Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o announced that a charity match on Saturday in the Turkish city of Antalya – aimed at raising money for his foundation – was postponed until further notice following an attempted coup in the country.
A number of football stars were already in Antalya to support Eto’o, who currently plays for Turkish side Antalyaspor, including Nigeria’s Kanu Nwankwo and Jay-Jay Okocha, Ghana’s Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien and Ivory Coast’s Kolo Toure.
Ghana-born Marcel Desailly, Carles Puyol, Deco and former England manager Fabio Capello were also there for the game between a World Stars side and Turkey Stars team which had been organised to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Fundación Privada Samuel Eto’o in Turkey.
Eto’o, a four-time African Footballer of the Year, took to his social media accounts to reveal the charity match had to be cancelled due to the unrest in the country.
“Dear all, I am sorry to announce that for security reasons, Eto’o Charity Match, that was supposed to take place today [Saturday] at 8pm at Antalya Arena, is postponed until further notice. I thank each and everyone of you for your continuous support and count on your understanding. #Love.”
As well as Lionel Messi and Didier Drogba, Luis Suarez, Diego Maradona, Neymar, Eden Hazard, Francesco Totti, Xavi, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Andres Iniesta, Demba Ba and Arda Turan were all expected to travel for the game.
Established ten years ago, the Fundación Privada Samuel Eto’o charity was created as a non-profit organisation striving to raise awareness of the needs of the African continent.
Its goal is the protection of children and young people, providing emergency aid and encouraging education, basic health and social inclusion for the disadvantaged in order to help them create opportunities for the future, according to its website.
Eto’o, Cameroon’s 54-goal all-time leading scorer, announced his retirement from international football in August 2014.
The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter, Chelsea and Everton player made his international debut in 1997 during a 5-0 defeat to Costa Rica.
He went on to become an Olympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000, scoring in the final against Spain to take the match to extra-time and also slotting home his kick in the penalty shoot-out victory.
Eto’o is the leading all-time scorer in the Nations Cup with 18 goals and he appeared at four World Cup finals – 1998, 2002, 2010 and 2014 – playing in eight matches and scoring three goals.
His last match for Cameroon was the 1-0 defeat by Mexico at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.