On Wednesday, André Onana rejoined the Cameroon team for training and is expected to be selected for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations match against Senegal on Friday.
The goalie was absent from Cameroon’s first game of the tournament in Ivory Coast on Monday as he was given permission to remain at Manchester United and participate in their 2-2 tie against Tottenham on Sunday. He then traveled overnight to West Africa, arriving just hours before the start of the Group C match against Guinea. Despite falling behind, Cameroon was able to equalize and secure a 1-1 draw.
The choice to let the 27-year-old skip their first game of the competition sparked debate among fans of Cameroon. During an interview in Ivory Coast, Onana shared with journalists the struggle of balancing loyalty to his club and country, which is a common issue for African players who have to leave their European teams during the season to participate in the Cup of Nations.
He expressed that it’s similar to picking between his parents, but his loyalty lies with his country, which is why he’s here. He’s willing to face criticism and stand by his decision to do what’s best for his nation.
Onana’s relationship with Cameroon has been tumultuous since he made his debut for the national team as a teenager while playing for Ajax. He declined an invitation to join the team for the 2017 Cup of Nations, which they ended up winning. During the last World Cup in Qatar, he was sent home after one game due to a disagreement with coach Rigobert Song. However, the issue has since been resolved.