Samuel Eto'o has boldly predicted that Cameroon will win the World Cup in Qatar this year. He said that the Indomitable Lions will bring the trophy home after defeating Morocco in the final.
The World Cup will begin on November 20 in Doha, and the former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker is very optimistic that this year will be the year that African teams will reach their full potential and bring the coveted trophy to the continent for the very first time.
According to Eto'o, African teams have always had the potential to have a successful World Cup, but up until now, we haven't always put on our best performances.
African teams have gained experience over the years, and he believes they are now qualified to not only compete in a World Cup but also to win it. Etoo stated, "Cameroon will defeat Morocco in the World Cup final.”
"Eto'o even dared to map out each nation's path to the final, which will take place on December 18 at the newly constructed Lusail Stadium. Cameroon will send Belgium and Senegal home in the quarterfinals and semifinals before overcoming Morocco. He claimed that Morocco would have eliminated Spain, Portugal, and France.
The former Cameroon international wants his countrymen to be inspired by the Inter Milan team he was a part of, which, despite all the odds, defeated teams like Barcelona and Bayern Munich en route to winning the Champions League in 2010.
"I don't understand why we can't succeed," he said. I think that in order to win the World Cup, one only needs to be well-prepared, have a strong mentality and a little bit of lucky. He added that "as the head of our federation, I would dearly love to see Cameroon win the World Cup.
"Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and Ghana will be the other four African teams competing at the World Cup. In order for Eto'o's predictions to come true, Morocco, which is now ranked 22nd in the world according to FIFA, will need to advance out of Group F, which also includes Belgium, Croatia, and Canada. Cameroon is in Group G along with Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland.
As expected, bookmakers disagree with Eto'o. Brazil is now the favorite over Argentina, France, and England. The only countries with longer odds are Iran, Australia, Tunisia, Costa Rica, and Saudi Arabia. Cameroon and Morocco are priced at 250/1.
Bookmakers argue that it's almost impossible for any African team to even reach the semifinals because of lack of quality. African teams have frequently appeared in prior World Cups, but none of them has ever advanced further than the semifinals.
Only three African teams have ever advanced past the quarterfinals: Senegal (2002), Ghana (2010), and Cameroon (1990), but none have advanced past the last four. Ghana almost progressed to the semifinals in 2010, but became unlucky and lost to Uruguay. That memory of Luiz Suarez handling the ball at the goal line and Asamoah Gyan failing to score from the spot still haunts many Ghanaian football fans.
Eto'o represented Cameroon between 1997 and 2014 and played at four World Cups. He scored 56 goals in 118 games for the Indomitable Lions. As the national football association president, he has unwavering faith in his team, which is currently ranked 43rd globally. Cameroon came in third at the previous Africa Cup of Nations after losing to Egypt on penalties in the semifinal.
It remains to be seen how African teams will fare at this year’s World Cup. Many football fans have dismissed Eto'o’s bold and wild predictions.