Former international Samuel Eto’o will lead Cameroonian football for the next four years after being elected head of the country’s FA on Saturday.
The four-time African footballer of the year defeated his rival Seidou Mbombo Njoya, the fourth vice-president of the African Football Confederation.
Seven candidates should have stood for election, but five of them withdrew on election morning.
Eto’o, 40, has promised a wide range of reforms to make the sport thrive.
“We must put footballers at the center of our policies,” he said afterwards. “It is our role to ensure that those who practice this discipline make a decent living from it.”
The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea star has also pledged to build at least 10 stadiums during his tenure.
“I have spoken to the business community and we are sure that we will have the right investors who can support us in achieving our goals,” Eto’o said before the elections.
Eto’o’s candidacy attracted public attention with the rally’s debates broadcast live on Cameroonian national television.
He will now head the FA of Cameroon (Fecafoot) when the country hosts the African Cup of Nations in January and February.
Among those who abandoned their candidacy on Saturday morning were former Cameroonian internationals Maboang Kesack and Jules Denis Onana.
The brilliant career continues
Arguably Africa’s best football export in recent times, Eto’o – Cameroon’s all-time top scorer – joined Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1996 at the age of 16 before spells of ready with Leganes, Espanyol and Mallorca.
He signed a permanent contract with Mallorca in 2000, scoring 54 goals in 133 appearances to establish himself as the team’s all-time top scorer.
A move to Barcelona followed in 2004 where the former Cameroonian captain won three La Liga titles, helping the Catalans to two European Champions League triumphs in 2006 and 2009, scoring in both finals.
In 2006, Eto’o became the first and only African to win the Spanish Golden Boot after scoring 26 times in 34 matches.
The forward scored 108 goals in 144 games for the Camp Nou side before joining Inter Milan in 2009, where he won his third Champions League title as well as a Serie A title and the Coupe du FIFA club world in 2010.
Internationally, Eto’o helped the Indomitable Lions win two successive African Cups of Nations in 2000 and 2002 and became the tournament’s top scorer with 18 goals.
In 2000, he guided Cameroon to an Olympic gold medal, scoring in the final.