YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) — It fits with the stormy international career of Samuel Eto'o that his retirement should be clouded in mystery, leaving his national coach unwilling to talk about it and players and Cameroon supporters unsure what to believe.
"I cannot tell if the decision is definite," Cameroon midfielder Jean Makoun said.
Once banned for 15 games by his national federation for rallying players to go on strike, and often at odds with football bosses in his country, the 32-year-old Chelsea striker told teammates he was quitting the national team after Sunday's win over Libya, which sealed a place in the final World Cup playoffs.
Eto'o has not made any public announcement, however, and has threatened to quit before.
Cameroon has just a month before the decisive tie for a place in Brazil next year. Roger Milla, Cameroon's 1990 World Cup hero and its most influential player before Eto'o, said the retirement was linked to the country's "rotten" football management amid reports Eto'o quit after arguing with coach Volker Finke over team selection.
"His decision to quit the national team is not a haphazard move," former striker Milla said. "It is a strong signal he is once again sending to the authorities."
Cameroon also was recently temporarily suspended from world football by FIFA and the federation's problems have often brought the rebellious streak of the gifted Eto'o to the fore, leading him to clash with authorities, threaten to give up internationals on other occasions, disagree with coaches, and have his loyalty to the team questioned.
One former player didn't believe Eto'o had retired.
"A footballer who quits with the Brazil World Cup just months away?" former Cameroon forward Patrick Mboma wrote on Facebook this week. "No way! I would really love to speak with Eto'o as soon as possible."
Eto'o made his international debut as a teenager in 1997 and won two African Cups with Cameroon in 2000 and 2002, establishing himself as one of the world's top strikers by the time he was 20. He was voted Africa's player of the year four times and is his country's all-time leading goalscorer.
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