Cameroon’s star goalkeeper, Andre Onana, has spoken out after being excluded from the matchday squad in Cameroon’s opening Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 fixture against Guinea.

The Indomitable Lions were held to a 1-1 draw, and Manchester United’s Onana, who recently joined the national team, expressed his feelings about the situation.

Onana missed the match against Guinea as he arrived late to join the national team, having featured for Manchester United in a Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur just a day before. The absence of the shot-stopper raised eyebrows, especially considering Cameroon dropped points in their opening game.

During a pre-match interaction, footage captured Onana engaged in a discussion with Diouf, sparking reports that the former striker had to intervene to calm the disgruntled goalkeeper after his exclusion from the squad.

The 27-year-old, a former Ajax Amsterdam star, is believed to have been given permission to join the national team late, leading to speculation about his commitment to representing his country. Addressing the media on Monday, Onana hinted at having concerns and emotions to share but refrained from elaborating further, citing the ongoing competition.

Speaking to Canal Plus, Onana stated, “I have a lot to say, but I won’t say it here because we are in competition. The most important thing is sacred union. We are here to win the AFCON. I ask the supporters to support us in good times and bad. I am one of the leaders, so I take my responsibilities, and that is why I am here.”

Responding to questions about his dual commitments to club and country, Onana emphasized the priority of his national team, saying, “It’s like choosing between my father and my mother, but my country comes first, that’s why I’m here… We’re together.”

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song provided justification for the omission of Onana from the squad in the 1-1 draw against Guinea on Monday, despite the player’s swift journey from England to the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro.

“It’s logical. He arrived at 4 o’clock in the morning. How do you want him to play?” Song remarked after the game. The coach further emphasized, “He’s part of the group.”

Onana featured for United in a 2-2 draw against Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday before making the journey to Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Subsequently, the player faced difficulties securing another flight to Yamoussoukro, compelling him to undertake the journey by road.

Source: Kweku Zurek


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here