Cameroon team goes on strike over withheld pay
Cameroon captain Samuel Eto'o and his teammates have gone on strike and refused to travel for a friendly against Algeria, saying they haven't been paid appearance money promised to them by their national federation.
The players said they would not travel from Morocco to Algiers for Tuesday's match after complaining for a week that their federation had not fulfilled promises over regular payments owed to them to join up with the national team.
The dispute reportedly centers on a $30,000 appearance bonus for each player.
''Taking into consideration the lack of an appearance bonus, a bonus which is an institution at every (squad) gathering; considering that the problem of bonus payments was already made clear one week ago and that no solution was forthcoming ... the players have decided not to take the trip to Algiers to take part in the scheduled match against Algeria on Nov. 15,'' the players said in a statement.
The Algerian Football Federation (FAF) canceled the match and said it deplored the situation, calling it ''unacceptable and anti-sporting.''
FAF said it was told on Monday by the president of Cameroon's federation that it would be ''impossible'' for Cameroon to travel for the friendly.
''This cancellation is due to an internal administrative problem of the Cameroon national team,'' FAF said. ''FAF deplores this unacceptable and anti-sporting situation.''
A spokesman for the Cameroon federation confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the match had been called off because ''the players have refused to play.''
Junior Binyam said they had been paid for games in the four-nation LG Cup in Morocco, which Cameroon won on Sunday, but conceded squad members hadn't been given their traditional bonus payments for national team camps.
A report on Cameroon football website camfoot.com said the players were ''no longer motivated,'' although they insisted in their statement that they still wanted to play for their country - once the federation honored the payments.
''The players of the national team reiterate their patriotic commitment and call on the football authorities of Cameroon to fulfill the minimum requirements with respect to them (the players),'' they said.
Cameroon - a four-time African champion - is under French coach Denis Lavagne after it failed to qualify for next year's African Cup of Nations, leading to the exit last month of Spaniard Javier Clemente.
The team beat Sudan 3-1 on Friday and edged out Morocco in a penalty shootout in the final of the LG Cup in Marrakech, but then took the decision to go on strike and refused to board a plane for Algiers.