Still in Qatar despite the fact that Cameroon was eliminated during the first round of the 2022 World Cup, Eto’o, president of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot), has made headlines, but not for something football related. On 5 December, at the stadium’s exit following the Brazil-South Korea match (4-1), the former Cameroonian international football player violently attacked Said Mamouni (aka Sadouni SM), an Algerian Youtuber.
The video has circulated widely on social media and does not make Eto’o look good. He said he was the target of “incessant provocation and daily harassment” from Algerian fans and has since offered his “sincere apologies”, but what really happened? The case may be more complicated than it seems.
In the footage, the Algerian Youtuber can be seen shouting “Gassama, Gassama” at Eto’o, in reference to Gambian referee Bakary Gassama. Algerian fans regularly accuse the latter of having favoured the Lions Indomptables during the Algeria-Cameroon match that Cameroonians won by 2-1 last March. Mamouni, who has 67,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, is a regular.
In a video posted on his channel on 23 November, he is seen asking two Cameroonian fans if they think referee Gassama was bribed. However, according to Eto’o’s entourage, the Fecafoot president didn’t react this way because this referee’s name was mentioned. According to someone close to the footballer, who was present during the altercation, the words exchanged were much more serious. He told us his version of the events.
“As he left the stands, Samuel Eto’o was spotted by fans, with whom he took photos before returning to his car,” he says. “An Algerian fan then arrived and pointed his camera in his face and asked him how the financial transaction with Gassama had gone. Eto’o replied politely, but as he walked away, the fan insulted him. He said ‘you black bastard, get back on your tree’. That’s when Eto’o lost his temper.”
In a video posted a few hours after being attacked, the fan and Youtuber Mamouni admitted to having asked Eto’o about whether referee Gassama had been bribed, but did not mention any racist insult. He also claims that he was interviewed by the Qatari police and explains that the former Lions Indomptables star hit him on the chest and under his chin. Finally, he claims that Eto’o broke the phone he was filming with.
The president of Fecafoot’s close friend has denied once again this version of the story. “An Australian tourist snatched the phone. He broke the phone and it’s a pity because the recording, which would have shown the racist insults, is unrecoverable…,”, the same witness says.
The investigation may shed light on what was said. Mamouni and Eto’o have both filed complaints.