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Trio Fails to Shine

Mark Namanya/ Twenty Ten

Location: Johannesburg, South Africa

Africa’s top three players disappoint at the World Cup.

When Samuel Eto’o called Cameroon’s exit at the 2010 FIFA World Cup the biggest disappointment of his career, the three-time African Player of the Year knew it had been his last chance to impress soccer fans.

Eto’o, Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba and Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu, were relishing the opportunity to make a mark at the first World Cup to be staged on the African continent. Instead, they left deflated with their tails between their legs. Drogba and Kanu had already said this would be their last World Cup and it now seems that Eto’o may not be too far from retirement.

With an Olympic gold medal, two African Cup of Nations medals, three European Champions League crowns and League and Cup glory in Spain and Italy, Eto’o is arguably Africa’s most decorated player of all time. Last month he became the first player to win back-to-back trebles in European football.

The 29-year-old, however, thrice failed to help Cameroon reach the second round of the World Cup. In fact, not since 1990, when they made it to the quarter finals, have the Indomitable Lions gone beyond the first round. Eto’o’s three World Cup appearances have yielded only two goals.

“All my season was to be ready for this World Cup,” said the Inter Milan forward after Cameroon’s loss to Denmark sealed their fate. “It’s hard. It’s not normal for us to finish last.”

Eto’o’s remarks could be used by Drogba. The passionately patriotic Ivorian...

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