• News

Eto’o: I had to hide to play football when I was a kid

Getty Images

Samuel Eto’o has looked back at a difficult childhood he faced and revealed how he even had to hide from his parents in order to play football.

Former Barcelona and Inter Milan forward Samuel Eto’o recalls how he had to hide to play football as a kid with his parents, not in support of him playing the sport.

The Cameroonian legend revealed that he was barred by his parents from playing football but refused to give up on something he loved.

It is a common scenario among a lot of African players and Eto’o looks back at a tough childhood he had to endure before going on to star in Europe.

“During the pandemic, I have been thinking about the wonderful memories football brought me during my childhood,” said Eto’o as per Fifa.com.

“I lived and breathed football – but my parents were very hard on me. They did not accept the fact that I played football because to them football was something children played if they didn’t go to school.

“I was obviously going to school and I was not a bad student, but I had a passion, which was football,

“I vividly remember one day I played a game in my city and I had to hide in order to go play. What I didn’t know is that my dad was with some friends in the bar in front of the field.

It will all change one day when Eto’o was caught by his father out on the street playing football. It turned out to be for the best.

“I was the hero of my neighbourhood after that game. That day, when I returned home, my father arrived a little later and said: ‘You are so good, I saw your match today. I’m going to talk to your mother so you can keep playing.” Eto’o added.

“That is how he gave me a ‘pass’ to keep playing. I was about 12 or 13 years old.

“From that moment on there was no looking back. I had the blessing of my father and you could not keep me off that football pitch. Day or night. From there, it was one or two years before I went to Europe, and my life changed forever.”