as much game time as he wants, that’s why he’s come here. He’s hoping he’ll have more opportunities.
“And if he plays to the level we think he will do, then undoubtedly he will. That’d be a win-win for everyone.”
Ivory Coast will not be allowed to host their African Nations Cup qualifier next week against Sierra Leone in Abidjan because of fears over the Ebola virus, the country’s football federation announced on Tuesday.
The Ivorian government informed the football federation it will not allow the match to take place because all travel between the two countries has been banned.
“The authorities are taking no chances against a possible Ebola outbreak,” media officer Eric Kacou told reporters.
The move followed Congo’s demand that their scheduled qualifier in Nigeria next weekend be moved to a neutral venue because they are reluctant to travel to a country where there have also been deaths from the deadly virus.
Nigeria and Sierra Leone are among the countries affected by the hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 1 427 people in the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date.
Sierra Leone and Guinea, another country where there have been over 300 fatalities, have been ordered by the Confederation of African Football to move their home qualifiers to neutral venues but the Ivorian ban is the first time a government has told its own team it cannot play at home.
Ivory Coast are scheduled to host Sierra Leone on September 6 in a Group D qualifier but must now scramble to find a new venue.
Sierra Leone have similar problems as they battle to find a country willing to allow them to host their second game in the group, against the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 10.
Guinea have moved their Group E opener against Togo on September 6 to Casablanca in Morocco.
Nigeria, where there have been five reported deaths because of the Ebola virus, are still on course to host their opening Group A match against Congo on September 6 but the Congo Football Federation has written to CAF to ask for it to be moved to a neutral venue.
“We feel it is difficult to take our players to that region. Cameroon have closed their border with Nigeria because of the outbreak which goes to shows the severity of the situation,” said Congo coach Claude Le Roy.
Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those infected though the fatality rate in the current epidemic is around 60 percent.
Nations Cup qualifiers start on September 5-6 with a second round of games on September 10 as the group phase of the preliminaries for the finals in Morocco next year gets under way.
Algeria’s new head coach Christian Gourcuff announced a final 27-player squad on Monday, for their first two Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015 qualifiers.
Defender Mehdi Mostefa and midfielder Hassan Yebda, who were at the World Cup have been dropped.
Barred from the national team by former boss Vahid Halilhodzic, MCA’s keeper Fawzi Chaouchi and Bastia’s playmaker Ryad Boudebouz are making their return with the ‘Fennecs’, while uncapped defender from Olympique Lyonnais Mehdi Zeffane has also been called-up.
Algeria will enter a camp at the Sidi Moussa technical centre on September 1.
The ‘Fennecs’ will kick-off their qualifying campaign in Group B in Addis Ababa against Ethiopia on September 6, before hosting Mali in Blida on September 10.
Goalkeepers – Chaouchi Faouzi (MC Alger), M’Bolhi Raïs (Philadelphia Union, USA), Si Mohamed Cédric (CS Constantine), Zemmamouche Mohamed Lamine (USM Alger).
Defenders – Belkalem Essaïd (Trabzonspor, Tur), Bougherra Madjid (Al Fujairah, UAE), Cadamuro Liassine (Real Sociedad, Esp), Ghoulam Faouzi (SSC Naples, Ita), Halliche Rafik (Qatar Club, Qat), Mandi Aïssa (Stade de Reims, Fra), Medjani Carl (Trabzonspor, Turquie), Mesbah Djamel (FC Parme, Ita), Zeffane Mehdi (Olympique Lyonnais, Fra).
Midfielders – Bentaleb Nabil (Tottenham Hotspur FC, Eng), Boudebouz Ryad (SC Bastia, Fra), Brahimi Yacine (FC Porto, Por), Djabou Abdelmoumene (Club Africain, Tun), Feghouli Sofiane (FC Valence, Esp), Guedioura Adlène (Crystal Palace FC, Eng), Karaoui Amir (MC Alger), Lacen Medhi (Getafe CF, Esp), Mahrez Riyad (Leicester City FC, Eng), Taïder Saphir (Southampton FC, Eng).
Strikers – Belfodil Ishak (FC Parme, Ita), Ghilas Nabil (FC Porto, Por), Slimani Islam (Sporting Lisbonne, Por), Soudan El Arbi Hillel (Dynamo Zagreb, Cro).
Former African champions TP Mazembe are top of Group A in the CAF Champions League after earning a draw against AS Vita in Kinshasa on Sunday.
AS Vita played without their suspended striker Dady Birori. The player was last week suspended by CAF after he was found holding two different names featuring for his club and another for the Rwanda national side.
Birori’s issue led to the disqualification of Rwanda from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Yunus Junior Ssentamu, who scored the lone goal against Zamalek two weeks ago to qualify for the semis, failed to find the net this time round.
Mbwana Samatta was the most dangerous player for Mazembe in this first half, while Ndombe Mubele had the best chances for the home side in the second stanza, but Kidiaba and Kimwaki were at their best to keep the score goalless.
On Sunday evening, Esperance ended their campaign with a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Ahly Benghazi of Libya.
It was a sweet revenge for Tunisians after they had lost the reverse fixture in May 3-2. It was also the first win for new Esperance coach Khaled Ben Yahia.
Esperance, who have won this competition twice, thus finished third on seven points, while Ahly Benghazi finished bottom of Group B on four points.
However, the home win could not get ‘The Blood and Gold’ into the knockout rounds of the Champions League as CS Sfaxien of Tunisia and Entente Setif from Algeria had already booked their places in the semi-finals even before this weekend’s final round of matches.
Seifeddine Jerbi put away a penalty awarded the Tunisian club in the 70th minute.
Jerbi first came close to open scores in the 37th minute, but his shot missed target as the first half finished without any goals.
Esperance deserved their win as they bossed the game from start to finish against Ahly Benghazi, who famously eliminated mighty Al Ahly of Egypt to reach the mini-league stage of this annual club tournament.
Sudan’s El Merriekh FC are the 2014 CECAFA Kagame Cup winners thanks to their 1-0 victory over Rwanda’s APR FC in an entertaining final match played at Amahoro stadium, Kigali.
Kenyan import Allan Wanga who joined the club from AFC Leopards mid this year netted the only goal of the game in the 25th minute to sink the home army side that started the game as favourites.
The first half saw little opportunities for either side but El Merriekh took the lead through Kenyan forward Allan Wanga in the 25th minute.
The Harambee Stars striker connected nicely with Ragi Abdallate Abdallah cross to send the ball into the roof of the netted.
Traore Mohammed had an opportunity to make it 2-0 for the Sudan league champions but his intended shot on goal after beating Emery Bayisenge and Yannick Mukunzi inside the 18 yard box missed target.
The Malien who had a good first half again missed target in the 45th minute by inches as his free kick from over 40 yards missed target.
APR FC suffered a great blow towards the end of the first period after Emery Bayisenge was subbed for Herve Rugwiro.
On recess, Coach Petrovic Ljubomir made another change withdrawing ex-Proline FC midfielder Andrew Buteera for Isaie Songa.
Inside four minutes of the second half, APR FC almost got an equaliser but Jamal Salim did well to save Michel Ndahinduka’s shot with Djamal Mwisenza shooting over the bar from the rebound.
Five minutes later, Salim was again at hand to save from Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza as the APR FC number hit a low shot within six yards.
El Merriekh FC coach made his first substitution of the game withdrawing skipper El Basher for Ramadan Agaba and later goal scorer Allan Wanga for Gabir Abdu Mohammed.
In the 70th minute, Traore neatly beat everyone in the APR FC backline but his cutback pass on the byline found no one to make connection as it went begging.
The Malien went close again in the 80th minute but goalie Olivier Kwizera did well to save at near post.
The Sudan giants held on till the final whistle and were without doubt the better of the two sides in the final.
The victory now brings El Merriekh FC’s CECAFA Club Championships to three having won it in 1986, 1994 and now 2014.
In the third place play-off, Uganda’s representatives KCC FC finished fourth after losing 4-2 on penalties to Rwanda’s Police FC.
The two side settled for a 1-1 draw in the 90 minutes with Jimmy Mbaraga scoring for Police FC in the first half and then Umony for KCC FC in the second.
KCC FC thought they had taken the lead in the seventh minute when Derrick Nsibambi slotted home but goal was disallowed for an earlier foul on defender Fabrice Twagizimana by Brian Umony.
In the 18th minute, Tom Masiko hit a fierce free kick over the wall but it was well dealt with by goalie Marcel Nzarora.
Police FC’s first real scare on KCC FC’s goal came in the 20th minute when Kipson Atuheire chest controlled a Jacques Tuyisenge cross before shooting direct at Elungati.
In the 26th minute, Umony shot inches wide after being played through by William Wadri.
In the 34th minute, Police FC took the lead through Jimmy Mbaraga who intercepted Isiagi’s back pass before beating captain Sakka Mpiima inside the 16 yard to slot home past a hapless Elungati.
Five minutes later, Elungati gave away a free kick after handling the ball outside his area but Mwemere Ngirishuti hit the wall and Elungati saved from his rebound kick.
The last chance of the half fell to KCC FC in the 43rd minute but Umony shot over the bar from a free kick after he was fouled.
Both coaches made immediate changes after recess with Cassa Mbugo bringing on Bosco Jean Uwacu for Kipson Atuheire while Nsimbe replaced Isiagi with enterprising midfielder Brian Majwega.
KCC FC got the breakthrough in the 49th minute when Brian Umony tap into an empty net after a mix up in the Police FC’s backline.
Twagizimana hit the ball straight at the goalkeeper after a good cross from Wadri and Nzarora’s clearance fell at the foot of Umony who made no mistake but net his fifth goal of the tournament.
KCC FC came close again through Umony but Nzarora was up to the task.
The Lugogo based side got a blow when Majwega who had just come on a substitute got injured and withdrawn for Owen Kasule.
The ex-URA FC midfielder nearly got a second goal for KCC FC seconds after coming home but Nzarora parried his shot away for a corner after a neat back heel pass from Umony.
Despite a late surge from both sides in search for a winner but final whistle from Somali referee Hassan Mohammed came without any leaving penalties to decide who takes third place.
Umony and Masiko who missed in their kicks in the loss to El Merriekh FC in the semis converted this time only for Habib Kavuma and Richard Kasagga to miss with the latter’s hitting a cross bar.
Police FC converted all their four kicks through Jacques Tuyisenge, Fred Ndaka, Jean Uwimana and Eric Ngendahimana.