YAOUNDE: Cameroon skipper Samuel Etoo admitted yesterday that he needs a miracle if he is to shake off a right knee injury in time to play in tomorrow’s crucial World Cup clash against Croatia.
The 33-year-old striker had a quiet game in Cameroon’s 1-0 Group A defeat to Mexico on Friday and was not even present at team training at Vitoria, near Belo Horizonte, on Sunday.
“I am hoping the gods grant me a miracle and that I am able to defend my dear, beautiful country,” Etoo told Cameroon Radio-Television (CRTV).
“If this is not the case, I will always play my role as captain and especially as the big brother to push my young teammates to victory.
“For three and a half months, I have not had the time to recover. You could see that even in the build-up to the World Cup I hadn’t had a lot of practice until the friendly against Germany.”
He added: “During the first match of the World Cup against Mexico, I tried but after consulting the medical staff we realised that I needed a rest. Even in the ninth minute, I felt pain.”
Etoo suffered a right knee injury at the end of his club season with Chelsea.
“He didn’t train on Saturday or Sunday,” said Cameroon coach Volker Finke. After facing Croatia -- beaten 3-1 by Brazil in their Group A opener -- Cameroon will face the hosts on June 23.
Finke said it was imperative Cameroon, who last won at the World Cup finals against Saudi Arabia in 2002, emerged victorious over a Croatia team beaten 3-1 by Brazil in the tournament opener.
”They are in the same situation as us, they lost their opener. If you have zero points after the first game, you do not talk too much, you just have to win at all costs.
“Croatia is a team that has good players.... it is clear that this is a good team,” the coach added.AGENCIES