Wednesday, April 21, 2021

‘Mikel’s Chelsea experience mirrors African players’ dilemma in Europe’


tiamin rice

Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel

The Football Association of Cameroun has cried out that African players are victims of blackmails from European teams, which is why they are turning down the chance to represent their nation, reports

France-based Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa of Marseille, West Brom’s Allan Nyom, Liverpool’s Joel Matip, Andre Onana (Ajax Amsterdam), Maxime Poundje (Girondins Bordeaux), Ibrahim Amadou (Lille) and Guy N’dy Assembe have all turned down the opportunity to play for Hugo Broos at the January 2017 African Nations Cup.

Nyom, Anguissa, Onana, Amadou and Assembe told Broos that they preferred to stay with their clubs, while Poundje wants to play for France.

Fecafoot Head of Media, Simon Lyonga, lamented that, “This has been going on for long now. The coaches blackmail players who want to go for AFCON with threats of no first choice position.

“Even the Eto’os had this situation but they knew they could count on their talent. Our younger generation is limited and can easily fall for that.

“A young man like Zambo Anguissa should be happy to play for his country no matter the situation in camp. Do you think the situation was better when the Mbomas played? I do not think so.

“We are victims of blackmail and we throw that back to ourselves. We need to fight that. See what is happening to Mikel Obi. Today, he is the second choice because his coach told him not to go to the Rio Olympics but South American players can go for Copa America whenever.”

Broos is expected to name his final 23-man list next week as the Indomitable Lions look to win their first Afcon title since 2002.

But before then, the Cameroun federation wants to take Matip and the other absentees to FIFA, which could ban the players for three months.

The defender, who has been a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s side since joining this summer, had been included in a provisional 35-man squad, but declared his intention to pull out earlier this month.

In its statement, Fecafoot criticised the seven players for ‘putting their personal interest first to the detriment of the national team’.

Matip has not played for Cameroun since 2015, telling the new coach Hugo Broos this year that ‘nothing is organised properly’.

But Fecafoot had hoped that the new manager would be able to convince him to end his self-imposed exile and take part in the Cup of Nations in Gabon.

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