Eto'o fires warning shot


LUBANGO, January 13 – Star striker Samuel Eto'o says Cameroon are set to inflict more pain on neighbours Gabon when they clash Wednesday in the Africa Cup of Nations.The central Africa countries came face to face twice within four days last September in qualifiers for the 2010 Angola tournament and a Cameroon team revitalised by French coach Paul le Guen triumphed home and away.

Inter Milan goal poacher Eto’o scored in Libreville and Yaounde and says his Nations Cup targets are to lead Cameroon to a fifth title and beat the individual goal record for one tournament.

Cameroon expect to win a mini-league completed by Tunisia and Zambia and have been widely grouped with defending champions Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria as the biggest threats to Cup favourites Ivory Coast.

Mulamba Ndaye from the Democratic Republic of Congo set a nine-goal record at the 1974 tournament in Egypt and while Eto’o has been leading scorer at the 2006 and 2008 editions, he managed only five each time.

Captain Eto’o and his Indomitable Lions launch their campaign at the new 20,000-seat Chinese-built Tundavala Stadium in this southern town in the first half of a double-header completed by 2004 champions Tunisia against Zambia.

"Our nickname has plenty of significance. The lion symbolises someone who wants to command territory, earn respect and be feared. We will do our best to become kings of Africa," Eto’o told reporters.

"The coach united us at a difficult time last year when we had to win games. He is a great psychologist and a great coach with modern ideas. We are thrilled that his contract has been renewed.

"We are playing as a unit which explains our run of victories in the qualifying competition and are ready to challenge Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria for the title."

Eto’o, midfielders Jean Makoun and Alexandre Song, veteran defender Rigobert Song and goalkeeper Idriss Kameni form the core of a Cameroon team seeking to emulate their compatriots of 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2002 and conquer Africa.

While Cameron boast stars like Eto’o who are household names throughout the continent, out-of-favour Hull City striker Daniel Cousin is probably the best known Gabon footballer because of his English Premiership connection.

Opposing Le Guen will be compatriot Alain Giresse, who formed a magical France midfield quartet with Michel Platini, Jean Tigana and Luis Fernandez during the 1980s.

And he does not harbour fond memories of Cameroon with the Nations Cup qualifying losses coming after an equally painful defeat by their neighbours in the first edition of the African Nations Championship for local footballers.

Giresse resigned amid media and public fury after a Libreville loss eliminated Gabon from the qualifiers only to alter his decision following discussions with a sympathetic government minister.