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I’d like to see a Cameroon-Qatar WC final in 2022: Eto’o

I’d like to see a Cameroon-Qatar WC final in 2022: Eto’o

Tribune News Network
Doha
● You were part of the gold medal-winning team for Cameroon at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. How did it feel to stand on top of the podium?
It was an incredible feeling, especially given the difficulties we encountered during the tournament. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of my teammates, my “fellow soldiers,” for their support throughout this tournament. Because it was extremely difficult – but in the end, despite trailing by two goals to nil in the final, we won the gold medal by defeating Spain.
I thought I had scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds of extra time, but the flag was raised for offside. Fortunately, we won the penalty shootout 5-3, giving Cameroon its first Olympic gold medal in any sport. It was an honour to be a part of such a historic moment for my country at such a young age, and it is something I will never forget.
● Do any matches in particular stand out in your memory from Sydney?
Yes, in the quarter-finals against Brazil, when the game went into extra time with the golden goal rule. Brazil had a great team with players like Ronaldinho and were the tournament favourites. Nobody expected us to beat Brazil, but we never gave up, even when two of our players were sent off, forcing us to play extra time with only nine players. Modeste Mbami scored the game-winning goal in the second half of extra time, advancing us to the next round and keeping our dream of making history alive.
I will always remember the moment when Modeste scored. We all began to run after him to celebrate. While eight or nine of us all chased after him, the Brazilians put the ball back in the centre circle, believing the match would continue. But the game was over and we had qualified with the golden goal. To win an Olympic gold medal was really special and is something I will always treasure.
● Will you be following the football tournament at the Olympics in Tokyo?
Anyone who is passionate about sport will naturally follow the Olympic Games. It is a major sporting competition and those who love sport will not miss it.
The football tournament at the Olympics will always have a special place in my heart having won the tournament with Cameroon in 2000. The Olympics has helped create many stars of the future so I will of course be watching in the hope that we see some exciting young players make a name for themselves. I am looking forward to seeing Ivory Coast, South Africa and Egypt, who will be representing Africa. Hopefully they can perform well and do their countries proud at the tournament.
● What are the similarities between the World Cup and the Olympic Games?
They are both huge competitions. Both are the pinnacle of sport. Every athlete dreams of winning gold at the Olympics, while every footballer dreams of scoring the winning goal at the World Cup. In my opinion, the next World Cup in Qatar will be the greatest event. It will be a special tournament and the first time it is hosted in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the pandemic is going to impact the fans at this year’s Olympics in Japan, but hopefully next year we will see full stadiums in Qatar for the World Cup. The Olympics and the World Cup are real celebrations of sport where millions of dreams can come true.
● What are your hopes for the World Cup in Qatar?
I have no doubt that it will be the most beautiful World Cup ever organised. And I have one wish – to witness a final featuring Cameroon versus Qatar for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I would encourage everyone to come to Qatar for this special tournament. We have so much to offer here and I hope fans don’t miss the chance to visit and watch two matches a day in the group stage. That is something so unique that they can tell their grandchildren – that’s if they don’t bring their grandchildren with them! There are so many beautiful places to visit here in Doha. Fans can have an amazing holiday while also following their passion, football. The weather in December in Qatar is usually around 20 degrees, so it will be perfect conditions for the players, but also for the fans, who I’m sure will have an amazing time exploring Qatar during the tournament.

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