Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o has pledged to continue playing for the west African nation despite its poor performance at the World Cup.
The 29-year-old striker scored twice in Cameroon's three group defeats in South Africa but early elimination was a massive disappointment for a player so prominent in promotional material for the first World Cup in Africa.
It also was a letdown from the country that put Africa on the football map with its stunning run to the quarterfinals in 1990, beating defending champion Argentina and Diego Maradona along the way.
Two decades later, it was the first team to leave the tournament and went out without a single point.
"There's no point blaming one person or another," Eto'o said after Cameroon's 2-1 loss to the Netherlands on Thursday. "We have to focus on the future, and we don't have much time to build it."
The captain was one of the few who acquitted himself well in South Africa. He gave Cameroon the lead against Denmark before the team succumbed to a 2-1 defeat, and equalized the match against the Netherlands from the penalty spot.
Still, there were missed opportunities.
Eto'o's touch betrayed him on a couple of occasions against the Dutch when more might have been expected of the Inter Milan striker. Picked out by a lofted ball into the box in the second half, Eto'o chested down too forcefully and lost it to the goalkeeper in what was potentially a game-changing moment.
He hung his head after a couple of similar moments when he was just a step short of catching up to the ball.
Eto'o praised the efforts of coach Paul Le Guen, who is now expected to step down.
"He did good things," Eto'o said. "Without him, we might not have even made the World Cup. You have to remember that."
Other players were not so kind.
"I am furious with the coach," striker Mohamadou Idrissou said. "I'm from Cameroon, there are people who are here for us, but who are lying to us. They are not here for the country and that's why we have to go home."
Midfielder Stephane M'Bia blamed Cameroon's failure on disharmony in the dressing room.
"People are talking about the France team but it's even worse with us," he told RTL radio. "We have to do something because things are not good in the squad."
Le Guen, a former France international, managed Lyon, Rangers and Paris Saint-Germain before being hired by Cameroon last year to revive the team's fortunes. He handed Eto'o the captaincy, and guided the team to World Cup qualification, but is now being widely tipped to take over as Australia's coach.
"My contract with Cameroon is coming up," Le Guen said. "It was planned all along that it was going to stop, and I will stop."
Le Guen accepted responsibility for the team's failure to advance to the second round, saying his mixed squad of experienced and youthful players failed to gel.
"Maybe we lacked unity and I didn't have success unifying and bringing the team together. We can't speak about success, that's for sure," Le Guen said. "I tried what I thought would a good list of 23 players, mixing experience and youth.
"I thought we would have got better results with this group."
Cameroon also lost its opening match to Japan 1-0.
Eto'o urged Cameroon's federation to focus immediately on the future.
"Everyone has to join together on this project, and we shouldn't have to do everything last minute," Eto'o said. "It's not good for our people, for our team or for our football."
Eto'o said he would remain a part of the team, regardless of personnel decisions.
"I'm ready to continue with whatever coach we get," he said.