Andre Onana has addressed the criticism he faced following Cameroon’s 1-1 draw against Guinea in the opening game of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations.
Despite traveling over 5,000 miles to join the squad after featuring in Manchester United’s match against Tottenham Hotspur, Onana was excluded from the matchday squad.
In response to the backlash, the 27-year-old goalkeeper defended his decision to delay his departure, emphasizing the challenging choice between club and country as akin to “choosing between my father and mother.”
Onana expressed his commitment to representing his country, prioritizing national duty over personal considerations.
Addressing the situation, Onana told Canal Plus, “I have a lot to say but I will not say it here because we are in competition.
Let me continue to be criticized; I am used to it. I do what is good for my country. It’s like choosing between my father and my mother, but my country comes first; that’s why I’m here. We are together. We are here to win.”
Former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor was among those critical of Onana, stating that the goalkeeper did not show respect to Cameroon.
Adebayor, drawing from his playing experience, expressed concern about the potential impact on Onana’s reputation, emphasizing the importance of avoiding such situations and maintaining professionalism.
Onana has a history of strained relations with the Cameroon national team, having clashed with manager Rigobert Song and federation president Samuel Eto’o in the past.
His early departure from the 2022 World Cup due to a disagreement with Song and uncertainties about his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations have contributed to the ongoing scrutiny surrounding his commitment to the national squad.