Soccer-Forget setbacks and aim for World Cup, says Eto'o

YAOUNDE Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:31pm GMT

YAOUNDE Nov 14 (Reuters) - Cameroon soccer captain Samuel Eto'o has called on his country to forget recent poor performances and concentrate on qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil.

"The failures we have experienced in recent years have been a huge frustration but that's life, with its moments of joy and also its moments of sadness," Eto'o said in an interview with the official daily Cameroon Tribune on Wednesday.

It was the first comment from the four-times African Footballer of the Year since Cameroon missed out on African Nations Cup qualification last month, embarrassingly to the tiny Cape Verde Islands.

Once a force in African football, Cameroon have lost form in recent years, to a chorus of consternation in the central African country.

"Nowadays, I think that the most important (thing) is the future. We should draw lessons from our mistakes of the past, recover, heal our wounds and move forward," Eto'o said.

"I believe deeply that failure can be the foundation of success. We must build on these frustration to find the strength necessary to bounce back," added the 31-year-old striker as Cameroon prepared to take on Albania in a friendly in Geneva on Wednesday.

"The Indomitable Lions are one big family. The players realise the responsibility to the people of Cameroon. It's our duty to live up positively to the expectations. I think we are in the right direction."

Eto'o had refused to play in the first leg of the tie against Cape Verde, labelling the set-up around the team amateurish. Last year, he led a boycott of a friendly against Algeria in a row over unpaid bonuses.

Cameroon have three points from two matches in their qualification group. They next play Togo at home in March. (Editing by Mark Gleeson and Clare Fallon)