By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com -Cameroon
At a time that political upheavals are putting the African continent into shreds, Cameroon and African football legend Samuel Eto’o thinks football has the power to unite the continent.
Eto’o was speaking in Lagos at an event organized by the Spanish LaLiga.
The four times African player of the year was one of many football greats present in Nigeria for the event over the weekend.
“There is no perfect continent or country in the world (and) I believe this beautiful game can unite people of Africa like nothing else,” Eto’o said.
“Football has a massive power to create unity out of division, joy from sadness and turn a multi-cultural community into one.
“I know politicians too are also aware that meeting the expectations of the people is crucial and football gives them a chance to connect with them.”
Eto’o who announced his retirement aged 38, last year, is arguably the best player of all times from the African continent.
Samuel Eto’o won league titles, the UEFA Champions League and domestic league titles and Cups in Spain and Italy in an illustrious career that saw him grace pitches in Spain, Italy, England, Russia, Turkey and Qatar.
He is also the top scorer of all times for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon with whom he won two African Cup of Nations titles. He is also the competition’s leading goal getter of all times with 18 goals.
He represented Cameroon in the 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He helped Cameroon to an Olympics Gold Medal win in the Sydney Olympic Games in Australia in 2000. He was also an integral part of the Cameroon team that reached the finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003, losing the final to France.
“Football is a powerful religion – it preaches peace, bonding and love,” the former Barcelona forward told BBC Sports.
“It has also given an opportunity to a lot of African professionals to help inspire the young ones, build their communities and give the young generation something to hope for.
“In Africa we all play football as kids in any part of the continent without any idea what the future holds.
“We need to properly use this game to engage our youth, unite the people and share in the power of football.”
Eto’o is currently one of the advisers to CAF’s President Ahmad Ahmad.
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