Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana appeared to leave the World Cup on Tuesday and return home after being left out of his country’s squad for disciplinary reasons.
A picture published by a Cameroonian journalist on social media showed the Inter Milan goalkeeper at Doha airport as he was about to leave Qatar. A spokesperson for the Cameroon team did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Onana also issued a statement on Tuesday citing his disagreement with Cameroon coach Rigobert Song over team tactics that led to his exclusion from Monday’s 3-3 draw with Serbia and his suspension from the squad.
Onana said he tried to solve the problems.
“I put all my efforts and energies into finding solutions to the situation that footballers often go through, but there was no will from the other side,” Onana said. “Some moments are hard to comprehend.”
Onana said he respects the decisions of “officials”.
Onana played in Cameroon’s opening match Globalism Cup, losing 1–0 to Switzerland, but was dropped for the Serbia match and he did not travel with the rest of the squad to the South Stadium. Cameroon fought back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 without their first choice goalkeeper.
Song said playing backup goalkeeper Davis Ibasi was a risk but insisted he had to take “strong measures” against the 26-year-old Onana.
“If you can’t fit in with what is required to be part of a team, then I think you need to live up to it and accept responsibility for that because the team, the team, is more important than anyone else’s interests,” Song said on Monday after the Serbia match, without elaborating. In the details of his dispute with Onana.
Song said he needed all of his players to “show discipline and respect”.
In his statement, Onana said he was disappointed that he was “not allowed” to be with the squad for the Serbia match and denied that he had broken any team disciplinary rules.
“I have always acted in such a way as to lead the team to success in a good way,” Onana said.
Cameroon still has a chance of qualifying for the World Cup round of 16, but they need to beat top seed Brazil in their final Group G match, and hope the result of the Switzerland-Serbia match will be in their favour.
Former Cameroon captain Song Ho was named coach in February in a surprise to some after Tony Conceicao led the team to third place in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations and only missed out on reaching the final by losing on penalties to Egypt.
The president of the Cameroonian Football Federation is Samuel Eto’o, a former teammate of Song’s in the national team.
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