Andre Onana WILL leave Man United behind to play for Cameroon at AFCON after months of wrangling over a decision amid fears he will lose his place… but row with Samuel Eto’o still hangs over him

[ad_1]

It has been a year since Andre Onana quit international football after he was kicked out of Cameroon’s World Cup camp in Qatar.

When Onana is named in Rigobert Song’s squad on Thursday for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, it might give the impression that the Manchester United goalkeeper has healed the rift with his manager and, more significantly, Cameroon’s football federation chief Samuel Eto’o. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is a story of personalities and politics, bitterness and recrimination. Of allegations of corruption and intimidation. One that explains why Onana’s participation in the AFCON has been shrouded in so much secrecy and uncertainty since he joined United from Inter Milan for £47.2million in the summer.

Even last Friday, when Erik ten Hag was asked repeatedly about losing Onana for up to six games at the tournament, which kicks off on January 13, the United manager was reluctant to confirm whether his first-choice keeper will report for international duty. The feeling is that he will, but somewhat reluctantly.

Man United goalkeeper Andre Onana is expected to be named in Cameroon’s AFCON squad

Onana was kicked out of the squad last year after a dispute with coach Rigobert Song (left)

Onana was kicked out of the squad last year after a dispute with coach Rigobert Song (left)

Man United boss Erik ten Hag has been reluctant to discuss Onana's involvement at AFCON

Man United boss Erik ten Hag has been reluctant to discuss Onana’s involvement at AFCON

Onana fears losing his place to United’s No 2 Altay Bayindir after a rocky start to his career in English football.

Ten Hag has stayed loyal to his former Ajax keeper, not even playing Bayindir for a single minute this season, but Onana knows the world of football can turn very quickly.

This is only half the story, however. The rest centres around the 27-year-old’s acrimonious exit from the World Cup in November last year following his falling out with Song and Eto’o.

It kicked off after Cameroon lost their group opener to Switzerland and Song asked the keeper not to take so many risks when playing out from the back.

Onana, renowned for his ability with the ball at his feet, had made World Cup history by having more touches outside his box than any goalkeeper since records began in 1966. He disagreed with Song and a heated row ended with him being dropped for the second game against Serbia.

Eto’o ordered that Onana shouldn’t even travel with the squad and remain at Cameroon’s hotel in Doha. Song, his former international team-mate and captain, agreed.

Onana remains in dispute with legendary forward and federation president Samuel Eto'o

Onana remains in dispute with legendary forward and federation president Samuel Eto’o

It is understood that both Onana and Song felt there was still a way back before Cameroon’s third game against Brazil, until Eto’o intervened again. The federation issued a statement saying he had been suspended for disciplinary reasons, and booked him a plane ticket to Paris.

Despite last-minute attempts by members of the Cameroon government to broker a peace deal, Onana flew home and quit international football a month later on December 23.

In July, as his move from Inter to United was going through, former Cameroon football federation executive Henri Njalla Quan accused Eto’o of setting out to destroy Onana’s career. ‘Eto’o wanted to get rid of Onana at all costs,’ said Njalla.

Njalla separately claimed that Eto’o paid a football official £1,300 to follow him and that the man then threatened his family and warned that he ‘would walk around naked’ before he died.

It was also alleged that leaked voice messages showed former Barcelona and Chelsea striker Eto’o offering to fix matches so that his friend’s club could win promotion to Cameroon’s top flight. Eto’o denies the allegations made against him.

In spite of it all, Onana reversed his decision in September and came out of retirement.

He made his comeback in the win over Burundi that secured Cameroon’s qualification for AFCON, then played in games against Senegal and Mauritius, and sat on the bench in Russia.

Onana reversed his decision to retire from international football back in September

Onana reversed his decision to retire from international football back in September

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, with a show every Monday and Thursday this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

However, it is said that he and Eto’o haven’t exchanged a word in more than a year, ignoring each other whenever they meet. The fear now is that a row that has simmered for more than a year could reignite at any moment.

Eto’o is said to resent the fact that Onana has challenged his authority. Song is caught in the middle of their feud, but more likely to side with his old friend and federation president.

Against this backdrop, Onana will be included in Cameroon’s squad. If he wanted to refuse – or even retire from international football again – strict FIFA rules mean he could be banned from playing for United for the duration of the tournament.

Talks are ongoing over how long he will be allowed to stay in England before Cameroon kick off their Group C campaign against Guinea on January 15. 

What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top