André Onana makes AFCON U-turn as he decides to stay with Manchester United for crucial game
The tournament is set to start this weekend but Onana will still be here in Manchester.
Manchester United goalkeeper André Onana has reportedly decided he is not going to AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) when he originally planned to as the Cameroonian shot-stopper is now set to miss his country’s opener this weekend.
Onana was due to fly to the Ivory Coast in time for the tournament’s start and Cameroon’s first match against Guinea on Saturday, 13 January but, according to iSport, he has now decided to remain with Man United for a key Premier League meeting with Spurs on Sunday.
The outlet claims that the 27-year-old is wary of losing his place to backup keeper, Altay Bayindir, and is instead focusing on shoring up his position after a somewhat shaky start to life at Old Trafford.
Bayindir is still yet to make a single appearance for United since joining in September 2023, with Onana also remaining in goal for the FA Cup win over Wigan but was expected to get his first run out in the no.24’s absence. However, it is now looking like he could potentially be waiting even longer.
Sources close to Onana have assured he has been given the green light by Cameroon’s FA — headed up by footballing legend Samuel Eto’o — to miss the opening game, but there is apparently a possibility that he might not feature in it whatsoever.
Not only is pretty rare for a nation to change the player between the posts in the middle of a major international tournament but given the number one’s tumultuous past with his team’s head coach, Rigobert Song, skipping even one game could prove problematic.
Onana technically retired from international football in December 2022 after continuously clashing with Song over the team’s tactics and playing style, being sent home from the Qatar World Cup and then retiring at the age of just 26.
He issued an emotional statement following what he stated was an enforced exclusion.
- Why Manchester City are being sued by Superdry over their training kit
- Sky commission new three-part ‘Darts’ documentary following record-breaking viewing figures
- The stylish Manchester gym where you can train however you want this year
Onana ultimately came out of retirement late last year due to the “expectation and support of Cameroonians”, but those in and around the national team set-up insist that just because he has returned to the fold doesn’t mean that he and the manager have patched things up.
Nevertheless, were the five-time AFCON winners (the second-most successful nation of all time) to go out in the group stages, it would mean the former Ajax and Inter Milan keeper wouldn’t have to miss a single minute for United as their next game after Spurs isn’t until 27 January.
Given he has remained a bit of an unknown quantity, many fans would have also been keen to see how his Turkish stand-in performed when given a few games, but plenty will argue that the last thing Onana needs is dropping out of the team and having to regain his form at club level.
What about you, Reds — would you like the opportunity to see what Bayindir is made of or are you hoping Onana stays home?
For all the latest news, events and goings on in Greater Manchester, subscribe to The Manc newsletter HERE.
Featured Images — Wikimedia Commons