Cameroon goalkeeper Onana leaves World Cup after dispute
AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has apparently left the World Cup and is going home after being dropped from the country’s squad for disciplinary reasons.
A photo posted by a Cameroonian journalist on social media shows the Inter Milan goalkeeper at the airport on Tuesday. The Cameroon team spokesman did not immediately answer calls seeking confirmation that Onana had left the squad.
Onana’s exit follows a dispute with Cameroon coach Rigobert Song over team tactics. Onana was dropped for Monday’s 3-3 draw with Serbia after having played in Cameroon’s opening game at the World Cup, a 1-0 loss to Switzerland.
“If you can’t fit in with what’s required to be part of a squad then I do think that you need to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for that because the team, the squad, is more important than the interests of any individual,” Song said Monday after the Serbia game.
Onana released a statement on Tuesday saying he was “not allowed” to be with the team at the Serbia game. In the statement, Onana also said he had tried to solve the issues with Song “but there has been no will on the other side.” He also seemed to dispute Song’s account that he had broken squad disciplinary rules.
“I always behaved in a way to lead the team to success in a good manner,” Onana said in the statement.
He added: “I extend all my strength to my teammates because we demonstrated that we are capable of going very far in this competition.”
Song had left open the possibility of Onana returning to the team but said for that to happen “he’s going to have to agree to respect the rules to perhaps come into the squad.”
Cameroon still has a chance of qualifying for the last 16 at the World Cup but needs to beat top-ranked Brazil in its final Group G game and hope that the result of the Switzerland-Serbia match goes in its favour.