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Coach: Samuel Eto'o to retire from international play

Photo: Andy Mead/YCJ/Icon SMI

Samuel Eto'o has played for Cameroon since 1997 and is the country's all-time leading scorer.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) -- Cameroon coach Volker Finke appeared to confirm Sunday that Samuel Eto'o had retired from internationals after reports the Chelsea striker told teammates the victory over Libya in a World Cup qualifier was his last game for his country.

Asked about any retirement, Finke said Eto'o was "the only one to explain this'' but hinted that the striker had indicated he was giving up international football.

"Samuel Eto'o is a great player and it is better that he should be the one to explain things,'' Finke said. "He is the only one who can explain why he took the decision. Of course, he has given a lot to football in general and for Cameroonian football in particular. I cannot say more than this because he is the only one to explain this.''

The German coach then declined to answer further questions on Cameroon's captain apparently quitting a month before Africa's final World Cup playoffs, which the West African country qualified for with the home win over Libya.

Eto'o was substituted in the second half of the game and limped off with what appeared to be a leg injury, but still waved to fans. The 32-year-old Eto'o reportedly then told players at the team hotel after the game that he was quitting internationals, but he hasn't made any public comments on retiring.

Eto'o is one of Africa's most successful footballers and won two African Cups and an Olympic gold medal with Cameroon and was voted Africa's player of the year four times. He made his debut for his country as a 15-year-old in 1997 and is Cameroon's all-time leading goalscorer.

He also has been connected with discontent within the Cameroon camp, however, and there was speculation that part of his reason for retiring from internationals was disagreements with Finke over the makeup of the team.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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