Samuel Eto’o reminisced about watching Diego Maradona in a Argentina vs Cameroon match in a group game at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
Maradona captained La Albiceleste at the tournament but Cameroon’s Francois Omam-Biyik stood out as the hero at the San Siro Stadium after scoring the only goal that separated the two teams in the 67th minute.
It was an eventful outing for the Indomitable Lions who had two players – Andre Kana-Biyik and Benjamin Massing – sent off in the second half.
Eto’o, who was nine years old at that time, recalled how hundreds of people gathered to watch the game in his neighbourhood, and he described the victory as ‘the hope’ which motivated the younger players back home.
“We watched it with 2,000 people in our neighbourhood in front of one TV,” Eto’o was quoted by AS.
“When Diego said hello to our captain and then started juggling the ball on his shoulder, I thought we’re going to lose 10-0.
“And when we won that was so important for us, it gave so much hope to the youngsters in our country. Cameroon has beaten Argentina! That gave us hope!”
Cameroon topped Group B while Argentina followed in the second position. The Central African country reached the quarter-finals of the tournament where they were eliminated by England.
Maradona passed away on Wednesday at the age of 60 after suffering from cardiac arrest. In his tribute to the 1986 World Cup winner, Eto’o described the former Barcelona and Napoli star as a god who lives on.
“I told my friend, that has to be a joke and it’s a terrible joke, because Maradona will always be with us,” he said.
“He was the idol for a whole generation, and for future generations, for what he did in football. He was from another planet. Diego, you’re god, you’ll always be alive in our hearts.”