KUFSTEIN - Samuel Eto'o and Cameroon's other World Cup stars are locked in a battle with their federation over bonuses for the tournament, press reports said. The African team, who will be playing in their seventh finals in Brazil, beat Macedonia 2-0 in a warmup match in Austria on Monday.
Back home the players face mounting press criticism over their wage demands. The Cameroon government last week offered 61,000 euros, which the players rejected, and then increased it to 68,000 euros, which was also turned down, Cameroon daily Le Jour reported. Le Jour said the players were demanding more than 120 million CFA francs (182,000 euros) each. The daily blasted the demand as "indecent".
The Nouvelle Expression daily said there is "tension" over the bonuses, which have been a regular problems between the players and their bosses.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when Cameroon failed to get a point and slumped out after the first round, the players received a reported 65,000 euros. The team reached the quarter finals in 1990 but have otherwise failed to get past the first round.
Their record has been picked up by critics in the latest money dispute. "It is urgent to question the unfettered mercantilism of the 'soldiers' of another kind for whom we are still waiting for the first prizes on the battle field," said Le Jour. Eto'o watched from the substitutes bench as Cameroon, who start the World Cup in Group A against Brazil, Croatia and Mexico, confidently beat Macedonia in Kufstein.
Cameroon coach Volker Finke suffered a shock however when Pierre Webo performed a spectacular scissors kick for the first goal in the 52nd minute but fell on his shoulder and had to be helped off the field. Finke played down the gravity of the injury to the Fenerbahce striker, however, saying: "I don't think it's too serious." Choupo Moting, who plays in Germany, scored the second goal.
Cameroon's first match is against Mexico on June 13, before Croatia on June 18 and Brazil on June 23. Finke did not talk about the bonus dispute. He said "it is a difficult group, but we are not going their for a holiday." The team have a second warmup game against Paraguay in Austria on Thursday.