‘I should have won 12 times'
Kickoff|February 2020
Samuel Eto’o announced his retirement from professional football in 2019 and leaves behind a legacy that many consider sees him as the greatest African footballer of all time with 18 major titles won for club and country. KICK OFF’s Lorenz Kohler sat down with the four-time CAF African Player of the Year at the Duqesa de Cardona hotel in Barcelona before El Clasico to find out his role in the Castle Lager Africa Fives project and look back on an iconic career that started back in 1997.

KICK OFF: Samuel, you need no introduction as a legend of African football, but tell us, what is your involvement with Africa Five’s with Castle Lager South Africa?

Samuel Eto’o: About my influence, you have to judge for yourself what influence I have in Africa, I’m a big name in Africa. The Africa Fives experience is a very good idea, I joined Castle Lager on this project because I like to help people keep dreaming. This project of five-a-side is also interesting. What I saw with the Uganda women is very special because they started dreaming, taking them from Uganda to here [Camp Nou]. That was very special to me because I saw their faces and how happy they were to be here and this is the kind of experience I love to give to the kids of Africa. I’m always trying to give back what people gave to me.

What boundaries need to be broken to get these talented Africans to thrive at the elite level of European football like you did?

The first problem is us, Africans. We have to know what we want, what is our goal trajectory because that very important, what is possible to get success. This is the first problem we face. Then it’s opportunity, when you want to represent these kinds of clubs in Spanish football, you need to have opportunity and opportunity is everything.

You’ve been a big advocate for Sadio Mane, RiyadMahrez and Mohamed Salah to earn recognition at the highest level. Mane’s fourth place in the Ballon d’Or, in particular, raised eye-brows. What more can be done for an African to break into the top-three or even win it again, like GeorgeWeah did in 1995?

The problem is not about European people or South American people [when it comes to voting in Ballon d’Or], the problem is from African people. It’s not normal. [Lionel] Messi is winning in South America, [Virgil] van Dijk is winning all of Europe, Sadio Mane didn’t win in Africa! Something is wrong, the problem is clearly Africa, the problem is now the opposition has an easy job when the African media didn’t do their job and it’s such an easy job for them. The African needs to know nobody else will come do their job for them – it’s impossible.

What about the development of African football? In terms of professionalism of leagues, CAF competitions and bridging the gap of Europe, whereby club’s won’t look to shortchange clubs for star players due to their inexperience at their ‘level’?

The problem is down to each individual [when it comes to development struggles], we need to make extended effort to improve African football collectively because it’s not promoted well. Like Castle Lager is doing now so successfully, the problem, individually [as players, leagues, media, federations] we have to push and make a greater effort.

What do you hope to achieve with Castle’s Africa Fives and in the long-term with the Confederation of African Football?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM KICKOFFView All

‘There is more coming'

The arrival of German coach Josef Zinnbauer at Orlando Pirates has coincided with Gabadinho Mhango suddenly raising his performance. His seven goals in Zinnbauer’s first four matches have elevated him to double figures already with a loud shout in the top scorers’ award chase. As Malawi’s top export, Mhango knows he is representing many back home, and thus carries the desire to aim high. He spoke to KICK OFF’s Lovemore Moyo, revealing he believes there is more coming from him.

7 mins read
Kickoff
February 2020

‘I should have won 12 times'

Samuel Eto’o announced his retirement from professional football in 2019 and leaves behind a legacy that many consider sees him as the greatest African footballer of all time with 18 major titles won for club and country. KICK OFF’s Lorenz Kohler sat down with the four-time CAF African Player of the Year at the Duqesa de Cardona hotel in Barcelona before El Clasico to find out his role in the Castle Lager Africa Fives project and look back on an iconic career that started back in 1997.

8 mins read
Kickoff
February 2020

The incredible coaching journey of Pitso Mosimane

If Mamelodi Sundowns go on and retain their Absa Premiership title at the end of the season, Pitso Mosimane will have won a fifth championship and become the most successful coach in the history of the sport in South Africa. Soweto-born Mosimane has an all-consuming passion for the game, starting in his playing career and now well into his mid-50s. His hunger for victory remains all too evident, even if the novelty of winning is now long past. With Sundowns he has won four of the last six league championships, and in so doing, matched the feats of four titles won by the likes of Jeff Butler, Ted Dumitru, Gordon Igesund and Gavin Hunt. But he has already gone one better than them by also winning the African Champions League – the Holy Grail on the continent. But how did Mosimane start out coaching, what fueled his passion and what was his journey to the top. It is a fascinating insight, told exclusively to KICK OFF’s Mark Gleeson.

