According to Catalan sports paper Sport, incorporated in La Masia are 15 players from Africa – all under the sponsorship of a football foundation set up by former Barcelona’s Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o – whose future stay with the Catalan’s club academy may be in jeopardy. That is because the partnership inked between the two parties is set to expire on 30 June 2010, and there is yet to be a confirmation of an extension or renewal of that agreement.
Of these students, the case of Gael Etock and Armand Ella can be a bit tricky, as according to all the reports submitted by the club’s technical staffs, both 16-year-olds are said to have great potentials, and the club is sure to want to hold on to them.
Gael Etock, a forward, is currently playing with Barca Juvenil A, a team filled with players three years older than him. He has attracted the attention of not only the Catalan club but is also being followed closely by other big European clubs for his impressive goal-scoring abilities, a feat he does in all levels of the Barcelona’s youth divisions that he has played in so far. This Cameroonian youth is so good that he is expected to debut with Barca Atletic next season.
Armand Ella meanwhile is reported as a strong left-winger with very quick pace. He is currently playing with the club’s Juvenil B side.
Commenced four years ago, the list of players brought in by Eto’o’s Foundation is impressive. One of them, Paul Tina Tina (16, Midfielder – Cadete A) had taken the decision to leave and moved to Inter Milan. But most have stayed, giving remarkable performances in all levels of Barcelona youth teams such as Jean Marie Dongou (15, Forward – Cadete A), Lionel Enguene (13, Midfielder – Infantil A), and Alexis Meva (12, Forward – Infantil B) who are already attracting a lot of attention from scouts from all over Europe.
The last ones to arrive are two 11 year-olds named Nelson Mandela and Camara, who came at a time when Samuel Eto’o was on his way out of the club this summer, a low point in the relationship between the two parties.
It is expected that any new deal or contract with the foundation or individual student is to be decided by the new board that will come in after the election.
Nevertheless, those students/players whose scholarships are still valid can still continue with the academy until they expire, while those that are nearing 18-years-old, and at the end of bond, can negotiate some sort of reserve player’s contract with the club individually.
It has to be noted that even if a new agreement is not reached, the students can still go for other scholarship deals with the club itself or other foundations but will have to negotiate them on as an individual basis.
The 15 students/players are:
Gael Etock 16, Forward – Juvenil A
Yannick Adamu 16, Goalkeeper – Juvenil B
Emmanuel Ateba 16, Midfielder – Juvenil B
Armand Ella 16, Forward – Juvenil B
Leonid Bakoyako ‘Bako’ 15, Defender – Cadete A
Olivier Moussima ‘Mou’ 15, Midfielder – Cadete A
Jean Dongou 15, Forward – Cadete A
Frank Bagnack 14, Goalkeeper – Cadete B
Joseph Ondoa Ebogo 14, Goalkeeper Cadete B
Wilfrid Kaptoum 13, Midfielder – Cadete B
Richard Ebwelle 14, Forward – Cadete B
Lionel Enguene 13, Midfielder – Infantil A
Alexis Meva 12, Forward – Infantil B
Nelson Mandela 11
Ed. For those interested in Eto’o's Foundation, and may want to help can do so @ http://www.fundacionsamueletoo.org/a_etoo-fcb.html