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Cameroon: Eto’o's Promise – ‘I’ll Bring Messi Along Next Year’

Posted by Admin on Jul 23rd, 2010 and filed under Afrique, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Sammy Kitula|23 July 2010|The Nation (Nairobi)

After a successful hosting of the inaugural Laikipia and Beyond Unity Cup (LUC) football tournament, LUC’s patron Samuel Eto’o has promised the residents of Laikipia a lifetime present at next year’s edition: to invite Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

“I promise to be back next year for the second edition of the tournament. I want you to have the same spirit. I’ll try to bring Lionel Messi with me, I’m sure he’ll accept my invitation.”

Gifted with a lethal left foot, outstanding vision, near-unstoppable dribbling skills and sublime technique, Messi is a sight to behold.

Add in his explosive changes of pace, timing and nose for goal – a trait particularly in evidence in La Liga 2010 – and you have an idea why fans from Laikipia can’t wait for 2011.

“I can’t wait to see that world class player. He’s the best in the world. Mimi hupenda vile yeye huchenga wasee jo, (I really admire how he dribbles past players),” said William Muhinja from Central Rhinos, who was voted the tournament’s best player.

Historic day

After a rather disastrous outing with the Indomitable Lions at the 2010 World Cup coming against a backdrop of high expectations from Africans to perform at the top notch level, Eto’o drew incredulous gasps upon his arrival in Nanyuki.

“We were told to expect him but no one believed he would really come,” marvelled 22-year-old John Bosco Murithi.

Inter Milan and Cameroon football star Samuel Eto'o takes a shot during Laikipia Unity Cup at Nanyuki Municipal Stadium on July 21,2010. Eto'o heads a community football initiative to promote peace among Kenyan tribes. Eto'o is the ambassador for Zeitz foundation which seeks to create and support sustainable, socially and ecologically responsible projects in destinations around the world.(photo: Dennis Okeyo)

“The young people thought it was another deception. This is like a miracle. It is a historic day for football in this area and will give new confidence to this whole region because almost nothing ever makes it this far up-country.”

Eighteen-year-old form four student Sam Gitonga concured. “Now that I have seen him Live,” he declared. “This will inspire me forever.”

He watched as Central Rhinos edged out Northern Elephants 7-6 on post-match penalties in the finals of the month-long tournament, met several soccer academy kids, dined to the soothing sounds of Kenyan songbirds, but Eto’o will live to remember Kenya mainly for the heroic welcome he received.

Conservation efforts

“I didn’t expect what I saw here. I thought I would just find a few journalists and maybe some airport workers. But the many fans I saw impressed me. It was overwhelming,” said the Cameroonian star.

The Inter Milan striker visited the country earlier this year at the invitation of Zeitz Foundation, when he launched the tournament aimed at boosting conservation efforts in the Laikipia region.

“The first edition of the LUC has scored goals on and outside the field. By bringing communities together, promoting environmental wellbeing of people here, has truly made a difference,” said Jochen Zeitz, founder of the Zeitz Foundation.

“When I get back to Inter (Milan), I’ll make sure I pass your regards to McDonald Mariga,” said Eto’o, before he boarded a Police van from the Nanyuki Municipal Stadium.

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