Roger Milla: UEFA doesn’t respect African players

The Cameroon football legend slams Caf for not inviting retired footballers to its competitions and says the Uefa keeps ignoring the continent

Former Cameroon international Roger Milla on Thursday refused to comment on Issa Hayatou’s re-election to the presidency of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), but blamed the body for the lack of status for retired African footballers.

The 60-year-old former striker said Caf had ignored the labour of all the great players the continent has produced and instead gave priority to Uefa players and officials, who are regularly invited to top competitions like the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), according to him.

“My last Afcon was in 1988. Caf has never invited me to any of the editions as a guest since then,” Milla said in Yaounde.

“Rather, they (Caf) invite players and officials from Uefa and give them special treatment while ignoring retired African footballers, who had laboured to bring the continent’s football to this level.

“They say those players from Europe are great players and would help to promote African competitions, but that is shameful. We are the great players in Africa and we should be the ones to inspire the younger generation,” he said.

The 1990 World Cup sensation also condemned Uefa for showing little regard for African footballers during the body’s different competitions.

“Uefa never invites an African player to their competitions. They don’t consider us. They do their own thing among themselves. But we always rush to invite them to Africa during our competitions. Uefa forgets that African players have greatly contributed to the growth of European football.”

Since his retirement from football in 1999, the former Saint Etienne and Bastia top scorer has been very vocal in his criticisms of the policies of Caf and the Cameroon football federation.