Home » Andre Onana set to miss first Afcon game

Andre Onana set to miss first Afcon game

by Darragh Fox
Andre Onana

Andre Onana is set to miss Cameroon’s opening match of the African Cup of Nations in order to “maximise playing time” for Manchester United.

Pete Hall (iPaperSport) reveals the goalkeeper has “changed his mind” over the proposed plan to play against Tottenham Hotspur for United, before then flying overnight to the Ivory Coast for Cameroon’s first game against Guinea.

Onana was reported to have believed the ambitious plan to be “possible” despite the draining logistics; and while the goalkeeper still plans to travel to the tournament just after the Spurs game, Hall contends he no longer wishes to start in the opener.


Onana was believed to be concerned he may “lose his place” as United’s first-choice goalkeeper to Altay Bayindir – signed from Fernerbace in the summer – while away at the tournament.

Sources close to the goalkeeper indicate, “United is the priority for him.”

This led Onana to agree a protracted meet-up with his international team after a round of discussions between the Cameroonian Football Federation (FECAFOOT) and United. Cameroon have been conducting their pre-tournament preparation in Saudi Arabia, ahead of the opening game on January 15th.

FECAFOOT were thought to be mindful of the goalkeeper’s commitment to his club as Onana had assured United he would not be attending Afcon during negotiations over his move from Inter Milan in the summer.

Furthermore, Hall reveals the only reason why Onana even agreed to be selected for Afcon in the first place was to due “pressure from the Cameroonian President.”

The 27-year-old is the country’s “biggest sporting star” and there was concerted pressure from the President and Cameroonian FA for Onana to play in the crucial qualifying match against Burundi in September. The Indomitable Lions won the match 3-0.

The same source who revealed Onana’s commitment to United, also indicated that the goalkeeper may choose to not play in the tournament at all, should Cameroon lose to Guinea in the opening game.

“For the second match against Senegal they will be favourites, if Cameroon were to lose the first match to Guinea, should he really have to play versus Senegal if they are just going to lose anyway?” the source asked.

If Cameroon were to be eliminated in the group stages, and Onana immediately returned to Old Trafford, the goalkeeper would end up not missing a single game for his club. Bayindir will no doubt be joining every Cameroonian in praying for a win over Senegal on January 19th.

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