Samuel Eto’o’s return to the Cameroon national football team was confirmed on Tuesday when the midfielder was named in a revamped squad for the decisive African Nations Cup qualifier against the Cape Verde Islands.
Eto’o had refused to play in the first leg of the tie after labelling the set-up around the team amateurish and last year led a boycott of a friendly in Algeria in a row over unpaid bonuses.
The four-times African Footballer of the Year said last week he had decided to make himself available for the national side again following a meeting with Prime Minister Philemon Yang.
Eto’o appeared on a list of 26 players for the October 14 match in Yaounde, the first game in charge for coach Jean Paul Akono, who replaced Frenchman Denis Lavagne after his removal following the 2-0 first-leg defeat in Praia last month.
The aggregate winners of the tie will qualify for the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.
Also included are veteran fullback Pierre Wome, midfielder Jean Makoun, who had boycotted the team alongside Eto’o, and former French junior international Jean Armel Kana Biyik of Stade Rennes, whose father Andre was an influential member of the Cameroon team that reached the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals.
“My first major challenge was to bring back some very key players who suspended their participation in the national team and reconcile them to restore calm and serenity ahead of this major encounter,” Akono told Reuters.
“The second major challenge will be to win the crucial game by scoring at least three goals and conceding nothing.
“I know it shall be a very difficult task because Cape Verde is no more the lowly-rated squad we used to know. They now also have many key professional players in Europe. But, all things put together, I am sure we can still make it.”