Goalkeeper Andre Onana is poised to feature in Cameroon’s lineup for Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) group game against defending champions Senegal after rejoining the team in training on Wednesday.
Onana missed Cameroon’s opening match of the tournament in Cote d’Ivoire on Monday as he was allowed to stay at Manchester United and participate in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
He then flew by charter plane overnight to Cote d’Ivoire after the clash at Old Trafford but arrived only hours before the kick-off of the Group C clash against Guinea, where Cameroon secured a 1-1 draw after coming from behind.
The decision to allow the 27-year-old to skip the opening match of the tournament stirred controversy among Cameroon supporters.
In an interview upon his arrival in Cote d’Ivoire, Onana acknowledged the difficult decision between loyalty to club and country, especially for African internationals compelled to leave their European clubs mid-season to compete at the Cup of Nations.
“It’s like choosing between my father and my mother, but my country comes first; that’s why I’m here,” he said. Let people continue to criticise me. I’m used to it. I do what is good for my country.”
Onana has a complex history with the Cameroon national team, including turning down a call-up to the 2017 Cup of Nations finals and being sent home from the last World Cup in Qatar after one match due to a disagreement with coach Rigobert Song. Despite past issues, he competed in the last edition of the Cup of Nations two years ago after returning from a doping ban.