Sat, 04 Feb 2023

Cameroon's Gael Ondoua drew attention for his gesture in Qatar

Cameroon international footballer Gael Ondoua, who made headlines after playing in the ongoing FIFA World Cup in boots which featured a Russian flag, says he plans to auction his footwear once his duties are completed in Qatar. 

Ondoua, 27, was born in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde but moved to Russia at a young age and spent many of his formative years rising through the ranks of underage Russian football.

He emerged from the Lokomotiv Moscow academy in 2014 before briefly moving to their city rivals CSKA Moscow, as well as taking in a short stint at Anzhi Makhachkala in 2018.

He has recently settled in Germany with Hannover 96, but the proud Ondoua paid homage to his upbringing at the World Cup by featuring the flags of both Cameroon and Russia on his boots - something which later drew flak from figures in the Norwegian media

But speaking on the controversy, Ondoua refused to distance himself from his upbringing and said that his time in Russia was crucial to his development as both a person and a footballer.

"Everyone knows that I've been playing like this for ten years - with two flags on my boots," Ondoua said at the tounrament, via TASS.

"Why didn't they notice before and started making noise now? After the first game, seeing my boots, there were so many nasty things written to me from all over the world, but I won't change anything in my life. Thanks to Russia, I'm here."

Ondoua has now pledged to make the most of the situation by announcing his intention to sell his boots online in a bid to raise money for worthwhile causes.

"I'm putting up for a charity auction my boots, which I played at the 2022 World Cup,he announced on his Telegram channel.

"All proceeds from the auction will go to the Change One Life charity foundation, which helps children from orphanages across Russia find their parents."

It remains to be seen exactly what price Ondoua may get when his football boots hit the market - but one suspects that they might be worth a pretty penny if he uses them to good effect in Friday's crucial Group G clash against Brazil, which Cameroon must win if they are to have any chance of progressing to the knockout stages. 

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