Cameroon: Onana’s AFCON delay confirmed

Manchester United's André Onana is prepared to join Cameroon in Ivory Coast at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, with an agreement reached between his club and country for an extended stay in England till January 14, according to the English press.

This allows the goalkeeper a chance to feature against Tottenham Hotspurs before reporting for national duty a day before their first match (v. Guinea) at the AFCON.

According to reports, an agreement has been reached between the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) and the English outfit which could see the former Inter Milan shot-stopper feature in two competitive games within 24 hours.

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Cameroon players enter stadium, Andre Onana, goalkeeper of Cameroon during the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers between Cameroon and Mauritius at Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon on 17 November 2023 – Photo by Icon sport

Ten Hag: “We are in discussion”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag when asked about the situation of Onana, explained that the club and the FA had been in discussion since last summer.

“We have been in constant discussions with the Cameroonian Football Federation regarding André Onana. I cannot confirm his availability for the Spurs game yet on January 14 but he will be in goal during the match against Wigan Athletic on Monday, January 8,” he said at a press conference two days ago.

Arriving from Inter Milan last summer, Onana had initially announced his international retirement in December 2022 during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar following an altercation with his coach. Things however changed when he was recalled back to the team in September following a resolution but the current situation with his delayed arrival to be a part of the team at the AFCON is sparking some reactions.

Andre Onana might miss up to six games for Manchester United while playing for Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations. It initially appeared Onana's last game for United before AFCON would be on December 30 but with the latest update, he is set to depart after United face Tottenham on January 14. A day before Cameroon's first game of the tournament.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag and Andre Onana after the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday November 11, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

Games Onana would likely miss?

While the agreement was confirmed by the English press, Afrik-foot reached out to its sources at Fecafoot but has yet to get a confirmation of the recent agreement.

However, from all indications, Onana will be available to play in the FA Cup third-round clash against Wigan on January 8 but would likely miss the replay if the game ends in a draw. If United advances to the fourth round, Onana would likely miss out because the matches are billed for the weekend of January 27-28, when the round of 16 commences.

As it stands, It means he will potentially miss three FA Cup games plus the Premier League clashes against Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Ham United and Aston Villa.

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Rotimi Akindele

Rotimi Akindele is a Sports Journalist with almost two decades' experience. He is a TV and radio host, commentator and writer who has covered major sporting events across the globe. Akindele's sports content has been listened to and read by a global audience. He is a well-known figure within Nigeria and the African football scene.