Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o has been handed a 15-match ban by his country's FA after he organized a strike of a friendly versus Algeria in November that had to be cancelled when the players refused to travel for the match. The suspension was announced on the FA's official website after a hearing and Eto'o now has two weeks to appeal. If he chooses not to appeal or he loses his appeal, Eto'o will miss the beginning of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying and 2014 World Cup qualifying.
The players refused to travel to the Algeria friendly after they failed to receive their bonuses and fees from their participation in a mini-tournament in Morocco. After deciding to bypass the friendly, they released the following statement:
"The problem of the fees was raised a week ago and no solution has been found," the players said. "The team played with commitment and professionalism in Marrakesh, but have decided not to go to Algeria to play the match scheduled for 15 November."
Eto'o has been singled out as the organizer of the strike and was handed by far the biggest suspension, although vice-captain Enoh Eyong was also punished with a two-match suspension and Benoit Assou-Ekotto was fined.
While Cameroon may feel justified in having taken this action, it very well could prove to do more harm than good. Eto'o has been the driving force of the Indomitable Lions and now they could miss out on two international tournaments due to his 15-match absence. That is assuming he doesn't respond from international football, something that has been speculated in the aftermath of the strike and suspension