Monday, July 15, 2013

The day I met Samuel Eto’o


While working on a Swiss flight in 2011, I was at the A-22 boarding gate when I was sent to get the UV light apparatus from the office by Nichola Papassavas for Documents Check. I walked past the Police immigration area and then reached the spot where passengers pay airport tax. The Air France VIP lounge is directly opposite the airport tax spot. In front of the lounge, stood a man of average height. I hadn’t looked at his face but when I took a quick glance, I began wondering if he was Samuel Eto’o’s brother because he looked exactly like Eto’o. But I noticed that everybody around was staring at him. I looked at the man again and he was…..actually Samuel Eto’o himself! I had not in my slightest imagination thought that the person I first glanced at was him though I can recognize him very well just like every other football loving Cameroonian. You know that feeling when you just think you’ll always see celebrities on television, not in person! It was the same for me that day.

I walked past him slowly without greeting him, (nothing like that) but I turned around and watched him for about fifteen seconds. He looked a lot shorter than the ‘tall’ Eto’o I always watched playing in FC Barcelona and Inter Milan. I always thought he was taller than me but that day, I realized that I was taller than Eto’o. My mind raced a little and I remembered that, Cameroon had just played a Nations Cup qualifier against DR Congo in Kinshasa which they won, 3-2 but it had been a useless victory, since it had not fetched the Lions qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. So he had surely travelled back to Douala and was returning to Europe via Air France. I started wondering why he had not flown with his private jet like he always does. Then some two street boys walked towards him and started begging for money. I shook my head desolately and continued walking to the office to get the UV light apparatus. Mayne, I just saw the most decorated African footballer and triple Champions League winning Pitchitchi!!!