Why Andre Onana’s Cameroon return is bad news for Manchester United

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FOOTBALL Why Andre Onana’s Cameroon return is bad news for Manchester United

Joel Omotto 18:00 - 30.08.2023

Erik ten Hag will be a worried man after his first-choice goalkeeper was recalled to the national team following his self-imposed exile

Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana is set to end his self-imposed international exile after he was named in Cameroon’s squad for their upcoming 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Burundi.

Onana quit Cameroon after being kicked out of their 2022 World Cup camp, having fallen out with head coach Rigobert Song who claimed the player did not follow his tactics, sentiments the goalkeeper refuted.

However, all seems forgotten now after Song named Onana in his 24-man squad for the crunch match against Burundi on September 12, a match the Indomitable Lions need to avoid defeat, to seal their ticket to the delayed Africa Cup of Nations in the Ivory Coast next year.

It will not be good news for United if Cameroon seal their place as it means their first-choice goalkeeper will be away for up to one month if Song’s men reach the latter stages of the continental competition.

The AFCON will take place from January 13-February 11 and United will be required to release Onana days earlier.

Erik ten Hag’s men have Premier League matches against Tottenham (January 13), Wolves (January 30), West Ham (February 2) and Aston Villa (February 10) and might have to make do without Onana in goal.

Unlike their rivals such as Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal, who have had to do without their key players due to the AFCON down the years, United have rarely missed key members of their squad due to the continental competition when held between January and February.

Perhaps in preparation for the absence of Onana, United this week completed the signing of Turkish Fenerbahce goalkeeper Altay Bayindir for £4.25 million while allowing academy graduate Dean Henderson to move to Premier League rivals Crystal Palace for £20 million.

Onana has 34 caps for Cameroon and last featured for the Indomitable Lions in their 1-0 World Cup loss to Switzerland before the fall out ahead of their 3-3 draw with Serbia when second-choice goalkeeper Devis Epassy stepped in and impressed before a man of the match display against Brazil, a match his side won 1-0.

Cameroon finished third at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which they hosted last year.