Andre Onana set for talks over playing for Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations if they qualify next week… with the £47m keeper potentially set to miss SEVEN Man United games
Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana will hold talks over representing Cameroon at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations if his international return goes well this week.
That could spell bad news for United manager Erik ten Hag because Onana may miss up to seven games if Cameroon perform well in the tournament.
The 27-year-old has committed to just one Cameroon fixture for the moment – Tuesday’s crucial AFCON qualifier against Burundi – after coming out of international retirement.
However, should Cameroon seal their place at the tournament – to be staged in the Ivory Coast between January 13 and February 11 next year – further talks about Onana’s international future will follow.
This edition of the AFCON was pushed back from the summer of 2023 due to concerns over the rainy season in the Ivory Coast.
Man United goalkeeper Andre Onana has returned to international football with Cameroon
Onana has come out of international retirement for Cameroon’s AFCON qualifier with Burundi
It could cause a headache for United manager Ten Hag if Onana goes to the tournament
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Onana quit the national team after he was sent home from the World Cup in Qatar last December following a fall-out with coach Rigobert Song.
But he confirmed his return to the international fold with a social media message on Monday.
Cameroon will book their AFCON spot if they avoid defeat against Burundi in their final match of qualifying. They are currently level on four points with their opponents and a win would see them move above Namibia to top Group C.
If they qualify and reach the knockout rounds, Onana will miss a number of United fixtures in January and February.
United have four Premier League matches against Tottenham, Wolves, West Ham and Aston Villa during the tournament.
Onana could also miss the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals and the FA Cup fourth round if United make it that far.
The first Champions League last-16 ties are scheduled for the week after the AFCON final, which could mean a tight turnaround travelling back to England if Cameroon get there.
Onana went home from the World Cup in Qatar and retired from international football after a fall-out with coach Rigobert Song – but they have now buried the hatchet
Onana has made an instant impact at Old Trafford after signing from Inter Milan for £47.2m
United signed Onana for £47.2million from Inter Milan this summer but have also bought Altay Bayindir from Fenerbahce as a back-up goalkeeper.
Man United games Onana could miss
The tournament runs from January 13 until February 11. Premier League unless stated
W/C January 8 Possible Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg
January 13 Tottenham (H)
W/C January 22 Possible Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg
January 27/28 Possible FA Cup fourth round
January 30 Wolves (A)
February 3 West Ham (H)
February 10 Aston Villa (A)
Ten Hag will also have Tom Heaton available when he recovers from injury.
Writing on social media, Onana said: ‘In the world of football, as in life, decisive moments arise that require crucial choices to be made.
‘In recent months, I have been confronted with trials marked by injustice and manipulation. Yet my unshakeable love and attachment to my homeland, Cameroon, remain intact.
‘My desire to represent my country has never wavered since my youth, and this aspiration remains an inseparable part of my identity. Nothing and no one can shake this conviction.
‘I answer my nation’s call with unshakeable certainty, aware that my return is not only to honour my dream, but also to respond to the expectations and support of Cameroonians, who deserve a national team determined to shine.
‘In the face of manipulation, lies and abuse of power, I choose to remain true to my ideals, proudly representing a country that deserves our sincere commitment. Now is the time to unite, to work in harmony for our common good: Cameroon.
‘I would like to salute the government, which is working hard to build a better Cameroon for all. My thoughts are with the people of Cameroon, to whom I offer my infinite thanks for their support, and whom I look forward to seeing again.
‘Time, the infallible judge of all things, will eventually enlighten us and reveal the rightness of our actions. My commitment to Cameroon remains unwavering, and I am determined to play my part in seeing it prosper.’
United return to action at home to Brighton on September 16.
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