10+ mins read
Kickoff
February 2020

The Best Of South Africa's Clasico

Kaizer Chiefs versus Orlando Pirates is one of football’s great derby matches with a rich history, both good and bad, that has helped to create a sports event that is the biggest in South Africa. It is perhaps the only fixture that can bring the country to a stand-still and down the years there has been some epic fixtures. KICK OFF’s Mark Gleeson picks out 10 of the best.

10+ mins read
Kickoff
February 2020

Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

Three months after taking over Orlando Pirates, Rhulani Mokwena hasn’t elevated the club to where the fans expected. This has naturally raised questions about whether it was premature to hand him the job. KICK OFF’s Lovemore Moyo investigates Mokwena’s appointment, tenure and what could possibly be the way forward.

9 mins read
Kickoff
December 2019

‘We Know How To Win The League'

Mamelodi Sundowns winger Lyle Lakay feels that there is no need to panic over the pace that Kaizer Chiefs have set in the Absa Premiership championship race, insisting that the Brazilians have the edge in terms of experience. KICK OFF’s Lovemore Moyo spoke to the 28-year-old, who spent most of his five years at Bloemfontein Celtic trying to get out of the club.

8 mins read
Kickoff
December 2019

Chiefs' Missing Link

Kaizer Chiefs’ excellent start to the 2019/20 Premier Soccer League season has been a great team effort, but there is one man who stands out head and shoulders above the rest as the catalyst for their upturn in fortunes. Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic was a little-known journeyman forward before he arrived at Naturena at the beginning of the campaign, but has almost single-handedly improved the side’s attacking fortunes. KICK OFF’s Nick Said investigates what makes Nurkovic such a quality addition and why he can fire Chiefs to the league title.

8 mins read
Kickoff
December 2019

Umahamba Yedwa – The Lone Ranger

It’s tough living in a world where you watch European football from the sidelines, without colours to nail to the mast. Globalisation of the English game, as well as the Spanish and Italian leagues has compelled us to form allegiance with one or more European countries. But, KICK OFF’s Stephen Kihn, who is without friend or foe in any international league, has found the loneliness of a vegetarian at a braai, as he navigates his way through the football world without a club to support.

3 mins read
Kickoff
September 2017

Premature Return?

From the moment a young, scrawny but immensely talented Ayanda Patosi walked through the doors of the now defunct Africa Soccer Development (ASD) Academy in Cape Town, he looked destined for Europe. Following six relatively successful years in Belgium, the 24-year-old somewhat surprisingly signed for ambitious Premier Soccer League club Cape Town City in June. Was his return an easy, desperate or premature move? Or did it purely make sense for all parties? Here, his former academy principal, and Patosi himself, give their views.

6 mins read
Kickoff
September 2017

Micho Needs Mucho Macho 

If former Bucs coach Kjell Jonevret is to be believed, being the head coach of Orlando Pirates is a bit like being the White House chief of staff. In both jobs, you are granted just enough power to understand, slowly and painfully, just how powerless you actually are. This is not to equate Irvin Khoza with Donald Trump. The two men are worlds apart – not least because Khoza must have at least 50 IQ points on that mighty moron with his thumb on the nuke button.

3 mins read
Kickoff
September 2017
RELATED STORIES

Winning a Wager on U.S. Sports Betting

Fantasy football app FanDuel converts players into gamblers

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
September 27, 2021

Nate Expectations

As a former football star, an analyst on The NFL Today, and a new co-host of CBS’s morning show, Emmy Award–winning Nate Burleson shows his versatility every time he’s on camera. And he’s just getting started.

10+ mins read
CBS Watch! Magazine
September/October 2021

Q&A with Miami Dolphins Legend Richmond Webb

I was lucky enough to interview the legend, Richmond Webb. For those Dolphins fans who live under a rock, Webb is one of the greatest Miami Dolphins players ever and their greatest left tackle of all time.

10+ mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

To do list

GAME PLAN

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
October 2021

RON BOSS EVERLINE

In today’s hustle culture, hungry entrepreneurs are encouraged to do as much as humanly possible. Having a job just isn’t enough.

4 mins read
Inked
November 2021

Should I text him first?

Dear Carol

10+ mins read
Girls' Life magazine
October/November 2021

WEEK 2: GIANTS AT WFT

Primetime divisional showdown in DC

3 mins read
The Giant Insider
September 19, 2021

How good can the defense be?

Had it not been for the Miami Dolphins’ defense last season, they would not have won 10 games.

3 mins read
Dolphin Digest
September 20, 2021

‘We're constantly trying to evolve'

For more on what’s happening within Buffalo’s offense, here are some highlights from offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s recent press conferences.

6 mins read
Bills Digest
August 29, 2021

South Africa Faces an Energy Dilemma

POWER FAILURES have become routine in South Africa. At the same time, the country wants to wean itself off the coal that generates more than 80% of its electricity and makes it the world’s 12th-biggest source of greenhouse gases.

4 mins read
Bloomberg Markets
August - September 2021