Not even one of the faces of African soccer is immune to punishment of the harshest kind.
The Cameroonian Football Federation banned captain and star forward Samuel Eto'o 15 matches for his role in a players' strike last month. Eto'o can appeal the punishment over the course of the next two weeks, but if it is upheld, the ban could signal the end of the 30-year-old Eto'o's international career, considering the length of the ban and the bad blood between player and federation.
Should he have to sit out for 15 matches, Eto'o would be forced to miss a good portion of the qualifying campaigns for the 2013 African Cup of Nations and the 2014 World Cup.
The reason for the ban stems from Eto'o reportedly encouraging his teammates to refuse to make the trip to Algeria for November's friendly. He did so out of protest to the federation for not paying players for their appearance at a tournament in Morocco. The Algeria friendly was ultimately cancelled as a result.
Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:
EVERTON LOCKS UP BARKLEY
While Everton tended to its immediate need in the attack by signing Landon Donovan to a short-term loan, the club managed to lock up one of its top attacking pieces for the foreseeable future.
Everton agreed to terms on a deal with 18-year-old English midfielder Ross Barkley, who has no shortage of suitors among major Premier League clubs.
Barkley, an England Under-21 international, signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Toffees that extends his stay with the club until 2016.
PEARCE: NO DOUBLING UP ON EURO, OLYMPICS
Young English players hoping to play for Fabio Capello in summer's Euro 2012 tournament have a decision to make.
Team Great Britain Olympic coach Stuart Pearce issued an ultimatum, saying that any players who make the trip to Euro 2012 will be prohibited from competing for the Olympic side.
"It's a sensible football decision when you consider the demands on players, and it now leaves no room for doubt for players and their clubs about next summer and the two major tournaments," Pearce told the BBC.
England is the only country affected by Pearce's ruling, because Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland did not qualify for Euro; however, Olympic-eligible English players like Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Kyle Walker, Danny Welbeck and Jordan Henderson are certainly impacted by the limitations.
WHITECAPS ADD FORMER NASL MIDFIELDER
The Vancouver Whitecaps continued their busy offseason by adding midfielder Matt Watson, formerly of the Carolina Railhawks.
Watson is no stranger to new Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie, who coached the player in Carolina for the last three seasons. A former standout at UMBC, Watson joins Young-Pyo Lee and Lee Nguyen as recent acquisitions for the Whitecaps, who also own the second overall selection in the upcoming SuperDraft.
Do you think Eto'o deserved that kind of a punishment? Surprised that Barkley didn't end up opting to go to the likes of Chelsea or Manchester United? Do you agree with Pearce's ultimatum? How would you rate the Whitecaps' offseason so far?
Share your thoughts below.