Moscow, July 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Anzhi Makhachkala striker Samuel Eto’o has urged UEFA to reconsider the ban it placed on the club to hold Europa League matches in Dagestan.
Eto’o argued that great things await the rich Russian Premier League side, and European football’s governing body needs to approve the Makhachkala stadium to allow the club’s true fans to attend top-level games.
The ban was imposed due to the security situation in the province, where there is frequent bloodshed linked to an entrenched Islamist insurgency.
“I hope that football authorities will hear a few of my thoughts,” Eto’o said in comments on the club’s website.
“Happiness is everywhere, including in Dagestan. I came to the team with the hope of bringing joy to the hearts of Anzhi supporters along with my teammates,” he added.
“For us and for me personally it is very regrettable that that we are forced to hold our home game in the Europa League at a different stadium. As before, I hope that the big football authorities will reconsider their decision and let the people of Dagestan deservedly enjoy Anzhi play at their arena.”
The European campaign for Guus Hiddink’s side begins Thursday, with the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round match against Hungarian side FC Honved. The match will be held at an arena near Anzhi’s training ground outside Moscow.
Eto’o, meanwhile, looked to the future.
“We entertain the hope that our next European season will begin not in the Europa League but perhaps in the Champions League. Then this question will arise again. But we have to talk about this issue today, because Anzhi, god-willing, will be regular participants in these tournaments. And we need to solve this problem, because our fans also have the right to their happiness.”
Eto’o was the club’s second marquee signing, joining from Inter Milan last August to team up with former Brazil star Roberto Carlos.
Dagestan, one of Russia’s poorest regions, is seen as a hotbed of terrorist activity and the origin of several deadly attacks over the last few years.
The Daily News Post India (tdnpost)