cameroon
Indomitable Lions of Cameroon/Photo: Fecafoot

By Andah John with agency report

Liverpool defender Joel Matip is one of seven players of Cameroon that has turned down invitation to play at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

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Their decision has set them on a collision course with the country’s football federation.

And a possible ban from playing for their clubs during the tournament awaits them.

Matip was reported to have told coach Hugo Broos he does not want to be selected for the tournament in Gabon, which starts on 14 January.

Fecafoot plans action

“These players have put personal interest above those of the national team and the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with Fifa regulations,” said Broos in a statement on Tuesday.

The other six are Andre Onana (Ajax Amsterdam), Guy Roland Ndy Assembe (Nancy), and Allan Nyom (West-Bromwich-Albion).

Others are Maxime Poundje (Girondins-Bordeaux), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Olympique-Marseille) and Ibrahim Amadou (Lille).

All seven had earlier this month been named in a preliminary list of 35 for the tournament.

Cameroon’s football federation (Fecafoot) can ask Fifa to suspend the players at club level. And this could also run in the duration of the tournament, which ends on 6 February, if they so desire.

Why the turn-down?

Matip did not want to play for Cameroon for the moment because of a “bad experience” with the previous coaching staff, the statement said.

The German-born defender has not featured for Cameroon since the World Cup in Brazil. But Broos, who took over in February, has twice tried to persuade him to return to the side.

Nyom told Broos he wanted to stay at West Bromwich Albion to keep his place in the team. That’s a sentiment also shared by Amadou, Ndy Assembe, Onana and Zambo Anguissa.

Poundje, uncapped by Cameroon, said he preferred to concentrate on setting his sights on playing for France.

The Indomitable Lions were drawn in Group A with the hosts,Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau.

Cameroon are to name the final 23-man squad for the tournament next week.