Skip to Content

Samuel Eto’o Kicked A Guy In The Face At The World Cup

Cameroonian Football Federation President Samuel Eto'o during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group G match between Cameroon and Serbia at Al Janoub Stadium on November 28, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar.
Stephen McCarthy/FIFA via Getty Images

Cameroon soccer president and Qatar World Cup ambassador Samuel Eto'o is well known for being outspoken and grandiose, particularly when boosting his country's national team and soccer in Africa as a whole. He's also a bit of a loose cannon, and can now add "aspiring kickboxer" to his storied legacy.

Following the round-of-16 match between South Korea and Brazil, Eto'o was wandering around the fan grounds outside of Stadium 974 in Doha, taking photos with mostly Brazil-clad fans. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but when a man holding a video camera came up to him, Eto'o seemingly lost it.

The 41-year-old, who remained in Qatar in his Global Legacy Ambassador position for the Qatar World Cup committee (whatever that means) after his country was eliminated in the group stage, began chasing after and yelling at the man, who has been identified as Said Mamouni, an Algerian YouTuber. He was held back while another man took the video camera, but as Mamouni was bending over and trying to get his camera back, Eto'o got loose and delivered a Seth Rollinsesque knee strike to the YouTuber's face:

Luckily, Mamouni was able to walk away, while Eto'o was pulled back and away from the scene. Reports began to leak out that the reason for Eto'o's anger and subsequent kick to the face was that the man was referencing Bakary Gassama, a Gambian referee who worked the Algeria-Cameroon World Cup qualifier back in April. Algerian fans and instruments of the soccer apparatus in the country have since claimed that Gassama was "scandalous" in that game in favor of Cameroon, with some going as far as claiming that the Indomitable Lions bribed Gassama. That last bit is what is important here: In a YouTube video posted on Tuesday, Mamouni confirmed that he had asked Eto'o if Cameroon had bribed Gassama, which led to the irate response from the Cameroonian.

According to the Associated Press, Qatari World Cup organizers immediately claimed that Eto'o was not at this game in his capacity as an ambassador, though I'd argue that the committee hitched its wagon to a bunch of former stars (other Global Legacy Ambassadors include Australia's Tim Cahill, Brazil's Cafu, and Barcelona manager Xavi) and so everything they do while at the World Cup is in that role. It's fitting, then, that a World Cup marred by human rights abuses, bribery scandals, and a complete loss of control from FIFA has an ambassador who is out there kicking people in the face.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter